Working from home has become the “new normal” for many businesses. As people return to offices, social distancing and healthier workplaces are imperative. Attracting and retaining the best employees is no longer just a function of corporate culture but also the environments in which they work. 

Air and water quality and ventilation, building systems that encourage social distancing, and other solutions will continue to evolve. The willingness of many companies to allow employees to work remotely will ultimately have an impact on air quality, as commuters establish new at-home routines. 

“The CDC now wants us to highly increase building energy use through ventilating in off-hours, turning off demand-controlled ventilation, etc. Spaces will need to accommodate both collaborating and social distance.”

  • Neff, Kilroy Realty

“COVID-19 has reframed the way we think about building use and occupation comfort. The conversation also includes efficiency upgrades because many new HVAC systems allow for several accessories, like UV sanitizing lights.”

  • Agazio, Motili

“We’ll see automated technology that seamlessly integrates into our workspaces — like automated doorways and fixtures. A phased reduction in density will be evident via people and spaces.”

  • Ahmad, Sustainable Architect

“While we use floor design for aesthetics, branding, and wayfinding, it will also become more prominent in terms of safety — especially to provide visual cues to keep occupants connected but at a safe distance.”

  • Conway, Interface

“I believe that the circular economy will ebb and flow, based on needs and demands…the innovative mindset of the new entrepreneur will help accelerate the movement and steer it in a great direction.” 

  • George Bandy, Global Leader for CSR and Sustainability 

“I’ve become more cognizant of the need to design and build for the challenges of the next decades…not just today.”

  • Sims, American Chemistry Council

For more on this topic, download our new whitepaper, “Sustainability: Yesterday vs. Tomorrow.” You’ll learn the 7 must-know insights defining the future of our industry, post-COVID-19 transformation, powerful innovations, and how companies are becoming more socially responsible.

The term “future-proofing” first came into use in 2007. Originally applied to technology security, it was embraced rapidly by the sustainability community. Natural disasters and the damage to the planet caused by irresponsible human decision-making prompted the building industry to look at how the choices they make can result in irreparable damage to individuals, neighborhoods, and the planet. Today (and tomorrow) everyone involved in the design, development, and building process is held to a higher standard. 

We reached out to professionals who are changing the trajectory of green building and sustainability. This “green dream team” represents a broad and diverse cross-section of sustainability and business leaders, including architecture, manufacturing, design, consulting, and real estate.

They spoke to us about the post-COVID-19 transformation, how innovation will need powerful new solutions, and how companies and brands are expanding their knowledge and commitment to social responsibility.

Common themes that emerged about the future of sustainability from this group are:

  1. The need for true collaboration and sharing of best practices across industries
  2. Automation as a lever in creating solutions and in data reporting
  3. An expanded role of socially-responsible corporations in facilitating change and innovation
  4. Emphasis on health and well-being of individuals and communities in the post-COVID-19 environment
  5. The ongoing need to track and report the short- and long-term financial benefits of sustainable building

 Here are their powerful insights for the next decade. 

“Along with the continued move toward collaboration, I am excited to see the impact institutional investors can have on effecting change. I look forward to the changes future generations will dream up that are unimaginable today.” 

“There will be a huge focus on people and the impacts of all actions that affect people’s lives, quality, accessibility, equality, health, etc.….We will see a major shift in how all stakeholders approach corporate sustainability. In the long-term, there really needs to be a better plan for infrastructure in cities and overall public transportation.”

“In 10 years, I believe we will improve reporting and move the needle on social impact. There is no better time to redesign the new normal.”

Solar photovoltaic technology, battery storage, and the use of electric vehicles will be at the forefront of commercial energy storage. National energy codes and local state financial incentives will recognize and mandate the implementation of solar-ready infrastructure and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.”

“In three years, automated sustainability will take hold as the wave of IoT (Internet of Things) and 5G spread across the nation. I expect to see many smart devices that help homeowners and building operators monitor electricity, water use, and potentially trash and recycling volumes. Automation will pave the way towards inherent building sustainability. Within 10 years, I expect to see huge strides towards carbon neutrality nationwide. The major changes will be around energy use rates and grid mix transactions to renewables. I would also expect a higher responsibility of action placed on major manufacturers.”

  • Maria Agazio, Sustainability and Energy Efficiency Lead, Motili

“In the short-term, I think environmental sustainability will take a back seat to health and wellness in the built environment. I think we’ll see larger strides in the electrification of buildings, renewable energy, and energy efficiency as more new buildings move toward net zero goals and have carbon neutrality goals.”

“We’ll see materials advances – especially nanotechnology based advances in areas like insulation and super windows. 3D printing will be applied to affordable housing using sustainable materials and reducing construction times. AI tools will lead to the expansion of generative design and integrative design.”

  • Roger Duncan, Author, former Research Fellow at the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, and former General Manager of Austin Energy. Co-author with Michael E. Webber of the upcoming book, The Future of Buildings, Transportation and Power (August 2020)

“There will be an increasing focus on understanding physical climate risk, and disclosing that financial impact to investors.”

“In the near future, sustainability will be better focused on our independence and interconnectedness. Stakeholders are starting to align their contributions to the broader interrelated system to achieve better results. An excellent example is how utilities, solar companies, and builders all impact the sustainability and monthly cost of buildings — the largest segment of energy consumption globally…Sustainable energy doesn’t result unless these separate groups coordinate the results and support each other’s initiatives.” 

For more on this topic, download our new whitepaper, “Sustainability: Yesterday vs. Tomorrow.” You’ll learn the 7 must-know insights defining the future of our industry, post-COVID-19 transformation, powerful innovations, and how companies are becoming more socially responsible.

San Francisco’s renewable energy program, CleanPowerSF was one of seven winners at the C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards, which took place on the sidelines of the C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen last week.

The awards recognize cities across the world that have taken significant action to address climate change issues.

CleanPowerSF, which was established in 2016, gives San Francisco residents and businesses the option to purchase their electricity from renewable and low-carbon sources of energy at competitive rates.

It forms a key part of the city’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent of 1990 levels by 2025, and to have 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.

Read the full article here

At Greenbuild Conference & Expo 2019 you’ll be inspired and learn about new products and programs. But ultimately, the PEOPLE of the global sustainability effort make all the difference. Each week, leading up to the event, we showcase one game-changer, profiling a speaker, supporter, sponsor, or friend of Greenbuild. 

Up next:

Josh Jacobs, LEED AP&BD&C, Director of Environmental Codes & Standards, UL Environment & Sustainability

“In our world, you can sometimes feel like Sisyphus…same rock, same hill, every day,” says Jacobs. But he remains hopeful about our future. “When you take a step back and look at the changes that have happened in building and procurement, they are monumental.” 

As part of the original International Green Construction Code’s (igCC) working group for Indoor Environmental Quality, he helped the committee understand the impact that VOC emissions can have on indoor occupants. Getting building code officials, builders, and product manufacturers to see the importance of building materials in preserving human health and that the criteria should be part of the code was one of Jacob’s greatest moments.

Jacobs gets his inspiration from people who look at what has been done and ask, “Why can’t I do this differently?” His own “green heroes” include Eric Corey Freed, the originator of concept of Prostruction and Shaun McCarthy who greened the London Olympics. 

He is also a connector. “This industry is filled with some incredibly smart people from around the globe. I try to make sure that most of the smart people I know, know each other. Listening to them and sharing ideas and concepts makes me smarter and pushes me to do better every day,” Jacob says.

Interested in being profiled in our Voices of Greenbuild series? Please contact us!

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., Global Leader for CSR and Sustainability, 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.”

Interested in being profiled in our Voices of Greenbuild series? Please contact us!

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

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.

GEA-bannerThe Green Exhibitor Award is an optional program that rewards booths for innovation and exceptional performance. This unique program recognizes winners in three categories that we feel truly designate the best from the rest:

  • Best in Show
  • Smallest Impact
  • Most Innovative

To participate, exhibitors simply log into the Exhibitor Dashboard and visit the “Booth Greening” section to launch the application. The application consists of 10 questions relating to a booth’s features, and points are associated with each response. Exhibitors are eligible to earn between 0-20 total points depending on the level of each booth’s sustainability efforts. So go ahead, login and take a look.  You will be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to complete this survey.

Those companies scoring 17 points or higher are entered into the pool to win one of the three Awards. Finally, our Exhibitor Advisory Working Group pours over the submissions to identify those three booths that have really gone the extra mile to ensure a smaller impact while exhibiting at Greenbuild.

The three winning booths will be recognized in a variety of ways both pre-show and onsite, including a press release, online presence at greenbuildexpo.com, and a special plaque to display in your booth at Greenbuild 2014. In addition – Best in Show wins a free 10×10 booth at Greenbuild 2015 in DC!

If you are a Greenbuild exhibitor, show us how you walk the walk by entering to win the 2014 Green Exhibitor Award. Your unique sustainability practices and innovative exhibition operations could earn your company some serious recognition among our community of industry leaders. A very small portion of your time can end up providing you with some great benefits!

Applications are due September 17. Good Luck!