From the fabricator: SmackDown week

In one week, the Department of Energy and the USGBC both got taken to task in the media, and it was like a blogging Hanukah for me, with each day bringing a different gift of much needed criticism. The DOE was first hammered in this report of wasteful travel practices. Then, a newspaper took the DOE to task over claims from security agents about fraud, waste and abuse. And at the end of the week, even the White House tossed the DOE under the bus, blaming it for the loan to out-of-business Abound Solar.

All of the reports were pretty interesting reads, and hopefully they lead to more reporting on some of the other issues within the very stale organization. My hope is no matter who wins on November 6, he takes a hard and fresh look at that body. It surely needs it at every level.

Meanwhile, USA Today ran two days of stories about the USGBC and the whole green building world. To me, it was a fascinating takedown of a group that was pretty much bulletproof. Whenever it got into any trouble, there was always some trade media to carry its water for it. Trade media can usually trump bloggers like me. Now that one of the biggest newspapers in North America has taken a shot, it will be interesting to see who comes to the rescue and how effective they are. The basis of the articles included how business interests became a powerful force at the USGBC, and how “easy” it is to be green, including the all-famous “bike rack” piece. I have been consistently saying that green building ratings are needed but they have to be valuable and real. It’s an important part of our industry and future, and needs to be better. Anyway it’s nice to see others agree. The whole series can be found here.


  • The Architecture Billings Index had a good month: the best in two years, actually. Many industry and economic observers are expecting a solid 2013, and if the ABI holds true, everyone with the exception of the West should have a solid first quarter. Plus, McGraw-Hill Construction predicted commercial construction will be up 12 percent despite some holes in the sector thanks to stingy lending from the banks. I still remain positive about the future, with or without the ABI.
  • It was tough missing glasstec last week, but thanks to excellent tweets from Katy Devlin of Glass Magazine, pictures from Steve O’Hollaren of ICD and tweets from Guardian, I was able to follow along.  I will be curious to catch up with those folks who attended the show to see what they thought about it.
  • One more week until the election, and I just don’t know how folks in the swing states can deal with the insane amount of commercials. I was in one particular state this past week and watched the commercials alternate from one side to another… over and over.
  • Last this week, at the time of this posting, Hurricane Sandy was chugging up the coast. Hopefully, its bark is worse than its bite… stay safe everyone!

Read on for links and video of the week.

The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him at

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.


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