By Derek Newberry, Advocacy Fellow
Here's a re-post of an article from USGBC National–check out the original article here.
Published on 23 Nov 2015 | Written by Fleming Roberts
Greenbuild came home this year! Welcoming our industry to Washington, D.C., where USGBC is headquartered, made it a show like no other we’ve seen.
“Monumental Green” was the official theme, but USGBC CEO Rick Fedrizzi introduced the unofficial theme during his presentation at the opening plenary: “There is work to be done, so we do it.” This sentiment was carried throughout the show, which was packed with people attending education sessions, sharing best practices across fields and planning for the future of the green building movement.
Three summits kicked off the week on Tuesday. The Materials and Human Health Summit covered topics such as supply chain optimization, innovative materials and market transformation. At the Communities and Affordable Housing Summit, sustainability and community leaders came together to discuss successful neighborhood-driven programs, meaningful investment strategies and how to keep inclusivity and equality as part of the conversation. During the sold-out International Summit, speakers from around the world covered topics such as mass urbanization, growing populations and smart city planning. The rooms were full of brainpower being applied to the most pressing problems in our movement. The work was being done. Deepak Chopra wrapped the day up with an inspirational talk at a special closing plenary for all summit attendees.
On Wednesday, the opening plenary featured an open and honest discussion between Mika Brzezinski, Co-Host of MSNBC's “Morning Joe,” and Academy Award–winning Director James Cameron, director of films such as Avatar and Titanic. They discussed the stark realities of climate change, the most impactful ways to mitigate it and even the sustainability motivations behind Cameron’s vegan diet. Rick Fedrizzi set the electric tone for the rest of the conference. He highlighted the changes taking place around USGBC, including verbally and physically embracing his upcoming successor as CEO of USGBC and GBCI, current Chief Operating Officer Mahesh Ramanujam.
Later that morning, the ribbon was cut, and attendees flooded the expo hall floor, where more than 600 exhibitors showed off the latest and greatest in building technologies and innovations. Later in the day, leadership workshops and sold-out education sessions took place all around the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
On Thursday, the Women in Green Power Breakfast opened its doors bright and early at 6:30 a.m., and more than 500 women packed the room for the sold-out event. Senior Vice President of Knowledge Rachel Gutter led the forward-thinking program, and issued a challenge to the women of the room to commit to mentorship. USGBC unveiled the successful pilot of its Bringing Up Girls Program, a collaboration with the Girl Scouts Council of the Nation’s Capital, and recognized the girls who took part in the initiative. Many women said this breakfast was their favorite part of Greenbuild this year.
It's impossible to describe all of the different speakers and events that took place over the course of Greenbuild 2015, from the exciting presentation by USGBC's COO Ramanujam and Chief Product Officer Scot Horst about what’s coming for USGBC and GBCI, to Master Speaker Elizabeth Kolbert, a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author whose series on global warming, “The Climate of Man,” won the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s magazine award. There was something for everyone.
The Greenbuild celebration was held at a truly monumental location—the Newseum. Fitz and the Tantrums brought the house down!
Friday arrived in a flash, and conference attendees reflected on how quickly the week had passed. USGBC President Roger Platt began the closing plenary with his personal reflections on the week and a moment of silence for the events in Paris and in Mali. An insightful panel conversation took place, moderated by Kevin Klose, President Emeritus of NPR, about values-based business decision making, with representatives of companies including Starbucks, United Technologies Corporation, Kohler Co. and Vasakronan AB. Joe Romm, Senior Fellow at American Progress and overseer of ClimateProgress.org, presented on the climate change crisis. Rick Fedrizzi took the stage once again to thank attendees, and brought all USGBC staff on stage for a #USGBCfamily photo.
Finally, Kimberly Lewis, Senior Vice President, Community Advancement, Conferences and Events at USGBC, closed the show by looking West—because we’re already planning for next year’s Greenbuild in sunny Los Angeles, California! The theme is “Iconic Green,” and we hope to see you there.