Greenbuild 2015

The USGBC’s annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Washington, DC wrapped up last Friday and the question I have most been asked about Greenbuild is, “what was the highlight?”

My response, Greenbuild is “the” target rich environment for green building people. The thousands of attendees represent more sustainability and green building business opportunities in a single place than will exist anywhere else on the planet this year. So, the highlight is the people.

Retiring USGBC CEO Rick Fedrizzi did not disappoint in the opening session when he returned to his political rant of years past attacking Republicans in Congress. It sounded to many like a job interview for an ambassadorship in a Hilary Clinton administration. But his data heavy diatribe also found support among real estate industry professionals when he said, “the green building industry has shown the world that sustainability is profitable and that profitability is sustainable.”

Many of the businesses profiting from green had their products on display on the Expo Floor. Arguably, that is where the action was. The Unity Home, a 1,650 square foot demonstration show house proposed to be LEED for Homes v4 Platinum, net zero energy when it is relocated to its permanent home in New Hampshire was very impressive.

Much of what was new was the rollout of GBCI’s “partner” relationships with GRESB, PEER, SITES, and WELL. It is clear that these models of acquisition and in other instances providing certification services represent a significant future growth path for USGBC.

Educational activities abounded. EPDs, including the potential liability arising from EPDs was a hot topic and the session, EPDs: State of the Art and Advancement by Industry, where one of the presenters was be Heather Dylla, Director of Sustainable Engineering for the National Asphalt Pavement Association, drilled down into the risks associated with disclosure.

Arguably among the more important substantive discussions of the conference was when USGBC’s Chief Product Officer Scot Horst and current COO, soon to be CEO, Mahesh Ramanujam took the stage Thursday morning to discuss the future of USGBC and GBCI.

I expect to write future blog posts about the announced expansive use (.. yes, even beyond LEED) of the LEED Dynamic Plaque

The World Green Building Trends 2016 survey by Dodge Data & Analytics, with funding from United Technologies, was released at the conference, reporting “green building continues to double every three years.” The study also found “across all regions studied, respondents increasingly projected that more than 60 percent of their projects would be green projects by 2018.” Building occupant demand was the biggest driver for green building (according to 40% of survey respondents), followed by environmental regulations (35%).

Market transformation and sector growth continue. At the USGBC Annual Meeting we were told that in 2015, for the second year, more than 1.85 million square feet is being LEED certified every day creating business opportunities for you.

And for those who will complain that this blog post is shameless pandering to USGBC, that may be true, but it is also correct that each year, Greenbuild has been the number one source of new clients for my sustainability and green building law practice.

Greenbuild 2016 in Los Angeles will be the target rich environment for green building people next year. I will see you in LA ..