Top IBSx Takeaways from Sustainability & Green Building Scholarship Recipients


In a quest to provide opportunities for the future generation of green builders, NAHB is finding creative ways to engage and improve workforce development efforts. After a successful 2020 pilot program, 2021 brought even more young professionals to the building industry’s premier conference via the Sustainability & Green Building Scholarship Program for IBS.

Despite not being able to meet in person, this year’s green building IBSx scholarship recipients had the unique opportunity to meet NAHB members in an intimate setting through Zoom to discuss green building topics based on interest. By attending the Sustainability & Green Building’s subcommittee meeting prior to IBSx, they were also able to see first-hand what Federation business looks like.

"It has been nothing but a pleasure meeting members in the field and building connections with everyone," said interior design student KiaLeigh Rickard-Urban of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Education sessions also proved valuable for scholarship recipients, who were able to apply much of what they learned directly in their work.

"I was very inspired by the How Can I Do This? shop talk and proceeded to watch Christine Williamson’s pre-recorded session Airtight Done Right," scholarship recipient Shari Rauls of Dallas noted. "At my work with Habitat, we were in the middle of putting up the sheathing and house wrap as I watched this session, so it served as a direct comparison to the construction practices I was doing first hand."

It also reminded her that green building is more about the techniques in which materials are installed than utilizing expensive building materials.

"As a REALTOR, the Demystifying Zero master education course provided me with some great takeaways," Juan Reyes of Fort Worth, Texas, observed. "I have come to understand how the process, design, and building materials all fit together to construct a high-performance home."

"I would also say that green building is helping us live our best life!" he added.

Recent graduate Mary Vasilevsky of Florida Green Construction took away strategies for tackling balanced, healthy indoor air, and learned more about efficiency and affordability.

"As a young green building professional in a groundbreaking industry, I connected and networked with leaders who have been practicing, researching, and implementing the latest developments in green construction," she noted. "Not many conferences can do something like this — bringing people together virtually while also keeping education sessions relevant for young professionals."

The Sustainability and Green Building Scholarship for IBSx would not have been possible without 2021 contributors such as John Barrows of P3 Builder Group, Inc., Brandon Bryant of Red Tree Builders, Ray Tonjes of Ray Tonjes Builder Inc., Kathy Browning of Design Consultants, Marla Esser Cloos of The Green Home Coach, and Steven Winter Associates.

Interested in learning more about how you can connect with young talent in the green building industry and contribute to the future workforce? Check out the NAHB Sustainability Scholarship Fund to learn how your company could benefit and make the scholarship possible for the 2022 International Builders’ Show.

Registration is still open for the IBSx Education & Exhibitor Showcase. Register today to gain access to these sessions and more through June 30, 2021.

To stay current on the high-performance residential building sector, with tips on water efficiency, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and other building science strategies, follow NAHB’s Sustainability and Green Building team on Twitter.

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