Green Week a Smashing Success
The U.S. Green Building Council's inaugural International Green Building Conference is being hailed as a success "beyond expectations." More than 3,200 people traveled to Austin, Texas, Nov. 11-15 to attend the event. "We had to turn people away during registration," says Jerry Yudelson of USGBC's conference steering committee.
The U.S. Green Building Council’s inaugural International Green Building Conference is being hailed as a success “beyond expectations.”
More than 3,200 people traveled to Austin, Texas, Nov. 11-15 to attend the event.
“We had to turn people away during registration,” says Jerry Yudelson of USGBC’s conference steering committee.
And next year’s event in Pittsburgh promises to be even bigger. “We had 200 exhibitors in Austin, we’re planning on 350 for Pittsburgh, and we’ve already got 200 booked.”
A highlight of the conference involved a session featuring Art Gensler, chairman and founder of Gensler Architecture, San Francisco, and Paul Morrell, senior partner with Davis Langdon & Everest Construction Cost and Project Management, London. The pair discussed the need for creating green buildings that meet both the objectives and limitations inherent in today’s business world.
Gensler, a member of USGBC’s Core and Shell Product Committee, lauded USGBC’s efforts as a whole, but noted the organization must adjust its marketing strategy in order to get green building mainstreamed more quickly.
“USGBC’s marketing thrust is that sustainable design should be done for social reasons. It’s a good motive. Unfortunately, to have the impact they want, they are going to have to change to a performance-based reason for doing it,” says Gensler. “Green is good business.”
Gensler isn’t the only one voicing this concern. Christine Ervin, USGBC president and CEO, says that according to surveys, the No. 1 issue for members is their need for help in making the case that sustainable design makes good business sense.
Toward this end, she announced at the conference that the council has published a new brochure to help members market their case. Specifically, “Making the Business Case for High Performance Green Buildings” includes 10 reasons why going green is good for the bottom line:
In the event that up-front costs are higher for high-performance green buildings, they can be recovered.
Integrated design lowers ongoing operating costs.
Better buildings equate to better employee productivity.
New green technologies enhance health and well-being.
Healthier buildings reduce liability.
Tenants’ costs can be significantly reduced, creating value.
Green design can increase property value.
A number of financial incentive programs are available to offset costs.
The community benefits.
Using best practices yields more predictable results.
On a final note, USGBC reports the energy emissions incurred by conference attendees, be it from travel, power for the show or even food preparation, were partially offset by voluntary emission reductions from six manufacturers and power producers, including Phillips Lighting and Johnson Controls.
The event reductions were certified through the not-for-profit Leonardo Academy’s Cleaner and Greener program. “The emission reduction donors should be commended,” says Michael Arny, the group’s president. “It also demonstrates USGBC’s dedication to sustainability.”
The group is accepting further donations to help offset the event. Visit www.cleanerandgreener.org/certification/USGBC2002.htm to participate.
For more information on the conference, including session papers, visit www.usgbc.org/expo/schedule .