New Orleans Backdrop for EnvironDesign2007

March 19, 2007

Conference helps architects connect green products to green projects

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita destroyed more than 200,000 homes and 18,000 commercial and public buildings in Louisiana, and countless more along the Gulf Coast. With much of this region's built environment devastated, the hurricanes were considered one of the greatest natural disasters in U.S. history.

"Like so many Americans, we wondered how we could help," says Mike Stanley, publisher of Interiors & Sources (sister publication of ARCHI-TECH), whose magazine will produce the EnvironDesign2007 conference, to be held May 15-17 in New Orleans. Adds Tim Fixmer, president of Stamats Business Media,"With the encouragement of New Orleans' city officials and local organizations, we chose to hold our conference in New Orleans to highlight the commercial building projects and re-energize the movement to rebuild 'green.'"

EnvironDesign2007 is an annual conference where the commercial architecture and design community explore the latest product rating systems and methods available to determine which building products should be specified to achieve maximum impact on a project's sustainability rating.

Punctuated with keynote visionaries that challenge the way commercial interior designers, architects, and building owners think about green, EnvironDesign2007 brings environmental stewardship and commercial building design together under one roof. Attendees will learn:

  • How to effectively use green product rating systems.
  • The intricacies of various sustainable project rating systems.
  • How project rating systems impact a project's green rating.

Educational Opportunities
A LEED-CI preconference workshop presented by the U.S. Green Building Council will be held May 15, followed by an opening reception.

The evening will be topped off with an opening keynote address by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. titled "A Contract With Our Future." Kennedy serves as senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council; chief prosecuting attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper; and president of Waterkeeper Alliance. He is also a clinical professor and supervising attorney for the Environmental Litigation Clinic at Pace University School of Law and is co-host of Ring of Fire on Air America Radio.

Throughout the conference, attendees can attend additional keynote sessions by such forward-thinkers as Sim Van der Ryn of Van der Ryn Architects. "Surpassibility: The New Eco-Design Frontier" addresses the need for fundamental change in every aspect of our world in the face of not only the design failures evidenced in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, but also the economic, democratic, community, and education failures. David Gottfried, president of WorldBuild and a founder of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), will share some thoughts on how we can use the spheres of influence in our lives to meet and affect the environmental challenges we face in the closing keynote, titled "Stepping Up to Deep Green."

An array of workshops offers additional educational opportunities. Presenters include Deborah Dunning, founder and CEO, International Design Center for the Environment (IDCE); Matt Gray, chairman, Interagency Sustainability Working Group, U.S. Department of Energy; and Kirsten Ritchie, director of sustainable design, Gensler.

Workshop curriculum is focused on four tracks:

  • Specifying Green - trends in environmental certification, navigating IAQ criteria, Environmental Product Declarations.
  • Manufacturing Green - understanding social ramifications of wasteful manufacturing, product reclamation, measuring product performance.
  • Marketing Green - life-cycle costs, marketing green building services and products, balancing green attributes with performance and aesthetic considerations.
  • Green Trends & Case Studies - transforming your business into all green, applying innovative sustainable development principles.

In the Product Learning Center attendees can network with other eco-conscious commercial design professionals as well as event sponsors who will be on hand to discuss their sustainable products and services.

More information and registration are available at

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