2019 Greenerbuilder Austin Recap

Recently, Kim Limbaugh, SGA’s Director of Sustainability and Chair for USGBC® Market Leadership Advisory Board for the Oklahoma Community attended Greenerbuilder, a one day conference in Austin, TX. Greenerbuilder Austin was the first annual conference for USGBC’s south central region uniting architects, engineers, contractors, owners, educators, and designers who concentrate on creating a more sustainable, greener future for all. The conference focused on addressing key topics and issues facing local and regional communities while providing education and inspiration for green building professionals and advocates.

“Greenerbuilder Austin began with a Women in Green Leadership Breakfast, which I especially enjoyed,” said Kim Limbaugh. “This is the 4th ‘Women in Green’ event that I have attended. Themed around ‘A Culture of Courage,’ the focus was on education, empowerment, empathy, and a celebration of the important voice that women bring to society and sustainability. A few of the ideas from the conference that resonated with me were: you can get a lot done if you don’t care who gets the credit…or the blame; we track our steps and our gas mileage, so why not our building performance; and decreasing absenteeism and increasing presenteeism.”

After the conference, they held a half-day workshop on LEED v4.1. The workshop, led by Kenneth Simpson, Director of Certification, Energy/HVAC at Green Business Certification, Inc., covered LEED v4.1 BD+C and ID+C credits including the addition of a greenhouse gas emissions metric and updated thresholds. The workshop also touched on the full life cycle of the building and recertification options available to projects.

Overall, the three biggest takeaways were:

  • The new LEED v4.1 is scaled back in stringency but is still above code and encourages participation.
  • While the early LEED rating systems were heavy on the process and light on the outcome, they have now evolved to become light on the process and heavy on the outcome. It’s more about the building’s performance than just chasing credit points.
  • People were excited and showed support for the ‘AIA Resolution for Urgent and Sustained Climate Action,’ approved by a vote of 4,860 for and 312 against at the AIA 2019 Conference on Architecture business meeting in Las Vegas on June 5th. The resolution pushes for the acceleration of efforts to reduce carbon emissions and calls for a transformation in day-to-day practice so that architects can achieve a more resilient built environment.

The first annual Greenerbuilder Austin was an excellent conference, filled with knowledgeable panelists and speakers, and the LEED v4.1 Workshop helped to clarify and make the newest LEED v4 rating system much more accessible. It’s always great to network with other LEED professionals in our region, and we look forward to attending the next USGBC southern-regional conference.