Greenbuild Recap: Impressions, Insights and Takeaways on Sustainable Architecture’s Largest Green Building Conference

“This is always a wonderful time to meet up with old friends and colleagues, and because of this, it’s a fabulous networking opportunity.” That’s what SGA Design Group’s Director of Sustainability Kim Limbaugh said about this year’s GreenBuild International Conference and Expo in Chicago, an annual event that attracts professionals from around the globe who are dedicated to sustainable building.

The first major announcement at 2018’s conference was the new partnership between the U.S. Green Building Council® (USGBC) and the BRE Group® (BRE), an initiative designed to combine the expertise of both organizations. This is a milestone collaboration since the USGBC’s LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and BREEAM® are the two most widely used green building programs in the world today.

The second important announcement came when the USGBC introduced a new LEED Zero certification, an accreditation for buildings and spaces operating with net zero carbon emissions, energy use, water use and/or waste.

The third significant announcement was that the Star Community Rating System will be fully integrated into USGBC’s LEED for Cities and Communities Programs. All cities and communities that have achieved or are seeking STAR certification will transfer into the family of LEED for Cities and Communities.

Other news emerged at the conference, as well:

  • Chicago, Greenbuild’s host city, achieved LEED for Cities Platinum Certification.
  • USGBC released LEED green building certification standards for new transit stations.
  • USGBC announced that all LEED Certified green buildings are eligible for LEED recertification under the current version of the LEED rating system, utilizing the Arc platform.
  • USGBC is celebrating 25 years of leadership and innovation as an organization.

Limbaugh said, “In my experience, the key topics this year were water reuse, resilience, biomimicry, and wellness.” She continued, “The opening and closing plenary speakers — human rights lawyer and humanitarian Amal Clooney, and San Juan, Puerto Rico Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz were especially inspiring, and the educational sessions were particularly interesting and interactive this year.”

2019’s Greenbuild will take place in November in Atlanta, Georgia. We look forward to not only attending next year’s event but also reconnecting with old friends and colleagues in a new place.