Remembering Malcom Lewis, USGBC Board Member and Green Building Visionary
The passing of former USGBC board member and visionary green building leader Malcolm Lewis is a painful reminder that while we pass through this earth in a blink of time, we can choose to leave a lasting legacy. Alex Wilson at BuildingGreen captures Malcolm with the warmth and insight we always look to Alex for and with his permission, we share his thoughts with you. - Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, USGBC
Our friend and mentor, Malcolm Lewis, has passed away. Malcolm Lewis will be sorely missed.
Malcolm Lewis, Ph.D., the founder of Constructive Technologies Group, a member of the EBN Advisory Board, and long a quiet leader in the green building movement, died on October 13th of bladder cancer.
I first got to know Malcolm when I served on the U.S. Green Building Council board of directors and observed his ability to craft consensus and find agreement on often-heated issues. He was the soft-spoken trouble-shooter on whom the board came to rely to get us out of trouble.
Along with serving on the USGBC’s board, Malcolm chaired the Council’s Technical and Scientific Advisory Committee (TSAC), which was charged with defusing tense issues, such as whether LEED should include a credit for avoiding PVC and how to factor in both ozone-depletion potential and global warming potential of refrigerants.
He took on these tasks with a skill and sensitivity that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. And I saw that work up close, since he tapped my colleague Nadav Malin for the PVC Task Force. Malcolm shepherding that process through contentious meetings—always with tact and respect for the views of others. (How much our politicians would have been able to learn from him!)
Malcolm grew Constructive Technologies Group into a firm of 30 engineers and other technical staff in two divisions, CTG Energetics and CTG Forensics. CTG Energetics handled LEED certifications for over 150 buildings—including many of the earliest. Under his leadership, CTG Energetics helped USGBC develop a scientific framework for distributing points among credits in LEED, created a LEED Volume certification program for the U.S. General Services Administration, developed a carbon accounting tool for California communities, and wrote the Reference Guide for ASHRAE Standard 189.1, among many other accomplishments. In December, 2011 he sold the company to The Cadmus Group, not long before being diagnosed with cancer.
My one chance to work directly with Malcolm on a project was in 2002 when we were part of a team that helped Stonyfield Yogurt come up with a strategy to reduce its carbon emissions. A handful of us spent an engaging two days crawling through the Stonyfield plant in New Hampshire identifying opportunities for savings—and there were many. It was a privilege to see Malcolm’s brilliant engineering skills tackle this challenge after seeing him in action on the more abstract issues of toxicity, ozone depletion, and group dynamics.
Malcolm will be sorely missed by all who knew and worked with him, and also by those who didn’t know him but nonetheless benefited from his often-anonymous efforts. Fortunately, we still have the fruits of his labors as the foundation on which we can continue to build a greener world.