Greenbuild is the largest green building conference and expo experience in the world. The U.S. show brings together more than 20,000 attendees, more than 200 education sessions, and 600 exhibitors annually. Greenbuild presents one of the best opportunities for professionals in the green building space to connect with one another and explore the latest trends and hottest technology coming to market.
This year, Greenbuild returns to Chicago for the third time, taking place Nov. 14-16 at the LEED Certified McCormick Place West. The city of Chicago recently achieved LEED for Cities certification at the Platinum level, placing it among only a handful of cities worldwide that have demonstrated sustainability leadership on this scale to date and making it an apt setting for Greenbuild. On a larger scale, the state of Illinois is one of only two states to make the “Top 10 States for LEED” annual list since the rankings began in 2010. There is no better place to come together to focus on the future of sustainable development.
With so much to take in over just a few short days, it can be challenging to squeeze everything you want to see, do, and learn into your Greenbuild schedule. To help you streamline and make the most of your week, here is a list of the top 10 things not to miss at Greenbuild Chicago:
Tours. Every Greenbuild host city is unique, and one of the best ways to take it all in is to sign up for one or more of the Greenbuild tours. Held on Monday, Nov. 12, Friday, Nov. 16, and Saturday, Nov. 17, tours are offered in a half day or full day format and are curated by the Greenbuild Host Committee and USGBC local community, Illinois Green. A few select examples of tours this year include Re-envisioning of Historic Manufacturing District, Navy Pier sets their SITES on Gold, Green Brewing in Chicago, and Downtown Working WELL.
Summits. On Tuesday, Nov. 13, three Greenbuild summits will be in full swing. The Communities & Affordable Homes Summit will look at four of the most important forces shaping the landscape of community development worldwide. The International Summit will examine the power of innovation and insight in the creation of a more sustainable world. And the Waterbuild Summit will focus on water quality and human health.
Opening plenary. Amal Clooney, the Greenbuild 2018 Opening Plenary speaker, is a respected human rights lawyer and humanitarian with an impressive track record of work in international law. An Oxford-educated lawyer, she is a frequent adviser to governments on international law and has held a number of posts within the United Nations. Clooney will be joined on the plenary stage by USGBC President and CEO Mahesh Ramanujam. Don’t miss this powerful presentation on Wednesday, Nov. 14.
USGBC updates track. As you plan out your education session schedule, be sure to include a few of the USGBC updates sessions to get the low-down on LEED and other offerings. Enhance your understanding of the world’s most widely used green building rating system with sessions like LEED and Human Health, LEED Residential: The Evolution Toward High Performing Homes, and The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Scoring in Arc.
Happy hour in the hall. Held from 5 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14, this is a great opportunity to interact with Greenbuild exhibitors and other attendees. Walk the floor and connect with industry leaders at the eight pavilions. Check out the Net Zero Zone, powered entirely by on site renewable energy, and explore the Tiny Home Village to see big sustainability ideas in practice on a small scale.
Women in green power luncheon. A sell-out event every year, Women in Green is a meeting of the minds, focused on the role of women in the green building movement. This year’s theme, “Leading with Purpose,” will inspire attendees to think about why they do what they do in their careers, and holistically. With Jessica Grounds, founder of Mine the Gap, keynoting, this year’s event promises to elevate the conversation around representation, pay equity, work-life balance, and more. Register early for this luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 15.
Greenbuild celebration with Buddy Guy. The Greenbuild Celebration offers an unparalleled opportunity to unwind. This year, the celebration will be held at the Field Museum on Thursday, Nov. 15, and will feature a musical performance by seven-time Grammy Award winner, blues legend Buddy Guy.
Special sets. Change your outlook on conference education sessions with the Greenbuild special sets program. Each special set is built around a unique concept or theme and invites attendees to learn differently. This year, the program includes content on zero waste, zero energy, wellness, resilience, and more. The physical spaces where these sessions are held and the style of presentation encourage out-of-the-box thinking.
Education in the expo hall. Combining the very best of the Greenbuild education program with the excitement and energy of the expo hall, Applied Learning Areas and Education Labs offer refreshing content in a novel setting. Understand the direct connection between the products and services on display in the expo hall and the concepts and theories up for discussion in the main conference program. Offered on both Wednesday, Nov. 14 and Thursday, Nov. 15, education in the expo hall is one of the best Greenbuild experiences.
Closing plenary. On Friday, Nov. 16, Greenbuild will welcome the current mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Carmen Cruz, to the closing plenary stage. In September 2017, Hurricane Maria ravaged the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, leading to widespread power outages, lack of suitable shelter, and unsafe drinking water. Cruz has since become a vocal advocate for Puerto Rican citizens, lobbying Congress for aid to restore the power grid and enhance infrastructure.