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The Inextinguishable Gail Lindsey
Photos by Michael Cox, Gail’s favorite photographer
A green building pioneer died this week, but her spirit will never leave us. Gail Lindsey—architect, educator, innovative visionary—had a profound influence on me and thousands of design and building professionals. In fact, if you used LEED, Gail’s work has touched your life.
As an early advocate of the design charrette process, she taught us how to “group think,” how to separate everything into fives (ever wonder why there are five LEED categories?), how to use the power of the story and how to have fun—even with that which makes us sad. In her typical way, Gail banded together her “B.C. Sistas” (yes, I’m one) and a large circle of friends for support, good vibes, wisdom and prayers as she courageously fought the breast cancer that ended her life. Forming communities was one of the things that Gail did best.
Described as a “powerhouse and a gentle soul,” Gail was “green before there was a green” said AIA in her home state of North Carolina as the chapter presented her with its 2008 Gold Medal award. She helped write LEED, co-created the USGBC training program and was one of the first LEED trainers. She’s given over 300 workshops and presentations, has been an invited speaker at every AIA national convention since 1995, and was granted AIA Fellowship.
Gail’s work has included: The Greening of the White House, The Greening of the Pentagon, The Greening of Habitat for Humanity, The Sustainable Design Initiatives for the National Park Service, The International Green Building Challenge and companion GBTool, the interactive CD ROM—The Green Building Advisor, the Department of Energy’s web-based high performance case study database, the Department of Defense’s Sustainable Design Training Program, and the U.S. EPA’s Energy Star Program.
As USGBC President and CEO Rick Fedrizzi said, “she was an amazing voice in the green building movement from the very beginning and an inspiration to all that knew her. She was first and foremost a human being of epic proportions.” Recently Gail joined some of her closest colleagues to form Delving Deeper, an organization to facilitate integration between ourselves, our work, our communities, and the world. Her life’s work was not nearly done, and she will be deeply missed.
I loved getting Gail’s emails, some just to me, others to her "monster" list. They kept us connected to her and to each other—always filled with lots of CAPS, lots of dots…… and exclamation points!!!!—and always ending with her familiar signature.