_DSC0915Los Angeles – sunshine, movie stars, and most important, GREENBUILD.  Here’s your chance to enjoy everything Greenbuild for FREE!

Do you see a career in sustainability in your future? As the largest conference and expo in sustainable building and design, Greenbuild can provide a pathway into the right direction.

If you’re a minimum of 18 years of age and a full time student OR a young professional age 25 and under, you can volunteer at Greenbuild and receive a FREE three-day pass to all areas of education. Eight hours of volunteer service is 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 for your volunteer shifts now. But register soon – 8 shifts have already filled. Claim your spot today!

To learn more about Greenbuild scholarship opportunities visit our scholarship webpage. Scholarship submissions end August 31.

*A fall 2016 schedule and/or a photo ID is required to confirm eligibility upon check-in

Dhruv Raina Leader, Corporate Sustainability at Owens Corning

Dhruv Raina
Leader, Corporate Sustainability at Owens Corning

The opposite of footprints are handprints — the positive impacts people and organizations can make in the world. What gets included in your footprint are the impacts of all activities linked to your actions by buying and selling, producing and consuming. Handprinting pays attention to the influence of purchases too; and then it expands our view to capture other ways that we exert influence on the world, such as sharing innovations, inspiring action, and creating sustainability benefits anywhere on earth. In this way, handprinting opens up a wider set of pathways for positive influence, and also enables us to pursue the creation of buildings, products, communities and lives which are NetPositive – which do more good than harm. In Session D01 Handprinting: Making Buildings, Products & Lives NetPositive, it will first clearly explain handprinting, and how it is being actively applied now in three building-related companies.  We will then invite and empower all participants to start using a free and open source web platform to share new handprinting action ideas with the world, and to pitch in on open, transparent assessment of those action’s impacts. We asked session speaker Dhruv Raina to tell us more about this session.

GB: What makes you an expert in this area?

DR: I’m an LCA Practitioner with years of experience in Corporate Sustainability & lead the Net Positive Project for Owens Corning, developing methodology for how the guidance will look like in the future.

GB: Why is the topic of your session important?

DR:  As businesses look beyond footprint reductions this can help them transcend to the next level.

GB:  Why should Greenbuild attendees attend YOUR session specifically?

DR: We will Identify and evaluate opportunities to shrink their organization’s or building’s footprint and increase its handprint.  Share handprint action ideas with the world, and review action ideas relevant to them that were shared by others.

GB: What’s the most interesting experience you’ve had in the green building/sustainability world?

DR: Influencing folks across businesses and borders to take action!

Jackie Henke Energy & Sustainability Innovations Director, TD Bank

Jackie Henke
Energy & Sustainability Innovations Director, TD Bank

According to Jackie Henke, Greenbuild Program Working Group member “The overtone of climate change is inherently negative – this session feels like it will be focused on climate change using a positive frame of reference, which we all can benefit from. I love the concept of “handprints” being the positive impacts people can make on the world.  This session is looking at our ability to make change through our individual supply chains (i.e. the purchases we make everyday) and also how we engage with each other through sharing innovation and insights.”

Additional presenters include:

Jeffrey Zeman

Principal Environmental Engineer at Kohler Co.

Jane Abernethy

Sustainability Officer at Humanscale Corporation

Gregory Norris

Executive Director at New Earth


By Jed Donaldson

LA River Cleanup 2With Greenbuild 2016 just a few months away, it seemed appropriate that the Greenbuild 2016 Greening Committee would give back to the iconic host city by pitching in to help clean up the Los Angeles River.

In 2009, the Frogtown Artwalk had a screening of the film “Rock the Boat;” in which an environmentalist kayaks down the Los Angeles River to protest the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers designation of the river as an un-navigable waterway. The fallout of the film was a paradoxical change in the attitudes towards the river.  In July 2010, the EPA declared the concrete-lined Los Angeles River channel “traditional navigable waters” and forever changed how this city views one if its greatness resources. With this designation, the river is now protected under the Clean Water Act. Moreover, the declaration has catalyzed the current movement to reinstate the quality of nature in and around Los Angeles.

One of the original protectors of the LA River is Lewis McAdams, who founded the non-profit organization Friends of the Los Angeles River, also known as FoLAR. When the river was still designated a ‘channel’ FoLAR was one of the few activist groups trying to protect the river that the city had turned its back on. One of the ways to bring awareness was through volunteer events. FoLAR’s annual event – The Great LA River Cleanup – is open to the public and a perfect opportunity to help better the environment.

The Great LA River Cleanup

LA River CleanupThis year, the 27th Great LA River cleanup was held in April. This was not only an opportunity to build a relationship between USGBC and FoLAR, but it will hopefully be an initiative that can influence future Greenbuild conferences as well as future local chapter commitments.

The cleanup was divided between three river sections – upper river, mid river and lower river – and each section was designated for a weekend in April. The Greening Committee chose to participate in the Mid River section on April 23 because it has the closest proximity to downtown Los Angeles. About 30 USGBC volunteers climbed down into the river and removed trash that had collected for years. More than 9,000 volunteers in total participated in the cleanup and removed 70 tons of trash this year. At our site, there were 1,100 people who removed 8.5 tons of trash. On average, each person filled about of two bags in the span of just three hours.

The Greening Committee would like to thank FoLAR for leading the effort to revive the Los Angeles River, and would also like to thank those USGBC members who came out that day ready to work and sporting a positive mindset. Some of the volunteers shared their thoughts on the event’s success and expressed the positive energy that surrounded the day:

  • “The LA River Cleanup was a memorable experience. I picked up everything from an old gym bag to a $5 dollar bill that must have been Mother Nature’s good karma.  Coming together to help our environment left a lasting feeling of community.” – Matt Harrigan, Managing Director, Pace Equity
  • “The experience really helps you to appreciate how much of our trash just ends up in the environment. It’s not ‘out of sight, out of mind’ when you throw away your trash.  It’s always going somewhere it shouldn’t and impacting natural habitats,” – Caroline Ingalls, Designer, Hirsch Bedner Associates
  • “It was a great team building experience, and it was inspiring to see all of the participants together for a common goal!” – Nina Hamamura, Green Business Solutions
  • “I’m proud to have helped orchestrate an event with such immediate and measurable impact on greening our own backyard in L.A.” – Emily Hand, Project Manager, Verdical Group

Jed Donaldson is the Greenbuild Greening Sub-Committee Co-Chair and a senior designer at Steinberg Architects.