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Report from Greenbuild USA

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I never thought I’d long for ExCel!


Very busy days here at Greenbuild dashing about between my three presentations and book signings  – one for UKTI and two on the Autodesk stand.  The San Francisco convention center occupies three buildings on adjacent blocks which makes for a lot of rushing between venues. Because Greenbuild is operated by the USGBC - also home to LEED, there is a top down corporate feel  – no GreenShoots umbrella for startups here. Manufacturers invest less in their stands which makes for a rather drab expo floor.  Steep entrance fees ($600 for GBC members and $800 for non-members) rule out all but the committed, which number over 30,000. 

On the positive side, the green debate is more rounded: less exclusively focused on carbon and more talk of healthy buildings, materials and biodiversity. At the opening plenary, Google announced a $3million grant to the USGBC to look at healthy building materials, an initiative in line with their recent LEEDGold fitout of their London offices. The grant will be used to support research, promote transparency and engage industry stakeholders.  Also at the plenary, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said that ‘the future of marketing is philanthropy’ as people search for meaning in today’s world. Consumers and employees are searching for meaning so companies are likely to invest in meaningful marketing campaigns – say $4 million to do something worthwhile and another $1million to tell people about it.

Atelier Ten’s San Francisco office (6 strong with 5 women) hosted a Greenbuild party. Patrick Bellew is working the crowd with a snappy foldout brochure featuring his WAF win with Gardens by the Bay. Peter Clegg drew a good crowd to his fringe event on ‘universities in the city’ (Leeds Met, Manchester Met and Belfast), the subject of FCBStudio’s new book.  I also caught up with Nottingham’s Sergio Altamonte who is at Berkeley researching occupant comfort – is there a difference between how people feel in LEED and non-LEED buildings? Also bumped into ex-WilmottDixon’s George Martin, now at Coventry University, on his way to a post-occupancy monitoring seminar.

Rushing off now to closing plenary with Bill McDonough. More later.

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