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    Billion-Square-Foot Greenbuild

    by Katherine Salant

    "The USGBC has just reached a historic milestone," announced Rick Fedrizzi, president and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council. "We have one billion square feet [93 million square meters] of LEED-certified construction."

    Speaking to an audience of thousands at the organization's annual Greenbuild conference and expo, held in Chicago in November 2010, Fedrizzi also cautioned the cheering crowd, "We're still at the beginning of the journey."

    At Greenbuild 2010, that journey included a diverse array of lectures, panel discussions, and other sessions. The USGBC also launched two new green building rating systems — LEED for Healthcare and LEED for Retail — and the LEED Volume Program, which enables high-volume property developers to streamline certification through a prototype-based approach.

    Retired U.S. General and former Secretary of State Colin Powell, the keynote speaker for the opening plenary, encouraged audience members to be leaders in green building. "In every organization, it is critical to maintain a purpose beyond the day-to-day routine. You must not be merely clear," Powell implored the audience. "You must be passionate about green building and show them the intensity of your actions."

    Powell also applauded the successes of the green building movement to date, including the extent to which LEED has become mainstream. One green building project that Powell is personally familiar with is the General Colin L. Powell Apartments, located three blocks from his childhood home in the Longwood section of the Bronx. The seven-story, 50-unit affordable housing project is certified LEED Platinum, and received a 2010 LEED for Homes Award from the USGBC.   >>>

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    The 2010 Greenbuild International Conference & Expo was held in Chicago, Illinois. Chicago's Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) is undergoing a major, LEED certification-seeking retrofit focused on energy conservation.
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    Retired General Colin Powell was the keynote speaker at Greenbuild 2010.
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