News & Events

Guest Speaker Series: Trends in the Built Environment Industry

October 26, 2020
UBC MEL Guest Speaker George Benson

On October 21, Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) students in High Performance Buildings (HPB) and Urban Systems (URSY) attended an exclusive presentation by George Benson, Sector Manager for the Built Environment at the Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC).

The VEC is the economic development agency for the City of Vancouver. It works to “build a prosperous, inclusive and resilient economy for Vancouver, its businesses and its citizens.”

At the VEC, George works to decarbonize, build resilience, and increase social equity in Vancouver’s thriving architecture, engineering, and construction sectors. He also promotes green economy and social impact work in numerous different ways. Through this work, George is involved with the BC Energy Step Code Council, PACE BC, and numerous other built environment initiatives. Outside of the VEC, he is also the Global Climate Lead for North America in the World Economic Forum’s young leaders network, the Global Shapers Community. In 2017, George received the City of Vancouver Award of Excellence for his work on building sustainability and resilience in the community.

In his presentation to the HPB and URSY cohorts, George talked about changes and trends in the Built Environment industry, especially within the high-performance building world. He spoke of both local and international trends in regards to the current climate crisis we are facing.

HPB and URSY students had the opportunity to discuss forthcoming policy and regulatory changes in energy, key industry trends in design, construction, and finance, and the most pressing challenges and opportunities arising in the high-performance buildings sector.

Key Trends

MEL URSY and HBP students expanded their knowledge on key trends, including but not limited to:

  • The growing green economy: Currently, 1 in 15 Vancouverites work in the green economy, and the green buildings market is a flourishing market for jobs.
  • The Built Environment sector no longer seeks individuals with a narrow focus. More and more, the need to integrate resiliency into engineering, architecture, and construction is coming to the forefront.
  • Embodied carbon is the way of the future, and we need to begin preparing for that future now.
  • In an unstable time, buildings must be adaptable to meet challenges in equity, finance, and public health.

At the close of his presentation, George commented on how MEL graduates are well-positioned to tackle the current climate crisis in the green economy because of their unique combined skills in engineering and business. URSY and HPB students were encouraged to practice innovation and disruptive thinking to prepare themselves for future careers and change-makers in the Built Environment industry.

The world around us is changing day by day. Are you prepared to adapt alongside it? Explore UBC’s Master of Engineering Leadership program and how it provides the next generation of leaders with the key technical skills and business knowledge needed to innovate and thrive within their industry.

High Performance Buildings

High Performance Buildings

Take your career to new heights through an interdisciplinary approach to building design.

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Urban Systems

Urban Systems
Gain the high-level technical knowledge and urban planning perspective to design and manage urban infrastructure systems and create more resilient cities.

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