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By Michelle Cassidy
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By Michelle Cassidy, Communications and Media Relations Intern, US Green Building Council
In a rapidly evolving industry like green building, keeping track of changes across different sectors can be difficult. That's where the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo comes in. Presented by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Greenbuild is the world's largest conference and expo dedicated to green building.
USGBC celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, and Greenbuild is the perfect opportunity to see how far the green building industry has come. This year, we'll also be looking forward to the launch of the newest version of the LEED rating system.
Greenbuild takes place from Nov. 20-22 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. The conference's nearly 30,000 attendees can expect three days of extensive educational programming, workshops, showcases of the latest green building products and services from nearly 1,000 exhibitors, and networking events that provide a unique opportunity to meet other professionals and learn about the newest innovations in our industry.
Greenbuild is also the world's most sustainable conference and expo of its size. It is designed to be a carbon-neutral event, and every year new goals and programs are introduced to ensure that it stays at the cutting edge of sustainability. At Greenbuild 2012 in San Francisco, an 86 percent waste diversion rate was achieved, setting a new record for the host Moscone Center. Additionally, the conference sourced mostly local and organic food.
In 2013, USGBC will introduce composting to the Pennsylvania Convention Center for the first time. Additionally, Greenbuild exhibitors must follow a set of mandatory exhibition green guidelines to create the most sustainable presence possible.
Every year, Greenbuild hosts world leaders from the business, environmental and political sectors to speak to our industry. In 2013, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will be the Greenbuild keynote speaker; musical icons Bon Jovi will perform; and Nate Silver, statistician and author of The Signal and the Noise, will speak at the closing plenary.
Scot Horst, senior vice president of LEED, will provide an overview of the newest version of LEED and the transition to performance-based evaluation systems. Launching at Greenbuild, this new version of the LEED rating system is poised to raise the bar for the entire industry, featuring adaptations for several new market sectors, increased technical rigor and streamlining of documentation and recertification processes to allow building operators to focus on reaching their sustainability goals.
Industry leaders will be taking the stage for the Greenbuild 2013 Master Series, which will cover topics from engineering and architecture to community gardens and financing. Attendees will have a chance to sit down with experts in fields like public health, resiliency, affordable housing, and more at the Knowledge Bar. There are more than 100 education sessions, events and tours scheduled, including opportunities to earn continuing education credits toward professional credentials like LEED Green Associate, LEED AP and AIA. The two days leading up to Greenbuild will also feature several summits that will explore international green building, affordable housing and the human health impacts of building materials.
In addition, each year Greenbuild reaches out to the local community through its Legacy Project to ensure that Greenbuild has a positive, lasting impact on its host city. This year the Greenbuild Legacy Project will support the Smith Memorial Playground and Public Workshop, where students will design and build an obstacle course to help children connect to the natural environment.
For the full conference schedule and registration information, visit greenbuildexpo.org.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels has declined in the U.S. by 11 percent since 2007. Emissions dropped from 1.6 billion tons in 2007 to an estimated 1.4 billion tons in 2013. Emissions from burning coal dropped from a peak of about 600 million tons in 2009 to about 475 million tons last year. Emissions from burning natural gas, however, reached an all-time high of 373 million tons in 2012. According to multiple sources, burning natural gas produces about half the emissions as burning coal.
Wind capacity has tripled in that time period, and solar capacity has increased 14-fold, according to EIA data.
By a vote of 32-17, the Chicago City Council made Chicago the latest city to pass an energy benchmarking and disclosure ordinance. Public and private buildings over 50,000 square feet will be required to track their energy use with the Environmental Protection Agency's Portfolio Manager tool.
Starting in June 2015, building owners will then be required to report their energy performance to the city. The ordinance is part of Chicago's goal to reduce energy use by 30 percent by 2020.
According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-conditioning Engineers, the newly published 2013 version of the organization's signature 90.1 energy standard includes major changes to requirements for building envelope, lighting, mechanical systems, and the energy cost budget.
As one example, 90.1-2013 doubles glazed fenestration requirements in many climates. And a new minimum visible transmittance to solar heat gain coefficient ration (VT/SHGC) has been established to enable good daylighting.
Buildings complying with the new standard should expect to save 40 to 50 percent over the 2004 version of the standard.
More information on the specific changes can be found at bit.ly/ASHRAE2013
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