The growth of green

October 2009 » Features » GREENBUILD 2009
A civil engineers—€™ quick guide to the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo
Blake Murillo, P.E., LEED AP, and Sean Vargas, P.E.

Green is growing. Since the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) debuted its Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in 2002, the event has experienced phenomenal growth. Tradeshow Week magazine selected last year’s Greenbuild as one of the 50 fastest-growing trade shows in the United States and Canada: Greenbuild 2008 drew more than 28,000 attendees and featured 800 exhibit booths.

This year, more than 1,800 exhibits await Greenbuild attendees, as well as more than 100 onsite educational sessions, offsite educational sessions, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) workshops, a two-day Residential Summit, the World Green Building Council International Congress, and tours of local green building sites. The USGBC selected “Main Street Green: Connect to the Conversation” as this year’s conference theme and touts Greenbuild 2009, Nov. 11-13 in Phoenix, as “the largest gathering of representatives from all sectors of the green building movement.”

Onsite education
Much of Greenbuild’s focus is on residential and commercial building design and construction. However, water resources, transportation systems, and urban planning and development — sectors of greater interest to civil engineers — are garnering increased attention. To highlight information that may be of particular interest to CE News readers, following are selected topics from some of the 16 educational tracks (session details are available online at www.greenbuildexpo.org/education-sessions):

Earth and Water Track

  • New innovations in landscape architecture
  • Water resource use and green design
  • Desert/urban: Where the mountain meets the desert city
  • Designing with nature: The Omega Center for Sustainable Design seeks to set the bar for biophilic design
  • Building a sustainable future by embracing water

LEEDing and Learning Track

  • LEED project showcase
  • LEED ND in existing urban and suburban contexts: Public and private benefits
Owning and Operating Track
  • Risk management and LEED
  • When the downturn turns up, will sustainable land development be achieved?
  • IPD enables green building
  • Mean and green: The need for disaster-resistant green building

Proactive Communities Track

  • Better late than never: Rising sea levels and adapting to them
  • Systems & Strategies Track
  • How bus rapid transit is enabling the renaissance of one of America’s grandest avenues
  • Sustainable infrastructure: A key component of green communities
  • Walking the talk: An examination of sustainability in design, construction, and urban development relating to light rail

Offsite education

The following three-hour-long offsite educational sessions may also be of interest to civil engineers:

  • Building in the desert environment: Scottsdale’s environmentally sensitive lands ordinance
  • Creating sustainable water supplies in the desert
  • Lowering the financial risk of LEED during a challenging economy
  • Real results from the front line: Using LEED as a market transformation tool
  • Sustainable urbanism and design: New directions in research and practice

LEED workshops

Developed at three learning levels, LEED workshops provide something for both beginners and experts. Here’s a few of the workshops that civil engineers may find helpful:

Green building basics and LEED (100 level) introduces attendees to the USGBC, green building principles, and the fundamentals of the LEED Rating System. Learn about climate change and building impacts, motivators for green building, and conventional versus integrative approaches — as well as their associated benefits — to building design, construction, and operations. This workshop is a recommended prerequisite for any 200- or 300-level LEED education program.

LEED for Neighborhood Development core concepts and strategies (200 level) teaches attendees about LEED for Neighborhood Development credit categories, concepts, and strategies, as well as basics of the LEED certification process. According to USGBC, this workshop is a good starting point for those pursuing the Green Building Certification Institute’s forthcoming LEED AP Neighborhood Development credential.

Building products for the green market: Essential know-how for manufacturers (300 level) reviews how products are marketed to designers and consumers, including information on valid product claims and greenwashing. Existing green building product directories, labels, certification systems, and product life-cycle assessment will be explored in detail. An overview of LEED credits, referenced standards, documentation requirements, and resources for evaluating organizational sustainability will be provided.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are available for onsite and offsite educational sessions, LEED workshops, green building tours, and post-conference seminars.

Opening celebration
Greenbuild 2009’s Opening Plenary Celebration on Nov. 11 is indicative of the prominence the event — and green building — has achieved in a short time. Former Vice President Al Gore will deliver the keynote address at Chase Field, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Additionally, the evening celebration features a musical performance by nine-time Grammy winner and environmental advocate Sheryl Crow, and an address by USGBC President, CEO and Founding Chair Rick Fedrizzi.

The new event combines the opening plenary presentation and the annual closing gala into one conference-wide celebration open to all full-conference attendees.

Information for this article was obtained from www.greenbuildexpo.org Check online for additional details and schedules, as well as registration information.


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