greenbuild , the annual international conference and expo organized by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) was held this November in Atlanta. Attended this year by nearly 12,000 people (up 3,000 from last year), Greenbuild attracts a larger audience every year. Keynote speakers included industrialist Ray Anderson, CEO of carpet manufacturer Interface; natural science writer Janine Benyus, author of Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature; environmentalist Paul Hawken, author of Natural Capitalism; and Duane Elgin, author of Promise Ahead: A Vision of Hope and Action for Humanity's Future.
Most architects and designers associate the USGBC with the various Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating products. However, what many do not realize is that LEED is only one of six strategic goals of the USGBC, all of which were addressed at Greenbuild. The other five categories include: Community, Research, Education, Advocacy, and Organiz-ational Excellence. Here are some of the issues discussed in relation to these topics.
LEED The big announcement this year was that development has begun for LEED-New Construction version 3.0. This product has been reconfigured to score projects by addressing greenhouse gas emissions as they relate to specific regions. Another significant development was the announcement of a new streamlined LEED documentation and certification process. Projects can now be filed online at either the design or construction phase.
Community As LEED 3.0 proceeds, new partnerships in the various professional communities will be needed to provide improved peer involvement and peer review. Now that trade and professional organizations are entitled to full membership, new opportunities exist for the IALD (represented at Greenbuild by Stefan Graf and Nancy Clanton) and the IESNA to have more input into credits that deal with lighting.
Research Although the number of seminars devoted to lighting were but one, 'Daylighting R&D Applied to Hospitals and Offices' offered presentation from three leaders in the field: Daylight specialist G.Z. Brown, director of the Energy Studies in Buildings Laboratory at the University of Oregon presented on daylighting for hospitals and energy-efficient patient room design; and Stephen Selkowitz and Eleanor Lee from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory discussed the results from the New York Times Building mockup.
Education The conference included five full days of workshops, learning sessions, and tours, with categories as diverse as Life-Cycle Assessment, Livable Communities, Investing in Sustainability, and the Ups and Downs of Marketing Green. Although there was really only one seminar that addressed lighting directly and relatively few of the 300-plus exhibitors were from the lighting community (Lutron, Osram Sylvania, Philips, and Acuity Brands were some of the manufacturers that did attend), the show provided an opportunity for lighting professionals with concern for the environment to meet like-minded peers.
Advocacy Design practitioners come to Greenbuild to meet colleagues they can collaborate with, to understand the resources available to design and build responsibly, and to learn how to navigate the boundaries between their skills and those of others to produce truly integrated sustainable projects. These practitioners realize they cannot do it alone and that no one single professional discipline has all the tools or answers.
Organizational Excellence With the introduction of an initiative called 'Dynamic Governance,' those who attended the Chapter Leadership Forum experienced the future of decision- and policy-making in the USGBC. Dynamic Governance not only hopes to clear the way for better communication and support of new policies throughout the membership, it also provides new incentive for design professionals to become involved at the chapter level, in committees, and as attendees or corporate sponsors.
Whether a seasoned professional or 'emerging green builder,' attendees come away from Greenbuild with much more than can be packed into a carry-on bag. Greenbuild is bigger than LEED; it is about a future we can only obtain when we share between professions. Greenbuild 2006 will be held in Denver, Colorado, next November. bruce hostetter