Greenbuild Wrap Up

After three and a half action packed days at Greenbuild, I am back home and trying to digest everything I saw and all of the conversations I had along the way. So, while I am sorting my thoughts, I decided to do a quick hitting, bullet-pointed wrap up of my general impressions and things I learned this week in Chicago:

  • Greenbuild continues to grow. While I haven’t heard an official attendence count, the conference and expo seemed every bit as big as last year’s in Phoenix.
  • Greenwashing is alive and well, even at conventions focused on sustainability. All you had to do was take a quick stroll through the expo to see sketchy environmental claims and products that seemed anything but “green”. I am always a little surprised that USGBC doesn’t exert a little more control at their own conference.
  • Greenbuild education sessions are still hit and miss. While I am sure there were several very good educational sessions this week, I didn’t have much luck finding them. I probably should have just randomly drawn my sessions to attend from a hat. I still think the sessions could greatly benefit from a system to identify which are basic knowledge and which are more advanced and in-depth.
  • Colin Powell is a wonderfully inspirational speaker with not a whole lot to say about sustainability.
  • Chicago’s Merchandise Mart is a great place for a party and would be a terrific resource for finishes and furnishings if I lived in Chicago.
  • The Living Building Challenge is beginning to pick up steam. Other hot topics worth looking into to take your projects well past LEED include: regenerative design, biomimicry and biophilic design.
  • Glumac engineers threw a great party at Gensler Chicago to launch their new book, The Ecological Engineer: Volume 2, published by Ecotone. This book will not only be available in hard copy, but is being offered as one of the first design-related books available on iPad.
  • The wind farm on I-65 between Indianapolis and Chicago is now enormous and stretches for miles. According to a quick Google search, the first two phases of the project, built by Horizon Wind Energy contain 187 wind turbines that produce up to 298 megawatts of electricity.
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