Tuesday at Greenbuild is warmup day. The Expo Hall is not yet open and the general educational sessions have not begun. But there is plenty of throat clearing as the engine of this huge conference warms up. Tuesday is traditionally the day of the Chapter Forum- when the USGBC gathers representatives from many of the nearly 80+ chapters around the country for sharing of best practices, networking and just generally getting to know one another. I presented the findings of Urban Green Council’s Speak Green conference in June at the Chapter Forum today and the crowd was a wonderful amalgam of folks from all over the country. You can’t help but be staggered by the huge variety of communities around the States. One of the delegates was from Wyoming and in a presentation pointed out that the average population density of New York State is 357 people per square mile. In Wyoming that figure is 5 people per square mile. The statistic speaks directly to the vastly different challenges in these two places.
Earlier today the Chapter Forum heard from Cascadia’s Jason McLennan about his book, Zugunruhe. I read it last year when it was published, and as with most things that Jason is behind (like the Living Building Challenge) it is full of intelligent perspectives on common issues, surprising connections, and riddled with humor. “Zugunruhe” is the word German biologists use to describe the flutter of activity among herd animals in the days and weeks before they begin a migration. It’s a beautiful metaphor for the current gathering of our herd- the green building community. The book is worth reading for the chance to ruminate on this metaphor, and its implications for your own life, all by itself.
Tuesday is also the day of the International Summit- a gathering of folks from all over the world, including representatives of the many international green building councils advocating for LEED. The closing plenary of the summit included representatives from Poland, United Arab Emirates, India, Romania, Jordan, Mexico, Sweden, Italy, Brazil, Finland, Korea, Spain, Norway, Argentina, Chile, Columbia, and Canada. Sessions at the Summit focused on lessons learned from around the world and how these nascent councils can be supported.
The Brazil delegate pointed out that all 12 of the stadiums planned for the 2014 World Cup are required to achieve LEED Platinum Certification. One of them includes 2+ MW rooftop solar array. Despite the water efficiency realized at the stadiums for the South Africa World Cup, it is hard to imagine such an aggressive target being called for at the World Cup even a couple years ago.
Tonight the Expo Hall opens and tomorrow the general educational sessions begin. Planning at Greenbuild is usually a mistake because the days end up being a series of derailments, but the sessions I am hoping to attend tomorrow include a presentation by my YR&G colleague and Urban Green Board Member Lauren Yarmuth on building culture within a sustainable organization, a panel discussion on Eco-Districts, and a presentation of the progressive Oregon Sustainability Center. I’ll let you know what I see hear in this space tomorrow.