Greenbuild 2019 Comes to a Close, New Initiatives and Visions for Future Announced

Amanda Komar
November 26, 2019

The conference, in its 18th year, explored how buildings impact human and environmental health

ATLANTA – (November 25, 2019) – The Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, presented by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and owned and operated by Informa Connect, concluded last week in Atlanta, where thousands of global green building and sustainability leaders gathered.

Greenbuild 2019 featured four days of inspiring education sessions and keynote speeches every day of the conference. This year’s keynotes included civil rights activist Dr. Bernice King, architect and MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang, youth climate activist Jamie Margolin, climate and weather expert Dr. Marshall Shepherd, and former President Barack Obama. Greenbuild is the largest green building conference and expo in the world and brings thousands of sustainability and green building leaders together to advance our vision that buildings and communities will regenerate and sustain the vitality of all life within a generation. This year, the conference elevated the connection between people and the spaces they rely on every day.

“Many people may not be thinking about how a building impacts them or their environment,” said Kim Heavner, vice president, conferences and events at USGBC. “That’s why this year’s theme, ‘A New Living Standard,’ explored how we can broaden that conversation and help connect the dots between people and the places where they live, work, learn and play.”

Greenbuild is USGBC’s opportunity to celebrate the work done and begin the updates to the LEED program and others that will propel green building into the future. This year, USGBC made several announcements including the following program updates:

USGBC Equity, announced at Tuesday’s summits, is a new initiative that is designed to highlight and bring attention to the broad spectrum of work that USGBC is doing around social equity. This initiative will take the pulse of USGBC members and the green building community to help determine what individuals are currently doing to advance social equity and how LEED buildings, cities and communities are contributing.

During the Future of LEED education session on Wednesday, Nov. 20, USGBC announced LEED Positive, a vision statement and LEED development roadmap that will lay the foundation for a future of LEED that is regenerative. The LEED Positive vision will guide USGBC in transitioning LEED from strategies that reduce the harm done by buildings to strategies that cause no harm and begin the process of healing and repair.

Insight is a new data-driven feature that highlights building project design features that can lead to better performance. Insight is available as a feature of the Arc platform and provides information on the design attributes of LEED certified buildings within a specified geographic region. Project teams can then compare and rank potential sustainability strategies to see how they stack up against the performance of other buildings. Insight was created in partnership with Skanska.

The Arc platform was created to help people design, build and operate buildings and spaces that benefit both people and the environment. This year at Greenbuild, a number of improvements were announced to enhance the Arc user experience, including performance certificates at the energy, water, waste, transportation and human experience levels; improvement scores for continued advancement of Arc projects; and “Arc for All,” which makes Arc available free of charge for all users.

Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) added two sustainability credentials to its suite of green business services. Originally developed by the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP), GBCI will maintain, promote and deliver the ISSP Sustainability Associate (ISSP-SA) and ISSP Certified Sustainability Professional (ISSP-CSP). The credentials provide third-party verification of competency in the field of sustainability and recognize individuals committed to making the world more economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.

The City of Atlanta, this year’s Greenbuild host city, earned LEED Silver certification, making it the 100th certification for LEED for Cities and Communities. USGBC launched LEED for Cities and Communities in 2016 as a globally consistent framework for measuring and tracking sustainability at the city and community scale. The rating system tracks progress across key performance indicators, including energy, waste, water, transportation, resilience, health and equity. Atlanta’s Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and USGBC President and CEO Mahesh Ramanujam announced the city’s certification and work during the conference’s Wednesday keynote.

In addition to the education sessions, keynote speeches and announcements, the conference also featured the sold-out Women in Green luncheon, and recognition of sustainability all-stars at the Leadership Awards reception, including the announcement of 29 new LEED Fellows.

Held annually in the U.S. since 2002, Greenbuild is the world’s largest convening of green building and sustainability leaders. Greenbuild 2020 will take place in November in San Diego, Calif.