Greenbuild’s 2015 International Summit: Connecting for positive change

GRB15_Summit_logos2Nicolette Mueller

“Today, we are more connected than ever, better informed than ever, and have better tools than ever.  The recipes for positive change are on the table; the ingredients for success are in our hands.”

-Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, 70th Session of the UN General Assembly

At the Greenbuild International Summit, representatives from over 80 nations come together because we see our world as one world.  We see our challenges as common among our countries and communities.  And we see our ideas as valuable, applicable, replicable and worth sharing.  This year, the International Summit is the place where we connect the dots between climate change, finance, policy, industry, resource security, practice and innovation.

The International Summit brings five global issues to the table:


* Water

* Finance

* Energy

* Equity

These are the global, regional and local challenges that we face as a green building community.  This year Greenbuild brings visionaries, leaders and changemakers from around the world to speak to these issues and share ideas and best practice.  The attendees from the 80+ countries who are coming to the Summit represent policy makers, practitioners, manufactures, and financiers.  No matter what your background, the International Summit is the place to find the common thread that links our issues, our solutions and our work.

Here are some of the highlights and headlines from the International Summit:

China Development Bank – one of the most powerful banks in the world is backing sustainability and encouraging integrated design and design making.  The China Development Bank is the largest funder of real estate development in a country in the midst of the urbanization at an incredible pace and scale.  Learn how they are applying principles of sustainability to their investments and working to increase the capacity of builders and industry to delivery high performance, green buildings.

E.ON is a German-based utility currently taking major steps to generate and distribute renewable energy. In a world where buildings aim for net-zero energy, customers ask for energy that is both renewable and reliable, and the relationship between the customer and the utility is evolving, innovation and major change is on the horizon. Hear from private and public sector leaders about the challenges and new approaches to generating and managing energy in a rapidly changing environment.

Mexico’s mega city capital is becoming a mecca for alternative transportation.   Tanja Muller Garcia, Minister of the Environment for Mexico City will discuss how her megacity is working to promote sustainable public and alternative transportation, and transit-oriented growth.  From popular bike share programs, to buses, trains, to walkable communities, Mexico City is transforming. This is big news for developers of residential, commercial and retail space in this thriving city.

Claim your seat today for the International Summit.  We have the tools, the recipes and the resources.  What we need, is you.



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Greening DC’s Restaurants for Greenbuild

Sustainable DiningEach year, the Greenbuild Greening Subcommittee’s mission is to ensure that Greenbuild creates lasting change in its host cities. For this year’s Greenbuild in DC, the Greening Subcommittee chose to focus on restaurants. We’ve got a 3-part approach: offer solutions to restaurants’ sustainability challenges, recognize restaurants that implement green practices, and connect Greenbuild attendees with nearby eateries and watering holes that share their environmental commitment.

Our first step was to reach out to nearly 100 restaurants located near the DC Convention Center. At each stop, we educated the restaurant owners and managers about Greenbuild, asked about their sustainability practices and challenges, and invited them to opt-in to our resource-sharing program. It took some pretty dedicated volunteers to sign up to survey restaurants on hot June and July days!

Our fact-finding expedition revealed some interesting – and unexpected – feedback. One of the areas where we thought restaurants would need a lot of help was in phasing out Styrofoam take-out containers, in advance of a DC-wide ban going into effect in January 2016. Surprise! Most of the businesses we surveyed had already given Styrofoam the boot. Rather, we learned, one of the main challenges the restaurants faced was finding a reliable organization to haul away food waste for compost. Many of the restaurateurs were interested in learning how to advocate to the DC government to make compost pickup a municipal service!

Stay tuned to the blog for profiles of some of DC’s greenest restaurants, courtesy of the Greening Committee! Also coming soon is a list of restaurants that have agreed to be part of our program and have shown improvement through implementing sustainable practices.


Greenbuild Greening Sub-Committee Co-Chairs

Allison Porter, LEED AP, Vice President, Sustainability Services, Cushman & Wakefield

Takehiro Nakamura, LEED AP BD+C, Associate, Perkins Eastman

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MADE at TalentFX: How Greenbuild jump-started my career

by Tiffany Pupa

This is the entrance to Hall A at tne New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on January 30, 2013. Copyright Kathy Anderson Photography
This is the entrance to Hall A at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on January 30, 2013. Copyright Kathy Anderson Photography

TalentFX is returning to Greenbuild 2015 taking place in Washington, DC. This cutting edge program features a direct line to master speakers in an intimate setting, offers amazing opportunities to connect with your peers and leaders in the greenbuilding industry, and access to invaluable career advice! We could brag about how awesome TalentFX 2015 is going to be all day long, but why take our word for it? Below, Tiffany Pupa, a past TalentFX and Greenbuild attendee, shares her story on how her experience changed her life for the better.

TalentFX at Greenbuild in New Orleans, 2014 was so impactful it altered my career path. Initially attracted to the idea of getting out of the Michigan weather, heading south, & eating beignets on Bourbon Street, I found networking with the professionals & hearing panels discussions on sustainability exciting & magnetic.

Benefits of attending Greenbuild as a student are many and varied. You will be exposed to current industry information and green building trends. I was most impacted and inspired by the information about designing and building  biophilic cities. I had read about biophilia, our innate affinity for natural environments, in my textbooks, but I was unaware of the range of applications. Hearing the professional discussion on the topic got me hooked. I have since incorporated biophilic design into my academic research at the university level.

As valuable the presentations are, the most impactful experience at Greenbuild is being amongst the leaders of the green movement at TalentFX. There is a special energy created when people from across the globe who share the same passion assemble. Having the opportunity to meet and share ideas with these individuals in an open forum has not only broadened my network, but has given me confidence in my career decisions. It is evident how meaningful our work is. TalentFX at Greenbuild is the perfect platform for igniting a sense of curiosity that will take you to greater levels in your future career.

Get on the list for TalentFX announcements and updates here.

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Session Spotlight: Creating Living, Regenerative Environments

lenses-circleGreen building and sustainable development are doing more to shift away from a “less bad” approach toward a wholly positive, benefit creation approach, or regeneration.. B04: Creating Living, Regenerative Environments explains how LENSES (Living Environments in Natural, Social, and Economic Systems) is designed to support projects seeking positive change.

Brian Dunbar, session presenter, says “This topic is so important because leaders in the green building and sustainable development fields must discover ways to repair, restore, and regenerate our environment, our cultures, and our economies for the health of our living planet.” The session will highlight information gathered through the Institute for the Built Environment’s research and development efforts since 2007. Their LENSES Framework has been recognized and published widely since 2010.

But where does LENSES fit in? LENSES is a tool that brings together holistic, outside-the-box brainstorming facilitating regenerative solutions quickly. It dovetails perfectly with USGBC/Greenbuild/LEED toward embracing living environments that celebrate happier people, a healthier planet, and financial abundance.

Annette Stelmack, Greenbuild Program Working Group member, says “LENSES facilitates whole systems thinking, inspires creativity, and develops team capacity to go beyond doing less bad to creating abundance.” So what makes this session the one to attend? Stelmack says that this session will offer a unique, fresh approach and content with dynamic presenters. “It will be inspirational, informative and fun!”

Josie Plaut, session presenter and one of the founding developers of the LENSES Framework wants people to attend this to “break out of the checklist mindset and discover a process-based approach to cultivate the will and understanding for regenerative projects.” Plaut states “It’s time to move beyond being less bad to creating health and vitality within ourselves, our communities, and our world.”

When asked about the importance on this topic, Stacey McMahan, session presenter provided “While USGBC and LEED has led a paradigm shift toward healthier and more resource-efficient materials, systems and buildings, the process is still degenerative. Thinkers and designers need to find proficiency in creating environments that are ultimately well-rounded givers instead of takers.”

Max Zahniser, presenter, says the session will provide an opportunity “to explore another critical dimension to sustainability and green building that holds the key to our overall success in cultivating a sustainable future. As well as the nature of that new dimension and processes unlock real potential.”

Stelmack concludes by saying “It’s all about embracing living environments that celebrates happier people, a healthier planet, and financial abundance.”


B04 Presenters:

Brian Dunbar

Executive Director at Institute for the Built Environment

Fort Collins, Colorado

Max Zahniser

Founder & CEO / Founder & ED at Praxis / Sustainability Nexus

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Josie Plaut

Executive Director at CLEAR

Fort Collins, Colorado

Stacey McMahan

Sr Architect/Principal at Koch Hazard Architects

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Annette Stelmack

Principal Design Cosultant, Inspirit – LLC

Lousville, Colorado


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Volunteer Registration is Open! Sign Up Now and Attend Greenbuild 2015 for Free!

_DSC0915Washington, DC prides itself on being a city of accessibility.  What it says on your paycheck doesn’t prevent you from viewing the over 200 year old document that made America possible. And you can sit at the feet of an icon and watch history being made before your eyes morning, noon, or night; all for free!


Access to education and inspiring people and places, for people of all income levels, is a core value of the Greenbuild Conference & Expo, just as it is for our nation’s capital. This is why we are pleased to announce the launch of volunteer registration (hyperlink pending it going live).


If you’re a minimum of 18 years of age and full time student OR a young professional age 25 and under you can volunteer at Greenbuild and receive a FREE full conference pass to all areas of education. Eight hours of service are required but these can be performed non-consecutively, and participants are allowed to attend education sessions before all of their volunteer hours are completed. Volunteers are accepted on a rolling, first come, and first serve basis. For more information please visit the Greenbuild Volunteer Page. *


Take advantage of this wonderful opportunity and sign up (hyperlink pending it going live) for your volunteer shifts now!


To learn more about other Greenbuild scholarship opportunities visit our scholarship webpage.


*A fall 2015 schedule and/or a photo ID is required to confirm eligibility upon check-in

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Women in Green Power Breakfast Scholarship

by Liz Kindelan

14-1154-0_2600The Women in Green Scholarship is now open! Apply today to join the conversation examining current barriers and challenges standing in the way of meaningful mentorships. Applications close on Wednesday, October 7. Notifications of acceptance will go out by Friday, October 15. Below, Liz Kindelan, a previous Women in Green Scholarship winner, gives you an insider’s look on why you should apply.

In August 2014, I sat at my desk in a sea of cubicles refreshing my e-mail five times a minute in anticipation of the Greenbuild Scholarship awards. I had applied a few weeks earlier and I could hardly stand the waiting process. I remember sitting in my sorority house in 2013 live streaming Hillary Clinton’s speech at the opening plenary in Pittsburgh. I was supposed to be going to a social function, but no one could pull me away. I swore to myself during her speech that if I had to walk to New Orleans, I would make it to Greenbuild in 2014. To my pleasant surprise, I was in fact awarded a full ride scholarship.

As I started filling out my acceptance survey, booking my flight and hotel, I stumbled upon the Women in Green Power breakfast. As a young woman in the construction industry, it seemed like a no brainer that I wanted to attend this event, so I applied for a scholarship through USGBC that made it possible.

Walking into the conference hall on Thursday morning of Greenbuild, I was beyond excited for the Women in Green Power Breakfast. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was blown away by the experience. The combination of intimate table conversations and large scale panel discussion left me in awe of the incredible women I was surrounded by. I received encouraging words from young women who were just starting out as well as seasoned veterans with a plethora of advice. Having the chance to hear women from all walks of life discuss their challenges and successes in their respective industry really rounded out my Greenbuild experience. I can’t express enough how thankful I am that I was given the opportunity to participate in this event. In fact, it was the first event I signed up for at Greenbuild 2015.

Just a few weeks after attending Greenbuild 2014, I graduated from Purdue University and took a job the construction industry. I had been volunteering with USGBC Students for a few years at this point and started the chapter at Purdue where we planned the 2nd Regional Midwestern Conference.  After graduation, I became more involved in Emerging Professionals and I currently serve as a National ADVANCE Ambassador for the South Central Region, the Indiana Regional Chair for USGBC Students, and I work with the Conference and Events Advisory group 2 to help with student conferences. I have been granted a multitude of opportunities with USGBC and I have met so many inspiring people that have helped shape my sustainable career.  I currently work as a Project Engineer for Barton Malow in northern Indiana. I have been getting my toes wet with LEED tracking, but I would like to get deeper into LEED Consulting in the future.

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Session Spotlight: Green Renovation – Green Research

Session Spotlight: Green Apple – Green Renovation – Green Research

Erik Ring, Principal / Director of Engineering at LPA, Inc. Irvine, California

For the 2012 Green Apple Day of Service, volunteers with the USGBC Orange County chapter provided a renovation of a 4th grade public school classroom at Davis Magnet School in Costa Mesa, California.  The renovation included new daylighting and electric lighting systems, new displacement ventilation HVAC systems, and all new green finishes.  The team also installed energy monitors as well as CO2 and temperature sensors in both the renovated classroom and an adjacent (control) classroom that was not renovated. Since 2012 the team has been evaluating the data and discussing the success of the renovation with teachers and staff at the school.  Session A10: Green Apple – Green Renovation – Green Research will highlight some of the surprises and interesting findings from this on-gong project.


Erik Ring, a presenter for Greenbuild session, has strong interest in this topic because “design of high performance and green K12 school facilities is a key market for my company, LPA, an integrated design firm with offices in California and Texas.  For 8 years I have lead LPA’s MEP engineering team, working closely with architects, interior designers, landscape architects, and other engineers to optimize the performance of new and renovated school projects.”  Ring is a member of the LEED Indoor Environmental Quality Technical Advisory Group (TAG) and a former member of the Energy and Atmosphere TAG; he is continuously in search of design approaches that balance and optimize energy efficiency and indoor quality.


Dustin Davis, AIA, LEED AP Project Architect/Sustainability Coordinator/Associate, Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects
Dustin Davis, AIA, LEED AP
Project Architect/Sustainability Coordinator/Associate, Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects

According to Greenbuild Program Working Group member Dustin Davis, “No matter where we work and live, schools are a big part of our communities.  We have all spent time in a school for one reason or another and I think it should be the first place we try to make more sustainable.” Davis says that the side-by-side comparison data collected from this project makes this particular session even more interesting. “Attendees will be able to see an apples to apples comparison between an existing classroom and one updated with LEED features.”


Ring says that there is not nearly enough information available about how school classrooms perform in terms of energy and indoor quality. “As a school facility designer, I am constantly seeking any research and information that will help me to design better schools. Our session focuses on a small project and three years’ worth of energy and IEQ data.”


When you attend this session you will be shown a powerful example of volunteerism within the USGBC community.  With the Davis Magnet School green classroom renovation, USGBC-OC volunteers impacted change in one classroom in one school within a community, but with broader ripple impacts to the larger green building community.


A10 Presenters:

Wendy Rogers

Principal at LPA, Inc.

Irvine, California


Erik Ring

Principal / Director of Engineering at LPA, Inc.

Irvine, California

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Traveling from abroad to Greenbuild?  Make the most of your time in DC by joining a delegation

GloballyNicolette Mueller


The green building community is growing bigger, stronger, and more global each year.  Thanks to the leadership of our sister green building councils, member organizations, industry leaders, policy makers, and sustainability champions, green building has become a global movement.


The green building community and LEED share some impressive global statistics:

  • Over 200,500 LEED professionals around the world
  • LEED is used in over 150 countries
  • The 2015 Greenbuild Conference & Expo has attracted attendees from over 70 countries to date
  • 43% of gross square footage of space pursuing LEED certification is outside the USA
  • The World GBC community now has over 105 councils and prospective groups championing industry-led market transformation


The Greenbuild International Conference & Expo is our biggest and best chance all year to connect in person.  But with the show predicted to bring in over 25,000 attendees and 600 exhibiting companies to Washington, DC, it can feel like a very, very big world.


International delegations make it possible for professionals and practitioners from around the world to make the most of the Greenbuild experience.  Delegations of 15 or more attendees can take advantage of special member rates, a meeting room, and the ability to connect with USGBC staff and other delegations.  Best of all, you can stay connected to other professionals from your country or region, and together bring the best of Greenbuild home with you.


Many of our sister green building councils are organizing delegations, and attendees can apply to be a part of the delegation even if you have already registered for the conference. Reach out to your national council today.  You can participate as a delegate by purchasing a pass to any one of the following events: International Summit, the Greenbuild Expo, or a full Conference Pass.  The deadline for delegations is October 5.


For more information about the Greenbuild delegation program, visit

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Sustainability at Greenbuild

sustainable-homeEach year at Greenbuild, we raise the bar on our sustainability efforts. We are 4-time winners of the IMEX Green Meetings Award and last year the USGBC Conference and Events team earned certification under ISO 20121: 2012, a new standard signifying excellence in sustainable event planning and management.

Our Greenbuild sustainability efforts are based around the following seven objectives:

  • Move toward a zero waste event
  • Increase stakeholder education and engagement
  • Improve sustainable sourcing
  • Improve performance tracking
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Positively impact communities
  • Catalyze the advancement of green building initiatives and sustainable operations within the hospitality industry

In 2014, we partnered with the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (MCCNO) to take their waste diversion rate from a baseline of 11% to 78% during the week of Greenbuild. This 67% increase was made possible through the work of the dedicated team at MCCNO, the hand-sorting of waste in back of house areas, and key partners including Freeman and Compost Network. Check out the full 2014 Greenbuild Sustainability Report here.


Planning is already underway for Greenbuild 2015 in Washington, DC. Here are a few key focus areas for us this year:

  • For several years, we have been searching for a tabletop covering material that does not contain vinyl. Through our partnership with Freeman, we tested a new vinyl-free material at the 2014 show and plan to use this new material in 2015.
  • The Greenbuild Legacy Project is an urban food studio at the Capital Area Food Bank, designed to be a hands-on food growing and teaching experience for the community.
  • Greenbuild offers a variety of volunteer and scholarship programs to bring new and emerging audiences into the sustainability conversation.
  • Greenbuild implements an exhibitor donation program that collects leftover materials from exhibitors and brings these resources to local non-profit organizations.


We hope to see you at Greenbuild 2015 in Washington, DC!

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MADE at TalentFX: How Greenbuild jump-started my career

NMakhijaniby Nishant Makhijani

TalentFX is returning to Greenbuild 2015 taking place in Washington, DC. This cutting edge program features a direct line to master speakers in an intimate setting, offers amazing opportunities to connect with your peers and leaders in the greenbuilding industry, and access to invaluable career advice! We could brag about how awesome TalentFX 2015 is going to be all day long, but why take our word for it? Below, Nishant Makhijani, a past TalentFX and Greenbuild attendee, shares his story on how his experience changed his life for the better.

It was October 2012, and I still remember the hectic traveling I had to go through to make it to the Moscone Center in San Francisco for my first ever Greenbuild International Conference and Expo.

The USGBC Students group at University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (UIUC) had successfully executed the Green Fun Fair at the Jefferson Middle School in Champaign, IL as part of the Green Apple Bus Tour. I had missed the opportunity to participate in the bus tour to take a midterm but luckily I was able make it to San Francisco in time to meet my fellow Greenbuild Scholarship winners.

When I arrived, I was surrounded by a group of young, motivated students, emerging professionals and industry leaders who wanted to make an impact in the world through the Green Schools movement. As a scholarship winner, I had the chance to experience Greenbuild through a different lens. In addition to the amazing Greenbuild programming, scholarship winners attended special sessions with keynote speakers and LEED Fellows that helped us all get a better understanding of what it means to be a member of the USGBC family. It gave us the opportunity to meet and interact with change makers who were transforming their communities through sustainable practices and fighting the fight to create positive social change.

I often think of how LEED Fellow Holley Henderson’s session on networking and job search transformed my take on meeting new people and utilizing relationships for good. I made a great connection with Holley after her session and there has been no looking back. She quickly became a mentor for me and has advised mentored me with my career search and is one of my closest allies in the USGBC family. Master Speaker Kevin Caroll, an author and agent for social change also met with us before his talk. Kevin inspires businesses, organizations and individuals to embrace their spirit of play and creativity to maximize human potential and sustain more meaningful business and personal growth. Kevin, like most master series speakers, wasn’t affiliated with the green building industry but his story encouraged us all to do our part to create change in the world.

The four day conference was a celebration of what USGBC had achieved since its inception and a reminder that “We Are Right” to demand to live our lives in sustainable and healthy communities. I left San Francisco energized, inspired and excited to make a difference in my community and reconnect with the passionate people I met during the conference.

After being inspired in San Francisco, I attended the inaugural year of TalentFX at the 2013 Greenbuild in Philadelphia where I presented a session with David Gottfried, Co-Founder of USGBC and Stephen Ritz, CEO of Green Bronx Machine. I was representing the USGBC students movement in a discussion about the meaning of being a member of the USGBC Community. Yet again, I connected with another change maker, Stephen, throughout the planning process of the session. I was so inspired by his work in the Bronx that I decided to raise funds for his non-profit through an indiegogo campaign.

As I transitioned out of my USGBC Students experience, I got involved with the Emerging Professionals (EP) community. I met young professionals from around the nation during my subsequent Greenbuild and Convergence (formerly known as Midyear Meeting)  experiences.  These EPs were impacting their communities through their leadership and they became my home away from home. Earlier this year, I decided to take up a leadership role, as a Regional ADVANCE Ambassador to lead on social and environmental justice for Central Illinois.

Looking back, going to Greenbuild every year was one of the best decisions I made in my college career. Today, I work as the Sustainability Engagement Specialist at the University of Illinois, and I am still connected to the inspiring individuals from around the nation. Even though I am not a typical green building professional, I am able to create a big impact in my community using the resources and relationships I have cultivated throughout my Greenbuild and TalentFX experiences.

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