The economics of sustainability: The voluntary role

land and sonia
Gunter Lang and Sonia Zouari after the Passive House presentation. He returned as a guest panelist for tonight’s event.

It’s been a long day — long enough that I had a rare “miss” in not publishing the daily blog posting here. The reason: My obligations relating to logistics and co-ordination for a Construction Specifications Canada Ottawa chapter Connections Cafe with the theme: The economics of sustainability.

My role in this event was more supporting than leadership but there were still plenty of tasks to handle, including chauffeuring?an out-of-town guest and setting up and managing the registration process. As the event itself occupied five evening hours, the overall preparations and responsibilities consumed most of the day.

(There’s a follow-on requiring more chauffeuring, coupled with a morning program and luncheon, that will gobble up most my working day tomorrow.)

All of this work may seem distant from the tasks of overseeing a publishing business. ?Obviously, we’ll publish some relevant stories in our publications about the event. But why spend all this time on the initiative?

The answer, of course, relates to the amazingly powerful indirect benefits of effective community service and voluntary work. If you go about this stuff expecting direct and immediate reward, you will be disappointed, of course, but the rewards emerge, through relationships, trust, reputation, and often direct opportunity when the situation is right to ask for business.

The event certainly proved successful to the CSC chapter — revenues will add to the chapter’s financial reserves. Sponsoring businesses (who paid $300 to $900 for promotional opportunities) reported that the evening was profitable to them — they generated worthy sales, and developed useful leads. And of course the topic — touching on sustainable construction, the Passivehouse concept, and effective multi-faceted approaches to add to life cycle value of building projects, is worthy of extensive discussion.

But it’s a long day and night, and so in a rare situation, you’ll see two days covered by one blog posting. I’ll resume my regular writing schedule on Friday.

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