ANN EDMINSTER, M.Arch., LEED AP, is a consultant and recognized national expert on green home design and construction. She is a principal author of the LEED for Homes Rating System and consults to builders, owners, developers, supply chain clients, design firms, investors, and public agencies. She sits on the advisory boards of several private companies. Ann can be reached at designavenues.net.
Architect by Accident, Advocate by Design
Ann Edminster earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture, figuring it would be a good meal ticket. But she didn’t complete her education until she realized it could be combined with her reverence for nature to create energy-efficient, sustainably-designed structures.
Until that point in her life, Edminster used her skills as a writer and editor to pay the bills, rather than her undergraduate degree in architecture. She did moonlight a bit, doing occasional remodeling projects, getting jobs by word of mouth. But she never interned or earned an architecture license. Over the years, though, she did learn quite a bit about how houses go together. And she became troubled by the amount of waste in the industry.
Then Edminster began to hear about healthy building and ecological building, and resolved to join the field. She returned to school, obtaining her master’s degree in architecture at UC Berkeley. Since then, Edminster has been completely immersed in green building.
The advocacy for all structures green stems from her youth. “When I was about 11 years old, I volunteered at my town’s first, newly opened recycling center,” Edminster recalls. “A couple of years later, I helped clean scores of seabirds that had been fouled with oil from the 1969 spill off the Santa Barbara coast. That summer, I had my first (glorious!) backcountry experience, in the High Sierra near Lake Tahoe.”
“Those early experiences, an innate abhorrence for waste, and parental influence (I was the child of two activist English teachers—my father a far-left radical and my mother a deeply committed social welfare advocate) forged in me a reverence for nature and a powerful drive to protect the natural world that has never been far from the surface.”
Edminster has combined that concern with her architectural training and her skill as a communicator to spread the word about ways to tackle the complex field of green building.
“It has been—and continues to be—a wild, exciting, and vastly rewarding ride,” Edminster says, “above all because of the amazing caliber of individuals with whom I work, and their remarkable unity of purpose.”
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