Stacey McMahan, LEED AP, has been chosen to head sustainable rebuilding efforts in Haiti as the country continues the long road to recovery following the disastrous 7.0 magnitude earthquake that rocked the country in January. As the Architecture for Humanity (AFH) Sustainable Design Fellow, McMahan will work directly with community members on the ground in Architecture for Humanity’s rebuilding center based in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
USGBC, AIA and AFH recognize that the crisis presents an unprecedented opportunity to learn from the reconstruction work and improve disaster responses elsewhere in the world and in the U.S. McMahan’s work on the ground in Haiti will be vital to future education on how sustainability after a disaster can be achieved.
“Witnessing the incredible devastation in Port-au-Prince, it’s only natural that hope is a rare amenity among the citizens of Haiti,” says McMahan. “The timing in my life was right to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to use my skills and experience for the good of others, and in that respect I also became aware that it was not enough to remain a bystander.
"So with the blessings of my husband and business partners, I’m diving into an adventure of a lifetime. My year there may be short or long, but I plan to use this opportunity to meet a lot of people, make many connections, and do what I can in furthering the idea and practice of building with sustainable strategies in urban Haiti. My experience with LEED has transformed the way I look at buildings and the process of building – it is an incredible tool.”
As a partner/principal at Koch Hazard Architects, McMahan is the Green Studio Director and has worked intimately with the firm’s entire LEED project portfolio. McMahan is passionate about sustainable design. Through the Sustainable Design Fellow program, McMahan will be working collaboratively with a team of design and construction professionals, countless volunteers and leaders of the local government to ensure that the reconstruction is based upon the key principles of green building including high-performance, structural integrity, higher energy and water efficiency and better ventilation quality for occupants.
Chief among McMahan’s responsibilities will be to provide tools and training for safe and sustainable construction both to the informal trades and by increasing local professional capacity through training and assistance as a path to mitigating similar building failures in the future.
“Sustainability needs a strong voice in Haiti’s reconstruction,” Eric Cesal, regional program manager for Architecture for Humanity in Haiti, said in a press release. “Faced with urgent needs on the ground, there is always a temptation to do it fast, instead of doing it right. We expect McMahan will help us do both.”