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DCAT's best assessment of how well we are doing our work is through the words of others. Please read letters of support written by Bob Fowler, Donella Meadows, Jon Traw, Clint Tawse, and Anthony Floyd.

Letter of support from Bob Fowler, Chief Building Official of Pasadena, CA. From September 13, 2000.

Dear David:

It was good to see you again at the ICBO Annual Business Meeting in San Francisco this past week. As always I find our time together both highly productive and enjoyable. In thinking about the many subjects we discussed while we were together, I realized that I wanted to follow them up with a letter expressing my support for your work.

In my 33 years of involvement with building codes, I have never seen anyone come from outside the code community and provide more effective and authentic leadership or have a more positive influence than you have had. And you know that my experience in this field includes 6 years as Board Liaison to the entire code development process, 5 years on the Fire and Life Safety Committee as well as serving as Chairman of the Board of ICBO in 1993/94 and Founding Chairman of the International Code Council. So I know whereof I speak.

Those of us in the building code community and the general public owe a large debt of gratitude for the work of the Development Center for Appropriate Technology under your guidance. Your work is laying the foundation for the vital but challenging changes that are needed in building regulation. You have been instrumental in making us aware of the larger issues and in helping us to begin finding constructive, win/win solutions that will remove the regulatory barriers to sustainable building. There are few things more important or more critical at this point in time and I would like to help ensure that it continues and receives the support it deserves.

I'm actually writing this letter as much to those who support your work or may be considering doing so, as to you. I want to give you something that will help convey the essential nature of your work and the vital need for it to continue and expand. I am always impressed with the fact that you are conversant and continually forging new relationships with people and organizations across traditionally adversarial boundaries. Your work with the conventional and green building, design, engineering, environmental, conventional and sustainable development, and standards communities is testament to the integrated vision that is at the heart of DCAT's work. Your perspective is unique, in my experience, and your contributions are invaluable and timely for the challenges at hand.

Events of this past week demonstrated further that your leadership and vision extend beyond issues of sustainability to encompass the larger challenges to maintaining accountability and responsibility for building safety and public welfare in the building regulatory system. Your observations and response to the recent efforts by industry-backed organizations to develop their own building codes to compete with the International Codes typify your constructive approach to problem solving. You recognized that these competing codes will undermine the enormous effort and achievements over the last seven years of the consolidation of the three regional codes into a single, national set of building codes. You expressed clearly your concern about substituting a set of codes developed in an industry-dominated process for the International Codes, which were developed in an open public process managed by the public officials responsible for enforcing them and protecting the public welfare.

You shared with many of the ICBO Board members, staff and others your insights and perspective about the problems with the industry-based "consensus" process that they are touting as superior to the process used by the code organizations. Your outside perspective and experience with the standards development process helped clarify the central importance of having building officials, not industry and others with mainly financial interests, have the final say on what is in the codes. Having the benefit of your unique perspective is vital on issues such as this, and will be much appreciated in the ongoing development of building codes and standards.

All in all, in spite of the challenges you face in the size and complexity of the issues, the limited resources which you have to work with, and the changes that have emerged this year, DCAT has done a phenomenal job of elevating awareness about the importance of this larger context of public welfare. And further, you continue building relationships and alliances, and bringing all these issues into view and into the main stream of discussion. I know personally, from meetings that I have been in and from the many people with whom I talk, that your work is known and respected, your issues are beginning to be understood and considered, and efforts are starting that will lead to their being addressed. DCAT has been and continues to be the catalyst and I am proud to be able to play a part in this.

If any of your funders should want more information or would like to speak with me directly, please feel free to have them contact me at the Pasadena, California, Planning and Permitting Department, Bob Fowler, 175 N. Garfield Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101, (626) 744-6808.


Bob Fowler, CBO, FAIA, PE
Chief Building Official Pasadena, California

[Note: Bob Fowler was of the nation's leading code officials, who was working with DCAT on bringing sustainability into the building codes. Bob's passing leaves a void on both a personal and professional level. Please also read Jon Traw's tribute to Bob from the November-December 2001 issue of Building Standards.]

Letter of support for DCAT's work to a supporting foundation by Donella Meadows, co-author of Limits to Growth. From October 2, 2000.

I understand that David Eisenberg has a proposal before you for his work on sustainable building and building codes. I'd just like to put in a word an his behalf, if I may.

As you may know, I'm involved in a "green" building project myself these days, designing and building a 22-unit cohousing project and organic farm in Vermont. This excruciating process (4 years and we've just broken ground) has thrown me into the world of "green construction" in a big way. I find it a confusing, messed-up world. Much of what I have been told is sustainable building doesn't look at all like that to me. Furthermore, I have had the utterly frustrating experience of going up against codes and regulations that actually force things to be done in an unsustainable, overly expensive way.

The primary voice of sanity that has helped me through this maze has been David's. (Starting with his imm.ortal quote, "The road to good intentions is often paved with hell.") Last spring I happened to see his presentation to building code officials and found it the ONLY thing I had heard in four years that was REALLY about sustainable building. (It is also full of terrific slides, of buildings around the world.)

That presentation was so extraordinary that I brought David to Vermont a few months later to give it publicly in the very first (and so far only) presentation sponsored by my new Sustainability Institute. He drew a goad crowd, which included (I had ensured) my design engineers and my contractors. The evening was a smashing success.

David is a little too sweet and humble to push his own case as much as he should. He's doing the best work in the field. I know of NO ONE else who is seriously considering how 6+ billion people in this world can be properly housed. NO ONE else I knom is seeing that sustainability starts with material in the earth and ends with that material returning to the earth in a harmless form. (Believe it or not, "green" builders see nothing wrong witn PVC or oriented strandboard. They don't even think to ask what things are made of!) And in going for the codes, David is going to the heart of the issue.

I hope you can support his work and see his slide show.

Dana Meadows

[Note: Dana Meadows was the voice of human conscience and speaker for sustainability, right up to her death in February of 2001. Her ability to communicate to all was demonstrated in every Global Citizen column she wrote.]

Letter of support from Jon Traw, former CEO of the International Conference of Code Officials. From November 13, 2000.

Dear David,

The purpose of this letter is to reiterate ICBO's committment to the principles of sustainability and to working with the Development Center for Appropriate Technology in the effort to address those principles in the building code. As we have indicated in the past, we recognize that these issues are ultimately as important as any of the other aspects of the building code and the challenge lies in developing a way to facilitate the needed changes.

As an initial step, parallel to your efforts to raise awareness about the reasons these changes are needed, we have been attempting to bring these issues to the forefront through the various features and articles in our magazine, Building Standards, and through our website where they appear in Building Standards Online. We have received a great deal of positive feedback from our readers and members for providing this kind of information and there is a growing interest and demand for it as people wake to the importance of addressing the environmental impacts of building. Our bookstore, which provides resource materials for our members, has also expanded its offerings in the areas of alternative materials and methods of construction in another effort to support building officials who are dealing with these building systems in the field.

We are also happy to be assisting in your effort to develop a comprehensive survey to identify the regulatory and code-related barriers to more sustainable building and development practices. This should both speed the process of creating needed changes in the codes and gain the involvement and participation of many more knowledgeable people in the code-development and code-change process. We appreciate DCAT's leadership in this area.

Additionally, as you know, we sponsored an International Forum at our Annual Business Meeting and Conference in San Francisco at which many of these issues were discussed. We have come to recognize that we have a responsibility as world leaders in building design, technology, and regulation, to attend to the whole range of consequences of our buildings to the extent that we are able to understand and address them. This includes the appropriateness of building technology as it is transferred to different locations either in the U.S. or abroad. I know you are also familiar with the efforts of Rick Okawa, Director of our International Evaluation Service program and who is very much aware of these issues and supportive of the goals that we share in trying to make the built environment more sustainable.

We continue to be fully supportive and committed to making this change a reality and to working with DCAT to develop strategies to accomplish these goals. We look forward to continuing to develop our relationship and to cooperatively seek win-win solutions to these problems. We appreciate the positive and collaborative approach that you have taken and your ongoing committment to finding the most effective means to facilitate change. We welcome the opportunities to partner with DCAT and other organizations to achieve these crucial goals.


Jon Traw
President and CEO

Letter of support from Clint Tawse, retired building official of Pueblo, CO. From March 12, 1998.

Dear David:

Seems like August 1995 was a long while back, but then I look at where we have come in that 2 1/2 year span and it's almost mind boggling to me. Who would have thought back then that your presentation to a group of Colorado Building Officials would have the ripple effect it created. Not I. Never in my mind did I foresee the energy that has come to be not just in Colorado but across the Nation.

The responsibility for this ground swell and change lies at your feet alone. Oh some of us may have allowed you a place to tell of your concerns but it is solely through your actions and total commitment that has seen this change fall into place. A long way from Pueblo to the halls of the ICBO ABM in Phoenix, Arizona where you spoke to a crowd of National Building Officials. Most importantly, they listened. They were captivated by your works and your challenge to them. Then the highly successful Summit on Sustainable Building Codes in Hesperia, California. A giant step toward change engineered by yourself. I commend you, my friend, for where you have taken us. You have achieved what no one would have thought possible back in August of 1995. The benefactors of your efforts, our grandchildren and generations to come.


Clinton H. Tawse, Building Official
Pueblo Regional Building Department

Letter of support from Anthony Floyd, former Building Official and current head of the green building program in Scottsdale, AZ. From November 11, 1999.

Dear Mr. Eisenberg:

As an architect and former building official, I have a concern for safe, healthy, and optimal performance buildings. As current manager for Scottsdale's Green Building Program, I have a greater concern for environmentally responsible and sustainable building practices. It is critical for building codes and standards to begin to address these issues.

The International Code Council and its code development process is the vehicle to help move building codes toward sustainable building applications. The building material and products industry serves in the interest of market proliferation within the current life safety context of the code. As environmental responsibility becomes a greater concern, there will be greater conflicts with materials and methods of construction. DCAT has begun the initiative to address these issues outside the market interest of proprietary materials and equipment.

My recent code change proposal is a great example of the action DCAT is taking to help achieve a better balance in the code development process. Your testimonial support helped to achieve a unanimously vote in favor of Scottsdale's proposed code change for passive solar heating. There have been many related issues in the past that has failed because of the lack of input from a sustainable and environmentally responsible perspective.

I highly commend the work of DCAT and look forward to future collaboration in our effort to build sustainability into the building codes.


Anthony Floyd, AIA, CBO
Sustainable Building Manager
City of Scottsdale Green Building Program

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