GreenBuild 2007 Conference
by Brian Libby
More than two hours before the 9 a.m. opening session for Greenbuild was set to begin in Chicago's McCormick Place conference center, that largest of U.S. convention centers (in square footage) was already bursting at the seams. If you were looking to register for the conference, the line might be negotiated by lunchtime. If coffee tempted, the line at the in-house Starbucks snaked all the way into a sky bridge around the corner from the store.
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Part of the reason for the incredible popularity of Greenbuild 2007, particularly on that first morning of November 7, was the keynote speaker: former U.S. President Bill Clinton. But the crowds did not dissipate after Elvis left the building. Everywhere one went at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo — the U.S. Green Building Council's annual showcase of ecologically friendly and resource-efficient design and construction — some 22,000 attendees were along for the ride.
"Wow, wow, wow!" exclaimed Rick Fedrizzi, founding chairman of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), as Greenbuild got underway. At the conference's first incarnation in Austin, Texas, in 2002, he recalled, there were only about 8,500 attendees "sharing ideas with the chair." But today, Fedrizzi told the audience, "We're hearing that voice everywhere. It's so powerful it will never go back again."
Today there are some 40,000 projects in the United States and beyond that are accredited through the USGBC's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, totaling about 3.2 billion square feet (300 million square meters). But with only about one in every nine buildings going "green," Fedrizzi cautioned, "We've got a lot more work to do."
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Former U.S. President Bill Clinton delivered the keynote address at the 2007 Greenbuild conference, hosted by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Photo: Gregers Reimann
Hundreds of booths for "green" products and services filled the exhibit hall during the 2007 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo.
Photo: Drew Saunders
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