Celebrating its’ 10th anniversary, the Greenbuild Conference & Expo is the largest gathering of architects, engineers, developers, contractors and builders involved in the greening of the built environment. With a hundred educational sessions and over 1,000 exhibitors, Greenbuild is overwhelming, exhausting and exhilarating. Given the sheer size, it is the Olympics of conferences.
My own preparation starts weeks before by scheduling every minute with meetings, classes, interviews and parties. If done right, the show is a marathon, both physically and intellectually. Cards are exchanged, deals are made and strategic partnerships are formed. Every industry has its’ premier events, and Greenbuild is it for those of us in green building.
Held this year in Toronto, this was the first time the conference was held outside of U.S. borders (last year was hosted in Chicago, the 2012 show is in San Francisco). Judging by the buzz among the many I spoke with, Toronto seemed to charm everyone. Over 23,000 attendees from 108 countries were in attendance (down from 27,000 last year, due more to the foreign venue than the economy, I believe).
This years Conference theme was simply “NEXT.” It seems quite appropriate. The field of green building has reached a certain critical mass over the past decade, prompting many new recruits to ask, “What’s next?” Even the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) own green building rating system, called LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), has itself leveled off a bit.