Green Guide to Green Build - Introduction: Accelerating Green Communities

Oct. 1, 2007

By Rick Fedrizzi 

Writing this letter to welcome you to Greenbuild 2007 triggers memories of the first Greenbuild Conference & Expo held in 2002. Back then, Greenbuild was just starting out and we were thrilled to have 4,000 attendees; today we are expecting upwards of 20,000. It's amazing to see how far the green building movement has come and that growth will be reflected at Greenbuild 2007. 

The conference will explore "Accelerating Green Communities" with outstanding educational sessions, exciting speakers, special events and tours, and our largest exhibit hall ever. Former President Bill Clinton, our opening keynote speaker, will offer the green building community an unprecedented opportunity to hear from one of the greatest philanthropic and environmental leaders of this century. 

And what better venue to hold the conference than Chicago-home to the largest number of LEED®-registered projects of any city in the world, including the new West Building at McCormick Place-the site of this year's show. Chicago is also one of the first cities in the United States to adopt the LEED Green Building Rating SystemTM for publicly-owned buildings. Chicago is an architectural marvel and I encourage you to get out and see the city by participating in one of the many organized green building conference tours that are taking place throughout the show. 

USGBC envisions a sustainable built environment within a generation. As such, the Council began work on its National Schools Campaign this year. School buildings represent the largest construction sector in the United States and by promoting the design and construction of green schools, we can make a tremendous impact on student health, school operational costs, test scores and the environment.

The Council is also working on greening the residential sector, and this Greenbuild marks the conclusion of the LEED for Homes Pilot Program. More than 8,000 homes participated in the pilot test to help refine the LEED for Homes rating system and now it is ready to go to the market. The residential sector is responsible for 21 percent of the nation's carbon dioxide emissions, but LEED-certified homes are on average 30 percent to 50 percent more energy efficient than conventional non-green homes. For more information about green homes, visit http://www.greenhomeguide.org/, an informational Web site jointly launched by USGBC and Newland Communities.

2007 also saw the introduction of a continuous improvement process for LEED, which will create a more flexible and adaptive program and allow USGBC to respond seamlessly to the market's evolving needs. Part of this initiative includes harmonizing and aligning LEED credits across the different rating systems to bring the core elements of LEED into one elegant rating system. This will make the LEED system more adaptive and flexible. Additional LEED initiatives include incorporating Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) into LEED; adding regionally-based credits to the rating system; seamlessly certifying and connecting design, construction, operations and maintenance; and reconfiguring credit organization by environmental impacts in order to respond to specific high priority performance concerns, such as carbon dioxide emissions and climate change. All of these efforts will ensure that the LEED Rating System continues to remain a useful and practical tool for the market. 

With that I would like to welcome you to Greenbuild. Whether it's your first year or your sixth, there is something for everyone. Greenbuild offers an unparalleled opportunity to connect with peers, industry experts, and influential leaders as they share insights on the green building movement and its diverse specialties. Thank you for being part of such an important effort-and thank you for all that you do to make the world a better place for future generations to come.


Rick Fedrizzi

President, CEO & Founding Chair
U.S. Green Building Council


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