As the New Year arrives, I challenge you to think about the people you know who have made a contribution to a more sustainable future for the built environment.
I want you to nominate them for a Rising Star Award. It’s really easy and will only take you a few minutes. Here’s how to do it.
What is the Rising Star Award?
The Rising Star Award was established to commemorate Mel Starrs, an expert in building physics and green building rating systems, who died in 2012 aged just 38. At the time she was working for PRP Architects who teamed up with the UK Green Building Council to set up the award in her memory, to recognise people like Mel who in their own small way are making a difference in our industry to get us off our backsides questioning policy or making the built environment genuinely more sustainable.
Mel was just an ordinary person in many ways, who found what she cared about and did what she could about it. Key to this was her blog, Elemental, where she took apart new publications and regulations, mostly for her own benefit, but shared them with all of us so we could learn along with her. We want the award to help us find people like Mel, and shine a light on what they are doing – to say ‘thank you’.
Who can get a Rising Star Award?
Don’t think that you don’t know someone who qualifies to be nominated, you probably do.
I’ve been a judge on the Rising Star Awards since they were set up, and most of the people who are nominated I have never heard of, but they are all really interesting in their own ways. Here are a few examples.
- Someone who persuaded contractors to use FSC timber when they didn’t have to,
- A champion of Water Sensitive Urban Design;
- Someone who developed new graphical means to communicate ideas about sustainability to members of his team;
- People working on early Passivhaus retrofit projects, sharing their work;
- Several people working to improve interdisciplinary communication to encourage sustainability and avoid waste;
- People developing new designs for living which help improve sustainability;
- Someone who wrote a consumer bill of rights for users of heat networks,
- Someone working for a client to help drive more waste efficient outcomes from suppliers;
- People retrofitting their own homes and publishing the highs, and lows so we can all learn from it;
- People looking at new, more challenging building performance standards,
- People involved in the development of sustainable products,
- Someone working in education to inspire the sustainability champions of the future with tools to help make a difference in their work.
What are the Criteria?
The FAQ state the entrance criteria as follows:
Candidates for nomination should demonstrate that they:
- Use innovative techniques for sharing knowledge, communicating and promoting greener approaches,
- Engage colleagues and peers on sustainability issues to stimulate discussion and debate,
- Have played a key role in either changing their organisation’s working methods, challenging policy, promoting or improving sustainability performance,
- or a combination of all the above.
You can see a theme here – its about communication, and its about making things happen. So who do you know who does this?
What do I have to do to Nominate?
This is really simple, but you need to do it before 9th January when nominations close.
All you need to do is write up to 250 words about the person involved and give us their (and your) contact details. There is a form to complete on the UKGBC website here.
In your 250 words make sure you include:
- What the person has done/is doing and where
- Mention of how they communicate what they are doing
- Any achievements, be they recognised or not (unrecognised is even better!)
If you have links to further information to share, please include these. I naturally research every nominee online – I want to find out how they use the internet too, because this is something Mel was so enthusiastic about.
Have you got someone in mind? Don’t hesitate!
After reading this article, do you have someone in mind who you feel deserves a ‘thank you’ for what they are doing? Don’t worry about feeling that they won’t win, just being nominated will thank them too, and the shortlisted candidates who I have met often tell me they get a huge boost from being put forward.
Want to know more?
Don’t forget, nominations close on 9th January. Thanks.