The national gathering of thought and opinion leaders in the LOHAS industry (Lifestyles Of Health And Sustainability) convened last week in Marina del Rey. The 11th annual business-to-business meeting, which mapped out plans for the industry’s second decade, was for “business people interested in learning how to make their industries more sustainable and sustainability more profitable,” said Ted Ning, conference director of LOHAS 11.
Over 650 people attended the convention at the Marina del Rey Marriott Hotel. The event featured 23 exhibitors, more than 50 sponsors at various levels and 80 speakers and moderators who addressed subjects ranging from “LOHAS Market Size and Consumer Trends” and “Giving Sustainability More SIZZLE” to “The Science Behind Organics” and “Is Sustainability Sustainable?”
“LOHAS has grown incredibly in the last decade,” said Ning, “literally helping sustainability move from the ‘nice to do’ category to the foundation of countless profit-making industries and businesses. But there’s still more to be done.”
Although the conference moved to the Marina from last year’s Santa Monica venue at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel, one of the highlights of this year’s gathering brought the conventioneers back to Santa Monica for a tour of Steve Glenn’s LivingHomes house on Highland Avenue in Ocean Park.
This remarkable prefabricated building was designed by architect Ray Kappe, FAIA, and is the first residential project in the country to receive a Platinum (highest) LEED rating from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Glenn is the founder and CEO of LivingHomes (livinghomes.us), a developer of modern prefab homes, which describes the house as “a Zero Energy, Zero Water, Zero Waste, Zero Carbon, Zero Emissions residence.”
The two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath house sports solar panels over part of the roof-top garden and tubes in which the sun heats the water that provides the house with radiant heat through the floors. When this reporter commented that an open void on the second floor isolated a den-like room accessible only from the deck (although it did create a dramatic high ceiling for the first floor below), Glenn’s representative explained that because the house was prefabricated, a “floor plate” could be installed in the void to connect (and enlarge) the isolated room if, for example, the owner’s family grew.
Steve Glenn was on hand as host for the evening tour. He said that the 2500-square-foot house, in which he now lives, had been built for $250/sq.ft. (structure) and $130/sq.ft. (foundation). He also said that he had been inspired to pursue a career in innovative development by one of his professors, Jim Rouse, who developed the planned community of Columbia, Maryland in the 1960s and the Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston in the 1970s.
Glenn also co-founded and serves on the board of the Sustainable Business Council (sustainablebc.org), Kaia Parker Dance Fund (kaiaparker.org) and the Hope Street Group (hopestreetgroup.org); he is also a member of the board of directors for LA Works (laworks.com) and the Brown University Entrepreneur Forum (brownep.org).
The LOHAS convention program says that the group has “tried to define a movement that started many decades ago by framing it as a conversion of social responsibility and good business. There were many years when the choir was the entire congregation. Today our biggest threat is that the international debate will surpass even those individuals and organizations that have been on the leading edge for so many years. We think this is a good thing.”