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A The Year of 2008
What has this year meant to the New Mexico Building Industry and to CASA? It has been a year of changes, both for the commercial and residential sectors. A lot of these changes involved an intensification of what it means to consider the principles of saving energy and creating buildings that are based on sustainable design principles. In a year that ended much differently than it started, leaving all of us with a lot of fear about the coming years, we are still doing much better than other states.
New Mexico has not had as much of a down market in its building construction industry as other Western states, and this means we can look forward to planning for new work, though it might be less.
CASA has been working on providing the New Mexico building industry with an opportunity to come together and share opinions and needs for the development of the future. In April of this past year CASA held its annual Green Building Summit, the third program. We enjoyed the keynote address  Lt. Governor, Diane Denish gave and learned about her great concerns for energy saving buildings and the need for a better mortgage system that would award Green Building design, and energy saving measures in our state. We developed four directions for the industry; Building Codes, Education for a Sustainable Future, Making Green Building the Norm, and Legislation.
In brief, the most important direction the industry wants to take is to revise the composition of the:
Construction Industry Commission,
         Making Green Building the Norm
         Making the Public more aware of what a green building is and does. Provide more information schools and libraries
         Legislative: create bills from the governor's EO for buildings, HERS Ratings for all buildings, fund the green codes development program
We also want to thank those organizations again who sponsored this event:
         AIA New Mexico
         USGBC New Mexico
         Mesa del Sol
         National Association of Industrial and Office Properties
         GreenBuild New Mexico
We have begun the process of another Green Building Summit in September of 2009. The program will focus on the design of a new Green Building Code. This will be a different format, with guest presenters and the formation of a Taskforce to create the codes.
We have developed a project called the CASA Code Initiative. This is a long-term action, which will take a lot of work. It has been obvious for some time that the building codes need to 'green up'.  The Architecture 2030 Challenge paved the way for many considerations of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reductions to get as close to the minimum as possible, a neutral CO2 status by 2030. This means that through a series of reductions in 2010, 2015, 2025 and 2030 there is a clear guide for buildings to achieve greater energy savings.
If we accomplish this, CASA will help New Mexico save many thousands of dollars and employ many new people in Green Jobs related to new skills and technologies. 'It takes a village, however'. We must get the state agencies on line and then we can get the CCI going. 
This past year Howard was asked to present at four conferences:
         The New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority's annual conference: The Governor's Housing Summit; talking about the Cost of Energy in Housing.   
         Lorman Educational Services; Incorporating Green Designs into Your Project, his topic was Leed Overview and Regulatory Issues of Sustainable Development.
         He talked about Green Building: the Key to the Global Warming Solution at the New Mexico Public Health Association conference.
         At the USGBC Sustainability Week Lecture Series, Howard spoke to a consumer audience on the topic; Why Build Green? Economics and Climate Change.
CASA was also represented on the radio! Howard was a guest on the Santa Fe talk program, Journey Home, hosted by Diego Mulligan on KSFR-FM, discussing the State of Green Building in New Mexico and the eed for Green Building Codes in New Mexico.
Howard also authored a short paper, "The Building Community has Spoken, Green Codes Are It".
The concept was to establish awareness for the state to begin a process to develop green building codes and adopt them over the next coming year.
Another important initiative CASA has undertaken is to apply for a Grant to support a High School Mentorship Project for Sustainable Technologies. This would provide at-risk high-school juniors and seniors with real-time exposure in a professional engineering, architecture, and product development environment and also engage them in a project of their own. We hope that CASA can contribute to the next generation's interest in the upcoming Green Revolution.   The target population may not have a significant person in their life; might not have a parent or lives with a single parent. This will be an opportunity to provide a participant with view of life as it can be, and to develop their skills and talents to have another kind of life through successful employment.
CASA looks forward to 2009 and hope that we can share a little bit of  satisfaction in getting the 'Green Economy' going in New Mexico.
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Phyllis Kaplan
CASA: A Center Advancing Sustainable Architecture