sustainable cityAs a teaser to our comprehensive Greenbuild Sustainability Report coming out this March, here are our Top 5 sustainability stories from Greenbuild 2015 in Washington, DC.

#1. 84% Waste Diversion at Convention Center 

  • Early in 2015, the Greenbuild Waste Team set a goal diversion rate of 80% for the Greenbuild conference based on the Walter E. Washington Convention Center’s baseline diversion rate of 32%. This dedicated group worked for 6 months to improve front of house bin signage, find haulers for additional waste streams and fine-tune the back dock sorting process for all waste generated by the Greenbuild show. This group, Greenbuild volunteers and a team of 15 people that spent 80 hours manually separating waste, made it possible to exceed our goal and achieve an 84% waste diversion rate.

#2. Over 7,000lbs of Show Donations

  • Each year, our Exhibitor Donation Program collects leftover booth materials from Greenbuild Exhibitors. This year, our exhibitors donated over 7,000 pounds of materials including cement blocks, carpet, insulation, floor tiles and cleaning supplies. These items were donated to local non-profits including Habitat for Humanity of Metropolitan Maryland – RESTORE. Donations also included an attendee clothing drive to support the Safeway Feast of Sharing event which was hosted by the convention center.

#3. Greenbuild Hospitality Tour

  • This year, Greenbuild hosted a “Greenbuild Behind the Scenes: Sustainable Event Tour” to showcase the show’s sustainability efforts to hospitality professionals. The 34 attendees included representatives from hotels, national associations, and international conference organizers. Attendees toured a variety of show areas including the back dock sorting area and convention center control rooms.

#4. 70% Regional Food Sourcing

  • Thanks to the great efforts of the Centerplate Team at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, led by Chef Jon Dornbusch, 33% of the food served at the convention center was sourced locally (within 100 miles) and 70% of the food was sourced regionally (within 500 miles).

#5. 100% Green-e Carbon Offsets

  • In 2014, Greenbuild became the largest US conference ever to become Green-e certified for its carbon offsets. In 2015, the Greenbuild Team remains committed to this standard. In partnership with Terrapass, the following projects will be supported by Greenbuild’s carbon offset purchase: New Beulah Landfill (Dorchester County, MD) and The Big Smile Wind Farm at Dempsey Ridge (Roger Mills and Beckham Counties, OK).

Keep your eye out for our comprehensive report of Greenbuild’s greening initiatives, coming March 2016!

2015 VolsUSGBC is so thankful for our Greenbuild volunteers! As we launch 2016 and prepare for Greenbuild: Iconic Green in Los Angeles, we’d like to highlight a few volunteers from Greenbuild 2015 in Washington, DC.

Taylor Ghost and Emily-Kate Hannapel are students at University of North Carolina at Greensboro, studying interior architecture. They both are interested in the impact of buildings on our environment, and were excited for the opportunity to attend Greenbuild and learn more. In addition to their duties assisting with the conference’s commitment to waste diversion, Taylor and Emily-Kate authored a terrific rap video, linked below.

Tell us a little about yourselves!

TG: I am a senior at UNC-G and will soon graduate with a BFA in Interior Architecture. The program teaches a holistic, multi-disciplinary approach to design. During my junior year in school, I was asked to propose a design concept for a hotel that is moving to an existing building in downtown Greensboro. While I worked on the concept something clicked in me that has since narrowed the focus for my career; I am truly inspired by the impact that commercial interior environments can have on their occupants.

EKH: I’m working on an MFA in Interior Architecture at UNC-G. I’m interested in community-engaged design and the overlap between affordable housing, sustainable design and preservation. After receiving my undergraduate degree from NYU I started an urban farm in Durham, NC and helped to manage my local farmers’ market. I now live in a 12×12′ tiny house on a farm in rural North Carolina with my two dogs.

How would you describe your Greenbuild volunteer experience?

TG: I thoroughly enjoyed my experience! I think I loved meeting people the most and being able to help them in some way.

EKH: I loved my volunteer experience. It was great opportunity to meet presenters and other conference attendees, and just generally make connections. I really believe in the idea of reducing waste and was impressed by Greenbuild’s commitment to reduce their footprint. Being able to help with this, in a very concrete way, felt important.

What was your biggest impression of Greenbuild overall?

TG: Greenbuild had a lot to offer, and I appreciated the balance of the expo, learning sessions, and events throughout the week. The most impactful thing I learned was that one of the easiest ways to promote the wellness and cognitive health of employees in an office environment is to increase air quality. This was the result of an intriguing research study by a group from Harvard that they are calling #theCogfxStudy. I attended their session right before I left and have been chewing on my notes from it since then.

EKH: Attending Greenbuild helped remind me of all the different career options that I have. Most importantly, it connected me to a community of people doing the type of work that I’d like to be doing in the future. After a challenging semester, attending Greenbuild reminded me why I’m studying what I’m studying.

If you were telling a friend to volunteer for Greenbuild in Los Angeles, what advice would you give them?

TG: Invest yourself in the tasks you are asked to do, be present, and be proud to do your part!

EKH: Volunteer! You’ll meet great folks and make a lot of great connections!

GB Vol Rap







By volunteering for eight hours to support the conference, Taylor and Emily Kate received free admission to Greenbuild. By volunteering at Greenbuild in Los Angeles, you can attend for free as well! Check out the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo volunteer page for more information.