March 2009

Volume 18, Number 3

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Remembering Gail Lindsey

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Gail Lindsey

Photo: Michael Cox

The green building industry has lost one of its pillars. Gail Lindsey, FAIA, of Wake Forest, North Carolina, passed away quickly on February 2, 2009, after the cancer she had been fighting since March 2007 invaded her liver.

Gail was a key part of the modern green building movement from its earliest days. She was perhaps best known as chair of The American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment (COTE) during a particularly formative period when the Top Ten Green Projects awards were conceived. For thousands of architects, builders, developers, and facilities managers, Gail is remembered as an enthusiastic and inspirational teacher. She led more than 300 workshops and charrettes on green building and never failed to brighten and inspire those participants.

Gail was involved with the Greening of the White House, the Greening of the Pentagon, the Sustainable Design Initiatives for the National Park Service, and the Sustainable Design Training Program for the Department of Defense. Gail was also a key player in creating the LEED Rating System, the Army’s SPiRiT rating system, the North Carolina Triangle J High Performance Guidelines, and the International Green Building Challenge Assessment Tool. She was one of the first LEED trainers for the U.S. Green Building Council and she co-chaired the U.S. Team for the International Green Building Challenge from its inception in 1996.

One of EBN’s longest-serving advisory board members and most enthusiastic supporters, she had a huge influence on the activities and success of BuildingGreen. In the late 1990s she partnered with us to create a CD-ROM tool called Green Building Advisor and, later, the U.S. Department of Energy’s High-Performance Buildings Database.

She was always as interested in the people as in the buildings, and in recent years her activities grew to explore the spiritual and holistic aspects of this field more explicitly. In the year before her death she worked with Bill Reed, AIA, to develop a workshop series called “Delving Deeper” that connects sustainability and regenerative design with personal growth and fun (a pursuit that Gail thought didn’t get enough attention). Gail’s husband, Michael Cox, noted that “Gail reflected back to everyone a better image of themselves.”

Gail will be sorely missed by all of us at BuildingGreen and by thousands of others in the green building field whose lives she touched deeply. We offer our deepest sympathies to Mike, who has cared so ably for Gail these past two years, and to her wide circle of supportive friends. A tribute and an opportunity to help build on Gail’s legacy will be posted on During her illness, Gail gave as much support to this circle of friends as we were able to give to her. Gail’s endearing smile will live on for all of us.

– Alex Wilson and Nadav Malin

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February 26, 2009