Last year, Washington, D.C., made history by becoming the fourth city in the world to certify over 100 million square feet of LEED space — a remarkable feat for a city with fewer than 700,000 people and encompassing less than 70 square miles. This year the city is poised to make green building history once again as it prepares to host what is expected to be the largest Greenbuild International Conference & Expo to date. The conference will take place Nov. 18-20 at the Washington Convention Center.
Washington, D.C., leads the nation every year in per capita square footage of newly LEED certified real estate, but Virginia and Maryland, anchored by their suburban-D.C. communities, have also ranked among the top 10 states for LEED each of the past four years. Given these trends and the highly developed market for sustainable design throughout metropolitan Washington, it’s no surprise that the region also has the highest per capita concentration of LEED professionals in the country, including the most LEED APs in the nation.
The region’s political and economic leaders have been highly supportive of green building and, especially within the District of Columbia, have turned to sustainable design as a hallmark of what is a very robust sustainability agenda. Since the passage of the District of Columbia’s Green Building Act of 2006, all non-residential public buildings are required to certify as LEED Silver or higher, and all District owned or financed residential projects 10,000 square feet or larger are required to meet the Green Communities certification standard. Since 2012, all new private developments within the District of Columbia 50,000 square feet or larger have been required achieve LEED-certification.
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), which has its international headquarters in Washington, expects 25,000 attendees at this year’s Greenbuild, and over 600 exhibiting companies. There will be 26 different Greenbuild tours available this year for conference participants, including several that would be exciting for LEED professionals that deal extensively with LEED Operations and Maintenance (O+M). The Monitoring & Maintaining the LEED tour (Monday, Nov. 16), Government Green: Sustainability in the Nation’s Capital (Nov. 20), and Pushing Toward Net Zero (Nov. 21) tours are just a small sample of the options available for this years’ attendees.
Greenbuild attendees interested in learning more about the newest and best practices in O+M can also chose to follow the Building Performance and Energy Efficiency track over the course of the conference, which will include sessions that cover topics such as energy savings in tenant space, reducing plug loads, passive home building, carbon neutrality in the built environment, post-occupancy evaluation and green building/performance in the small commercial building space.
The staff at USGBC is ecstatic about inviting the national green building movement to USGBC’s home city, and the local, national and international enthusiasm for this year’s Greenbuild has overwhelmed us all. We hope that the broader LEED O+M professional community will come out in force for this year’s Greenbuild as we look to show off what a truly transformative green industry looks like in our nation’s capital.
Kate Hurst is vice president of community advancement, conference & events for the U.S. Green Building Council.