December 2010: For The Record


For The Record

Having just returned from the 2010 Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, I am energized and motivated about all things green. No paper, no carbon footprint, and only sustainable materials (think: masonry) are the way to go. Of the dozens of trade shows I’ve attended annually throughout my career as an editor, I have to say that Greenbuild seems to have snowballed the quickest. To that end, I have a few “did you know?” items to share.

For instance, did you know there are 1 billion square feet of LEED-certified green building projects worldwide? That’s right: As of November 2010, the total footprint of commercial projects certified under the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED Green Building Rating System surpassed 1 billion square feet. What’s more, another 6 billion square feet of projects are registered and currently working toward LEED certification around the world. By consuming less energy, LEED-certified buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and contribute to healthier environments for residents, workers and the community.

More good news: Did you know that green jobs are on the rise? The 2010 Greenbuild show was home to a Green Jobs Fair and Summit, hosted in partnership with the BlueGreen Alliance and the City of Chicago.

Kimberly Lewis, VP of conferences and events, USGBC, says that the green building industry is predicted to support or create nearly 8 million jobs between 2009 and 2013, and contribute $554 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product.

And finally, did you know the USGBC announced the recipients of its 2010 Leadership Awards during the Closing Plenary at Greenbuild? Illinois State Rep. Karen May (D-Highland Park) was honored as an Individual recipient in the Leadership in the Public Sector Category. She is a founding member of USGBC’s 50 for 50 Green Schools Caucus Initiative and a green schools champion.

The Recovery School District received an award for its steadfast commitment to rebuilding healthy, high-performing schools for New Orleans. Five years after the devastating hurricanes that ravaged New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast, the District made rebuilding sustainably a priority, committing to build all public schools to a minimum of LEED Silver.

In the Private Sector Category, Interface Founder and Chairman Ray Anderson was honored as an Individual recipient for his steadfast commitment to transforming the carpet manufacturing industry into a restorative enterprise. Since 1994, Anderson has been leading Interface toward eliminating any negative impact the company has on the environment by 2020.

Skanska was honored in the Private Sector Category for its commitment to worldwide market transformation. With a portfolio of numerous LEED-certified buildings, its Commercial Development group set the floor at LEED Gold for all projects it develops.

The Syracuse Center of Excellence in New York received this year’s award for Leadership in the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). The center has exhibited extraordinary leadership in creating innovations in environmental and energy technologies and their immediate application.

Richard Piacentini, executive director of the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, received the award for Individual Leadership in the NGO category. He has been touted for leading the transformation of a century-old conservatory into a model of green building practices and environmental awareness, including earning LEED Silver for its Welcome Center.

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