Atlanta has been called “a dark horse of sustainability.” A mere three years ago it was selected from among 1,000 submissions to be part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities initiative. In 2018 alone, more than 11 million gross square feet of space achieved LEED certification in the state of Georgia. Now, Atlanta not only has its own strategy for sustainability but has been chosen as the 2019 site for Greenbuild International Conference & Expo 2019.

Atlanta’s  goal of powering the city with 100 percent clean energy by 2035 is ambitious, and the businesses and developers in the city (which is expected to grow from 6M to 8M people by 2040) are up for the challenge. To help that effort along, more than 10K sustainability professionals will be converging in the city this fall at Greenbuild 2019 to share ideas, inspiration, and new solutions.

Here’s what you can expect to find in Atlanta in November:

It Begins at the Airport

More than 103 million people pass through the airport each year. From its own solar production facility to LED runway lights to its Sustainable Food Court Initiative, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport(R) is soaring in its efforts to maintain a more sustainable environment. Among the first international airports to engage in an initiative like this, it uses specialized software to manage utility performance for all its assets.

It was, in fact, the first airport in the world to earn pre-certification under the LEED for Communities program, which tracks energy, water, waste, transportation, and the human experience, including education, prosperity, equability, and health and safety. As we noted in the first part of the series, health (both individual and community) is playing a bigger role in the definition of sustainability — this year and beyond.

Welcome to One of the Greenest Cities in America

Atlanta is now in its fifth year of the Better Buildings Challenge, and is reporting impressive results — both in terms of progress in energy-efficiency and the economic health of its population.

Fast Green Fact: Atlanta is in the top 20 in the Locavore Index for its commitment to healthy food.

The Atlanta Mayor’s office has outlined nine key projects as part of the city’s ongoing sustainability commitment. The Office of Resilience commits that “through action-oriented policies, Atlanta continues to update its city infrastructure to align with these values and become a region that works for its residents, as well as a model for cities globally.”

Atlanta is home to many corporate headquarters. Home Depot, one of Greenbuild’s sponsors, has made a company-wide commitment to sustainability. Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, Invesco, and Newell Rubbermaid have all also been heralded for their commitment to a better planet.

Part of the national Target Cities program, Atlanta’s Eco-District has made a commitment to educating its midtown community about sustainable living practices. These new models of urban development and certification process are intended to “spark a movement of urbanists committed to using a governance and performance framework for district and neighborhood-scale redevelopment.”

Fast Green Fact: Georgia Tech offers a fully-integrated Serve-Learn-Sustain (SLS)  curriculum and the state’s first Master’s program in Sustainability

Touchdown! Football season has begun, which reminds us of “the most sustainable Super Bowl ever.” Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium was the first professional sports stadium in the world to earn LEED Platinum Certification, scoring an impressive 88 points. The Green Sports Alliance declared that this Atlanta-based icon and its practices “brings sustainability to the forefront of sports.“  

Fast Green Fact: Serenbe, an experimental green community outside of Atlanta, has been thriving for more than 15 years and is home to 600 residents

The Event

The organizers of Greenbuild made a firm commitment to “walking the talk” when bringing a conference of this magnitude to a new city. The Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) earned its LEED Gold Certification. This 4 million square foot facility tackled a variety of challenges and has become a model for convention centers nationally. We work closely with the U.S. Green Building Council and its Georgia chapter to engage the local business community in the event, along with national game-changers and leaders.  Last year, 66 percent of event attendees made at least one pledge about their own role in making the Expo itself more sustainable. An impressive 28,000 pledges were made.

Greenbuild organizers set goals for various aspects of conference production — from transportation to and from the convention center, to display production, to the handling of waste and food. Following last year’s event in Chicago, the organizers issued a comprehensive Sustainability Report, measuring every aspect of Greenbuild. Because this annual event is, in effect, its own community, Informa (the organizers) hold themselves to high standards, as if they were a city-within-a-city. The 2018 KPIs will be the stats to beat as we head into 2019.

Atlanta Welcomes You

From a global perspective to local community game-changers, Greenbuild 2019 will give sustainability professionals insights into our industry from a variety of perspectives. You’ll discover why Atlanta is rapidly becoming the epicenter of sustainable innovation in the South.

Greenbuild continues to prioritize sustainability and demonstrate leadership when it comes to greening the conference and events industry. This year’s conference will take place November 20-22 in Atlanta, GA. Registration is now open. Get your tickets here.

George Bandy, Jr. Chief Sustainability Officer, Mohawk Flooring North America, has a passion for the environment that dates back to his early youth. He was inspired by his grandmother, who “taught the discipline of being in touch with nature.”

Bandy’s inquisitiveness prompted him to study and minor in environmental business as an undergrad.

In the 1980s Bandy met Paul Hawken, environmentalist and author. Bandy was so inspired by the meeting, he went on to immerse himself in The Natural Step and ultimately became the first Sustainability Officer at the University of Texas at Houston, during a time when that position was first emerging.

In the years since then, sustainability in the business world has been trying to “earn its justification.” But he sees a massive shift over that time from evaluation of products and measurement of energy saving to environmental impacts on health and wellness — worker productivity, and the health of people inside spaces — not just building methods and materials. “People are looking more closely at the social impacts of sustainability.”

Bandy also believes that customers — both consumer and business-to-business are demanding more from the people they work with and ask different questions. “Their knowledge level is immense,” he says.

“How you treat your employees and how you engage with communities is as important as the products you make.”

Last year, Bandy was the recipient of the prestigious Leadership Award by the U.S. Green Building Council (USCBC). Mohawk continues to make a significant commitment to the health and wellness of its workers and community.

Communication is also a key part of sustainability, believes Bandy. “Evolving an organization to one that is truly committed, you need to learn to speak multiple languages. If you’re selling to a CFO, for example, you need to connect sustainability to long-term cost savings or the stock price.”

Bandy believes that ultimately we need to make sustainability more relevant and personal to consumers, business decision-makers, and employees. “People will learn better, perform better, and help their company thrive if their environments are healthier.”

Don’t miss Bandy speak at Greenbuild International Conference and Expo taking place November 19-22, 2019 in Atlanta Georgia. Learn more and register here.

We are excited to offer our valued Greenbuild social media community a chance to enter to win a free 4-day Greenbuild 2019 conference pass, PLUS a free ticket to Greenbuild Celebration featuring Collective Soul!

Greenbuild is the largest annual event for green building professionals worldwide to learn and source cutting edge solutions to improve resilience, sustainability, and quality of life in our buildings, cities, and communities. It’s where inspiration ignites, relationships cultivate, knowledge transfers and the leaders developing the next generation of standards, policies, and partnerships gather to turn the promise of a higher living standard into a reality for all.

How to Enter:

  • Use hashtag #WhyIGreenbuild in a tweet, Facebook post, Instagram post, or LinkedIn post sharing a 60-second video explaining what green building means to you. For example, share what motivated you to get into the green building or sustainability industry, your mission, or what you hope to see for the future of the industry.
  • Post your video with the hashtag #WhyIGreenbuild. We will watch all of the videos and choose one winner per week leading up to the conference. Winners to announced October 31, 2019 on the Greenbuild social media channels.

Your Prize:

  • 1 4-day Greenbuild International Conference and Expo conference pass and 1 ticket to Greenbuild Celebration! A total value of $1,500.

Contest Rules:

  • The contest is live until Thursday, October 31, 2019.
  • Please mention #WhyIGreenbuild and #Greenbuild19 in your submission. We can only see posts that are tagged!
  • You must follow @Greenbuild on the social media platform that you are posting to in order to be considered.
  • Multiple entries in a single day will not be accepted. Posting duplicate, or near duplicate, updates or links is a violation of the Twitter Rules and jeopardizes search quality.
  • Do not create multiple accounts to post the same submission to the contest more than once. Anyone found to use multiple accounts to enter will be ineligible.
  • You are responsible for any and all travel expenses.
  • Video submissions may be used in Greenbuild marketing.

Watch a short video by our friend Mahesh Ramanujam, CEO of U.S. Greenbuilding Council for some of your own inspiration:

The future of the human race is interlaced with the future of the planet, and the sustainable practices we celebrate and advance at Greenbuild remind us that our success as sustainability advocates, practitioners and professionals is more than a movement, it is a responsibility.

Good luck!

Cheers,

The #Greenbuild19 Team

www.greenbuildexpo.com

As we prepare for Greenbuild International Conference & Expo 2019, we can’t help but reflect on how our industry has changed.

Sustainable building and development has evolved from what was once viewed as a fad to a global imperative, with an impact on health and wellness as well as the economic growth of communities, cities, our country, and ultimately our planet.

Engaging buyers and influencers of green building solutions involves relationship cultivation and trust.

Download our whitepaper to master the strategies behind sustainable design, building, and construction.

Showcasing some of the most impactful success stories from Greenbuild 2018.

ISSUE

Every resource at Greenbuild, including printed materials, carpet, food, and beverage, merchandise, and more is carefully sourced, taking human health, the environment, and the impact on those who made it into consideration.

ACTIONS

  • When it comes to sustainable sourcing, the food and beverage offerings at Greenbuild Chicago had the most significant impact. For the first time in Greenbuild’s history, the International Summit, WaterBuild, the Communities & Affordable Homes Summit, the workshops, and the Women in Green Power Lunch featured plated lunches that were 100% vegan.
  • Every year, Greenbuild looks to the WELL Building Standard for best practices and guidance. This year we took actions inspired by the nourishment standards in the rating system, including limiting processed foods, reducing packaging for meals, and eliminating single use plastics. We removed single-use plastic straws and all plastic water bottles. We replaced plastic straws with compostable straws and plastic bottles with all aluminum bottles and cans of water which are easily recyclable and maintain their value in the recycling markets.

Read the rest of the sustainability stories in the Greenbuild 2018 Sustainability Report here.

Greenbuild continues to prioritize sustainability and demonstrate leadership when it comes to greening the conference and events industry. This year’s conference will take place November 20-22 in Atlanta, GA. Registration is now open. Get your tickets here.

Showcasing some of the most impactful success stories from Greenbuild 2018.

ISSUE

Each year, thousands of green building professionals from across the globe unite to learn,
share, and inspire – with the goal of advancing the green building movement. While we work
diligently to engage our vendors behind the scenes to make the show more sustainable, there
is always an opportunity to create more meaningful engagement with all of our stakeholders.

ACTIONS

• This year Greenbuild partnered with Waste Management to help us engage and train our
amazing volunteers about the waste management process. Through back-of-house tours and
daily training, our volunteers were well versed in “Trash Talk.”

• Before arriving on-site, 66% of attendees pledged to take at least one of the actions in our
pledge options, suggestions for sustainable actions tailored to the host city and the show.
Additionally, thousands of attendees, exhibitors, and Greenbuild participants made their
pledges onsite at our Sustainability Hub.

• In an effort to make our pledges a bit more meaningful, we coordinated with the local host
committee to include

Read the rest of the sustainability stories in the Greenbuild 2018 Sustainability Report here.

Greenbuild continues to prioritize sustainability and demonstrate leadership when it comes to greening the conference and events industry. This year’s conference will take place November 20-22 in Atlanta, GA. Registration is now open. Get your tickets here.

Showcasing some of the most impactful success stories from Greenbuild 2018.

ISSUE

Humans create a staggering amount of waste. Traditionally there have been three ways to dispose of waste: recycle, compost, or send it to landfill. However, waste management markets are evolving. Cities across the U.S. have historically shipped much of their used paper, plastics and other scrap materials to China for processing. As part of a broad anti-pollution campaign, China announced in the summer of 2017 that it no longer wanted to import “foreign garbage.” Since January 1, 2018, China has banned imports of various types of plastic and paper, and tightened standards for materials it does accept, drying up the markets for standard recyclable materials. Now more than ever, we must look at methods to reduce the resources and materials used to produce Greenbuild.

ACTIONS

In 2018, a significant source of waste reduction resulted from a size and quantity reduction of the printed Greenbuild Expo Guide. The size of the guide was reduced from a standard 8.5” x 11” to a 6” x 9” booklet, and attendees were asked to indicate if they wanted a printed guide during registration, significantly reducing overages in printing.

In 2018, Greenbuild registered for a TRUE Zero Waste Certification, after achieving Platinum certification in 2017. To achieve this, the lifecycle of the products and materials used to produce the show and those used by show partners had to be reevaluated. For the second year in a row, Greenbuild achieved TRUE Platinum certification. In order to meet the requirements of the certification, Greenbuild was able to identify our first TRUE Waste Diversion Rate, which differs from a traditional diversion rate in that it factors in reduction and reuse weights. Please see the case study from below for further information.

The TRUE (Total Resource Use and Efficiency) Zero Waste certification system goes far beyond measuring and tracking ways in which waste is reused, recycled, or composted to calculating how waste is diverted from landfill, incineration (WTE) and the environment. TRUE encourages projects to track waste that was avoided in the first place. The rating system recognizes reductions based on waste diversion calculations, provided that the modifications are documented from an established baseline, representing previous operations.

The motto of “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” is familiar to many, but the emphasis has historically been on the latter two, leaving reduction as the oft-forgotten of the three “Rs.” Including reduction as a part of the diversion, calculations encourage projects to identify tactics that eliminate unnecessary waste before it is created. Waste reduction is prioritized in TRUE because it reduces the need to extract virgin resources from the environment in the first place. It also reduces all the other impacts in the supply chain such as transportation and production. Thus, a reduction has the most benefit to the environment over reuse, recycling, and compost.

This year Greenbuild looked to identify our first TRUE Waste Diversion Rate, in which we tracked and then factored in waste reduction and reuse weights.

Read the rest of the sustainability stories in the Greenbuild 2018 Sustainability Report here.

Greenbuild continues to prioritize sustainability and demonstrate leadership when it comes to greening the conference and events industry. This year’s conference will take place November 20-22 in Atlanta, GA. Registration is now open. Get your tickets here.

Illinois Green Alliance, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and the 2018 Greenbuild Conference Host Committee are pleased to announce Project Exploration’s Science Giants program as the recipient of the Greenbuild 2018 Legacy Project grant. Project Exploration is a science education organization dedicated to making science accessible to youth from communities historically underrepresented in the sciences, especially girls and students of color.

Read More →

In honor of Earth Day, we’re taking a look at the seven sustainability objectives of Greenbuild: goals for improving the performance of the show. We believe these objectives address the most relevant event impacts of both Greenbuild and the meetings and events industry.

They are:
1. Move Toward a Zero Waste Event
2. Increase Stakeholder Education and Engagement
3. Improve Sustainable Sourcing
4. Improve Performance Tracking
5. Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
6. Positively Impact Communities
7. Catalyze the Advancement of Green Building Initiatives and Sustainable Operations within the Hospitality Industry

Read the Sustainability Report

In the lead-up to Greenbuild, in whatever city we’re in, we work with the venue and local partners/vendors to ensure the event is as sustainable as possible and meets these objectives. Sustainability is the foundation of Greenbuild. It’s is the only event genuinely dedicated to sustainability in the built environment, from the sessions we present to the products on the show floor to the way the event is produced.

It’s our hope that at the conclusion of Greenbuild, that these practices continue, so that others may benefit.

Each of these objectives corresponds to an action from Greenbuild/ABX 2017. Read more about them in our Sustainability Report.

Read more in our Twitter moment: Read More →

National Volunteer Week is April 15–21, 2018.

Through the help of volunteers, Greenbuild/ABX 2017 was able to achieve a diversion rate 90.5% at the convention center.Powered by Points of Light, National Volunteer Week, is an opportunity to celebrate the impact of volunteer service and the power of volunteers to come together to tackle tough challenges, and build stronger, more resilient communities.

Greenbuild takes this opportunity to thank our wonderful Volunteers, who were critical in helping us reach a waste diversion rate of 90.5% at Greenbuild/ABX 2017 in Boston, Mass.

The USGBC Massachusetts Chapter and Host Committee focused efforts on waste diversion education. The Host Committee helped to create training materials for volunteers regarding proper waste disposal. In turn, the volunteers helped exhibitors and attendees properly dispose of waste. These volunteers were well-versed on not only the event itself, but with local and federal waste guidelines and end of life processing and reuse options for many of the materials that are found at Greenbuild/ABX.

Through the help of waste volunteers, Greenbuild/ABX 2017 was able to achieve a diversion rate 90.5% at the convention center. The highest diversion rate of any Greenbuild and most likely one of the best diversion rates of any large expo in the United States!

This was one of the cool takeaways from the Greenbuild/ABX 2017 Sustainability Report. Read the whole report here.