JoAnn Trach Tongson
Associate Principal at Mahan Rykiel Associates

When in an area that is known for crime, drugs and depopulation, how do you stress the importance of ecological efforts to improve that area?

In Baltimore’s highly impervious, economically depressed areas stormwater retrofit was used as a means of ecological enhancement and community building.  A collaborative effort focused on stormwater improvements shows results beyond the federal mandates for pollutant removal indicating increased community satisfaction, public education, and community engagement.

According to Tongson, session presenter for D08: ‘The Wire’ to Watershed: Sparking Change in Baltimore says “Working as a Landscape Architect for over 25 years in designing spaces for people and for environmental enhancements has been tremendous education to then design space for environmental enhancement that serves as spaces for people.  The urban environment is fertile ground for challenging one to do the highest good for the largest audience.”

She says that this session is of great importance to draw attention to the need for community engagement and the need to meet and exceed environmental regulations.  “In an urban area it is critical that the two coexist and support one another.  Providing the voice for communities that are recipients and caretakers of the improvements is critical for both to thrive.”

Tongson says you should attend this session because “It will leave you with the desire to B’More than you are told you can be, to B’Mo

Kim Ilardi Senior Industry Specialist, The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company

Kim Ilardi
Senior Industry Specialist, The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company

re focused on communities, to educate you about the great things happening in Baltimore (B’More). Plus, the attendees will get to laugh a little, cry a little.  It will be better than Cats.”

Kim Ilardi, Program Working Group member, says she’s looking forward to the program because “I think Baltimore often gets a bad wrap, I’m really looking forward to hearing some of the positive things going on in this amazing city.  Being part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the city has a huge responsibility to make sure they are protecting it.”

Session Presenters

Steven Preston

Green Infrastructure Project Manager at Parks & People Foundation

Baltimore, MD

Morgan Grove

Research Scientist / Team Leader at USDA Forest Service

Baltimore, MD

By Timothy P. Runde


Timothy P. Runde Real Estate Appraiser and Consultant/Partner at Carneghi and Partners, Inc.

Timothy P. Runde
Real Estate Appraiser and Consultant/ Partner at Carneghi and Partners, Inc.

NZE buildings present a compelling value premise but obtaining financing isn’t always easy.  In Greenbuild session D01: An Insider’s Guide to Optimizing the Value of NZE Buildings, we will help you learn what financing teams look at when evaluating NZE projects and gain insider tips about what you can do to maximize your project’s chances for success from a valuation expert.

Why am I an expert on this subject? I have 25+ years of hands-on valuation experience with an emphasis on incorporating green building and sustainability into the financing process.  I have valued numerous NZE buildings and can help designers and architects understand what they need to communicate to the financing team so that the value of the project is realized.

Very little gets built without financing or the buy-in of the financing team of a project.  Bridging the gap between those in design and those in finance is essential to making sure worthy projects get financed and built.

A lot of sessions teach us how to design and build better buildings, but few sessions like this one teach us how to navigate the so-called sustainability “Valley of Death”.  No matter how great your project is, if the financing falls through, it won’t be built.  Get insider tips to move your project from concept to completion to successful lease up.


Bill Worthen Founding Principal, Urban Fabrick, Inc.

Bill Worthen
Founding Principal, Urban Fabrick, Inc.

According to Program Working Group member, Bill Worthen, Founding Principal, Urban Fabrick, Inc., “This session is a sleeper. – Timothy Runde is one of the few commercial real estate appraisers have met that can explain, in a fun and interesting way, what the asset value of sustainable design really means. Not all green features and certainly not all LEED credit requirements add to the asset value of the buildings we design. This session connects the dots between design value and asset value.”

GB15_Wisdom2SurviveThe Ninth Annual Greenbuild International Film Festival will be held Wednesday, Nov. 18 – Thursday, Nov. 19 10:00am – 5:00pm. This festival features documentaries, films, and informational videos that promotes innovative green building practices and address social, environmental, and health topics related to the built environment. Below, we hear the backstory of one of this year’s featured films The Wisdom to Survive. Filmmaker Anne Macksoud describes why the subject of climate change is so compelling to her and her partner John Ankele as artists and their desire to engage and educate the world on this issue.

The mission of Old Dog Documentaries (as stated in a tag-line on our website) is: “Educating for Social Justice”.  Of course this could mean any number of things, but for me it has meant co-producing films (with my partner John Ankele) that show the negative impact of US policy on the people of the Global South.  We have made films about Industrial Farming and the Politics of Food, about the Arms Industry selling weapons all over the world, about impoverished coffee farmers in Costa Rica, and about Poverty and AIDS in Africa.  In 2010, after reading Bill McKibben’s book, Eaarth,  Making a Life on a Tough New Planet,     we realized that the issue of Climate Change (an issue we had not focused on) includes all of the social justice issues we had been making films about for almost 30 years. We also realized those issues can no longer be addressed without addressing Climate Change.  For the next 2 years, we turned our full attention to this subject.  We wanted to make a film that would call people to action, as McKibben’s book had called us.  We wanted a film that would tell the dire truth about climate science and at the same time inspire people with hope – not a hope that everything will be OK, but that they will be OK if they get involved in local action and become part of the growing citizen’s climate movement, which is reminiscent of the civil rights movement.

In Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, the main character and narrator, Celie, says this:
“…But one day when I was sitting quiet and feeling like a motherless child, which I was, it come to me: that feeling of being part of everything, not separate at all.  I knew that if I cut a tree, my arm would bleed. And I laughed and cried and I run all around the house…”

Alice Walker says it perfectly for me; what is happening to the natural world is actually happening to me – to all of us.  Our film, The Wisdom to Survive, attempts to help viewers be more aware of this connection, so that they set about finding solutions that will skillfully (and quickly) address what is happening to our world.

John and I have been to dozens of screenings of this film and it seems, in the Q&A sessions that follow the screening, different people are taking away different things.  For me, the takeaway is a heightened realization of how beautiful this world is and how much I love it.  Buddhist Eco-Feminist Joanna Macy says it best at the end of the film, “…you are born into this world, and you’re here to LOVE it and to see that it goes on.”

Author: Chi Chi TruongTalentFX

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 green building 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, Chi Chi Truong, a past TalentFX presenter, shares his story on how his experience lead to deeper collaboration for community impact.

“You are the future leaders of [insert issue or cause]!” said every speaker that has stood before you.

“Change the world! Make a difference!” These were your calls to action when growing up. But how does one go about effecting change?

For as long as I can remember, I was always involved in the community or in after-school activities – sports, academic clubs, performance groups – you name it, I was probably in it! #overachiever

I looked to continue that trajectory post-college graduation by joining the U.S. Green Building Council in 2010. I wanted to apply my growing leadership skills to my new responsibilities as the local Emerging Professionals chair and a National Chair for the University Students program. We partnered with Paradise Key, FIU School of Architecture, Love the Everglades, Waste Management, and many others to organize eco-fashion shows that got people to re-purpose waste into something creative and interesting. We won grants with Net Impact, AIA Young Architects Forum, Catalyst Miami, ULI Young Leaders, and over 30 other organizations to host a public space festival to encourage local residents to activate and revitalize our downtown corridor.

I had a talent of bringing groups of people together and uniting them under a common cause.  I also had an amazing team around me without whom none of this would be possible. But in a community with so many issues, so many organizations, and so many events, it was a challenge to get people to care. As successful as we were, it was not without its share of tumultuous frustrations to get there and to get people engaged.

Jump forward to Greenbuild New Orleans 2014. I was invited to present at TalentFX to share my experiences on community collaboration and how to build support for a project through key and strategic partnerships. Afterwards, I stuck around to answer some questions and speak with people in the audience as well as my fellow presenters. We discovered that many of us have had similar experiences in the community projects where our biggest challenge was getting people to join the effort.

In the following months, I was elected as the president for the USGBC Miami branch where I now had to host and organize these community programs and projects on a monthly basis. Amazingly, a few people approached me with a few ideas and programs that they were working on that they wanted to partner with USGBC on. When I had asked them how they found out about me, they mentioned that a friend of theirs saw my presentation at TalentFX; what a small world. As we began to curate programs together and engage other community stakeholders, more and more organizations began approaching us to partner and collaborate.

It’s one thing to be successful at creating successful projects, but it’s another to make people aware of what you’ve done. Often times we’re afraid of coming off as arrogant if we talk about our accomplishments. But TalentFX is a platform to do just that – to share your achievements and experiences, to celebrate your successes, and to connect with other like-minded community changemakers.


Get on the list for TalentFX announcements and updates here.

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.



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

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.