Robert Phinney AIA, LEED Fellow, ENV SP, PMP, GGP, GPCP
Associate Principal / Sustainable Design Director
Robert Phinney, Sustainable Design Director at Page, is passionate about the health of our buildings and environment – and how they affect human health. He first experienced this “aha” moment while in graduate school at North Carolina State University where he learned about environmentally sound design. The subsequent loss of family members and friends to cancer made him even more acutely aware of the widespread use of toxic chemicals in every aspect of our lives. This strengthened his commitment to “design for the future” with buildings that save energy, reduce water usage and, most important, protect our environmental and human health.
Armed with the knowledge of what we put into our products and our buildings, Robert guides clients and project teams through the process of defining and implementing sustainable visions and goals for a project. He derives great personal satisfaction from inspiring others to incorporate sustainable solutions into the design of buildings. During his career he has worked on over 40 LEED certified projects, integrating sustainable design into multi-million dollar federal, civic, science/technology, and healthcare projects.
His LEED Fellow designation, which Robert considers one of his greatest achievements, was the result of his almost two-decades of advocacy to promote and integrate sustainability, not just in the built environment, but also in organizations. At the national level, for example, Robert has helped develop LEED credentialing systems and exams and was involved in the early development of the Green Guide for Healthcare.
One of his most satisfying projects was performing a daylighting analysis for the Department of Veterans Affairs. According to Robert, this project will have a long-term positive impact by promoting better healing environments, not only within the largest healthcare organization (the VA), but throughout the industry. He credits its success to the level of collaboration during design, a holistic process that utilized the skills and knowledge of all stakeholders working together.
In the spirit of collaboration, Robert is particularly proud of the contributions he has made at the local level, including as a member of the City of Alexandria Green Building Advisory Board and the Maryland Clean Energy Council. He also serves as an ambassador for the Living Building Challenge, promoting regenerative design through the use of less harmful materials. Working closely with the regional development community in the Washington DC Metro region, he successfully persuaded them to make efficiency, health and environmental stewardship a priority through the creation of project policies and guidelines. This in turn encouraged regional design partners to take a more active role in providing sustainable solutions, helping to create what many consider the ‘greenest’ city in the U.S.
Robert’s commitment to his community extends to his volunteer efforts in his neighborhood civic association – defining and supporting initiatives and activities within an older neighborhood going through significant transition and challenges associated with diversity and socio-economic inequity.
In his spare time, Robert focuses on family activities and teaching sportsmanship and teamwork as a coach for his son’s Little League teams. He also enjoys gardening and the never-ending renovation of his home.
Taking note of Einstein’s statement that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” Robert delights in continuing to learn, share, and successfully integrate sustainable practices in his work, his industry, his community – and his life.