Home Building Methods Face Major Changes
All across North America, home builders tend to agree that the better real estate investments – for both the occupant and for future re-sale value – may be best served by a whole new approach to construction. One major change addressing energy consumption and rising fuel costs, is the optional use of an air-tight, solid concrete system to replace inefficient wood framing. Insulated concrete forms (ICFs) erect a building with an interlocking system, similar to Lego.
“It's a switch for builders, but those who have switched over tell us it's quite easy to build with ICFs,” says Todd Blyth at Nudura, a leading name in the field. “Customer demand has driven this change and builders are now seeing how green construction options can have a positive impact on their business.”
Indeed, concrete is plentiful and it's in high demand. The ICF system is now the choice wall-building method on 'net-zero' construction projects south of the border. The term net-zero applies to buildings that are so energy efficient they don't tap any public utility fuel supplies at all. ICF construction has already produced net-zero elementary schools in the United States, where Canadian technology was applied with the Nudura system of ICFs. The goal in the future is for as many homes, schools, and public buildings as possible to be designed for net-zero from the ground up.
If this type of energy-efficiency sounds right for you too, be sure to make specific requests to your builder, Blyth says. Underscoring these proactive measures, the non-profit organization, LEED, also reminds us that constructing a green home leaves a much smaller carbon footprint due to less demand on natural resources. It will create less waste and be healthier and more comfortable for the occupants. If you're thinking about building to the LEED standard, take a look at just one example of the efficiency and benefits if you switch from wood-framing to concrete. The ICF system is explained and found at nudura.com, with a snapshot here:
Fuel Savings: Walls built with ICFs are proven to reduce energy bills up to 70 per cent; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and reduce or eliminate exposure to mold, mildew and other indoor toxins. The net cost over time is comparable to that of owning a conventional home and the resale return is generally assured.
Durability: Concrete is expected to stand the test of time. Due to high impact resistance, these concrete walls assure maximum safety in high wind areas. Fire resistance is also reported to be maximized at four hours.
Comfort: As opposed to wood frames, air gaps are eliminated and that minimizes the potential for mould growth and draft. The end result is an airtight structure that enables the mechanical systems to heat, cool and ventilate the structure more efficiently, creating a healthier living and working environment.
Responsibility: The materials are totally recyclable and the system is designed to create less waste (for landfill) during the construction process. Combined with other eco-construction methods, this concrete system will significantly reduce carbon emissions by lowering the amount of fossil fuels needed for heating and cooling.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.