I am often asked, “how can I expand my green building business?” And I have offered the same response for more than a decade – attend the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo (.. yes, you will have to talk with people while you are there).
This year Greenbuild is in Atlanta from November 19 thru 22 with some of the best original programming on “disaster prep” (.. more than food prep).
Greenbuild has become much more than only “green building” as sustainability has become woven into the fabric of business, the conference has evolved into the watering hole for leaders across the entire environmental industrial complex.
I do not claim any particular knowledge or skill in business marketing. But Greenbuild has been a prime source of new clients for my environmental law practice focusing on sustainability and green building law practice (.. okay, this blog is actually our number one source of new clients, but Greenbuild is second)!
I have attended a lot of Greenbuilds. Actually my first U.S. Green Building Council “Green Building Conference” (.. yes, pre Greenbuild) held in conjunction with the National Institute of Standards in Gaithersburg, Maryland in 1994 had only 450 people in attendance. While attendance in recent years is off a bit from the huge Greenbuild the first time the conference was in Boston in 2008, with 27,995 attendees (.. that was a party!), last year the 15,373 attendees in Chicago dwarfed the first Greenbuild in 2002 when a mere 4,189 people gathered in Austin.
Those 15,373 attendees last year were from 91 countries, despite the internationalization of LEED and several worldwide Greenbuild expos across the globe.
Greenbuild attracts all types of wild things across the environmental industrial complex; not just owners of green buildings. Last year 35% of those in Chicago were from architecture or engineering firms, 22% were developers or builders, 7% were utilities, and 8% were manufacturers, not to mention the very large numbers of professionals offering services and consulting, including, yes, a respectable assemblage of real estate attorneys.
And Greenbuild is sustainable. My favorite factoid reported by Informa Exhibitions (.. USGBC sold Greenbuild some years ago) is that each participant produced 5.1 lbs. of waste; of which more than 86% was diverted. And if that number does not excite you, Informa tracked and reported the alternative fact that total water footprint of the event was 5,537,275 gallons.
Last year there were 350 exhibitors on the 100,000 square feet Expo Floor. It is all but impossible not to encounter new vendors and innovative suppliers and this year with two happy hour events on the Expo Floor that will be “the place” to connect with colleagues and network with complete strangers. Educational activities abound with more than 200 formal sessions.
Those 2018 demographics are proof that Greenbuild is the largest green building gathering each year and unquestionably the par excellence opportunity for business development among “green people.”
Greenbuild 2019 in Atlanta will be “the” target rich environment for green people this year. It is your chance to not only rub elbows with USGBC CEO Mahesh Ramanujam, the man to know, but also the thousands of others who make a living in the environmental industrial complex.
It is just over 58 days until this once a year excelsior (.. Stan Lee’s battle cry) opportunity to enlarge your green building business.
For those who will complain that this blog post is shameless promotion, that may be true, but it is also correct that Greenbuild has been a prime source of new clients for my environmental law practice for more than a decade! LEED is still ground zero for green building. It has become all but a spiritual movement, with more than 98,000 registered and certified projects participating in LEED across 167 countries and territories. Every day, 2.6 million square feet of building space certifies to LEED. I won’t promise attending will be a quest for self discovery or that you will meet your next spouse among one of the more than 14,000 individual USGBC members, but if you want to benefit from that business volume and be in the room with more sustainable business leaders than will gather any of place or time this year, you need to be at Greenbuild.
As a reader of my blog, if you email me before Greenbuild, I will gladly buy you a cup of coffee or other libation at an Atlanta watering hole. I made a similar offer in past years and had a great time meeting a lot of very fun people for drinks. I hope to see you in Atlanta in November.