The Lorax Partnerships team at Greenbuild

This post is a compilation of the highlights from the just completed Greenbuild International Conference and Expo that took place last week in Chicago. Possibly more accurately stated, this is a report on the state of the LEED green building rating system.

The state of LEED is strong.

It is a given that each year Greenbuild is “the” target rich environment for networking with others across the environmental industrial complex and for learning about what is new from the U.S. Green Building Council. But this year it was much more than just that.

Last week Greenbuild was like drinking from a fire hose, being inundated with enormous amounts of information about all that is going on with green building.

Even before the conference started, on the preceding Thursday came the biggest announcement of Greenbuild, the new 2018 International Green Construction Code was finally being unveiled by the coterie of trade group authors and available from the ICC to the public. I will write more about the 2018 IgCC in this blog next week.

Last Monday saw a host of education sessions and tours, including the launch and a learning session for RELi 2.0, a GBCI rating system that provides strategies and tools for resilient building and design. RELi is going to be a big deal.

Monday also saw the announcement that Parksmart Reaches 100 Registered Projects . The 100th project to register under this GBCI program was St. Armands parking garage in Sarasota, Florida.

A white paper was released on Monday by USGBC and the Center for Green Schools about the sorry state of lead testing of drinking water in schools. While the paper on this critical issue of the day is very good, it may not go far enough for some on the subject I have previously posted about, Is There Lead in the Drinking Water of Your Green School?

Tuesday was largely set aside for educational summits and the WaterBuild Summit articulating that access to safe drinking water is a fundamental human right, may have been the most consequential, focusing on innovative approaches to improving water quality.

Wednesday was the Greenbuild Opening Plenary featuring Amal Clooney, the international lawyer and human rights activist who of course is married to George. Her motivational talk was about the impact that one person can have.

Later that day USGBC launched LEED Zero, a new program, that was the subject of an earlier blog post, addressing net zero building.

There were hundreds of vendors and dozens of classes on the Expo floor, and among the most enlightening was the National Asphalt Pavement Association booth offering a series of documents outlining how asphalt pavements can help owners earn credits under green construction rating systems, including Asphalt Pavements & LEED v4.

On Thursday USGBC made what may have been its second biggest announcement of Greenbuild that it will begin offering LEED “recertification” for all LEED certified projects. Details will be forthcoming, but to be eligible for recertification projects will submit 12 months of data demonstrating continued or improved performance. Once recertified, projects will meet the standards of the newest version of the LEED rating system available and recertification will be valid for 3 years.

Also on Thursday USGBC and the Health Product Declaration Collaborative unveiled a plan to expand their collective efforts to accelerate the development and use of HPDs. Even as builders and architects strive to understand the environmental impact of materials, material ingredient reporting and product transparency are on the rise. I will write more about HPDs on this blog in the coming days.

Thursday also saw the USGBC announcement that the STAR Community Rating System, which offers certification for sustainable communities, will be integrated into USGBC’s LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities programs.

And on Thursday Microsoft’s one week Hackathon event was awarded Gold under the new TRUE (Total Resource Use and Efficiency) certification system for events, as part of a pilot administered by GBCI.

That night the Greenbuild Celebration at the Field Museum was headlined by blues legend Buddy Guy. And the After-Party at Chicago’s House of Blues was not only this Greenbuild’s biggest and best after party, but brought back memories of the last time Greenbuild was in Chicago.

On Friday, Greenbuild wrapped with a Closing Plenary after a successful week of far more than could be reported here. In 2019, from November 20 thru 22, Greenbuild will be in Atlanta. I will be there with friends from Lorax Partnerships, in the photo above taken last week, and with thousands of other people who agree that voluntary green building is good stewardship of our planet and good for business.