GreenerBuilder 2017: Top 3 Takeaways

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GreenerBuilder 2017: Top 3 Takeaways

This year marked a step forward for USGBC’s annual GreenerBuilder conference. The Northern California Chapter (NCC) is the largest USGBC chapter globally, and has been hosting this regional sister event to Greenbuild in the Bay Area for years. Recent changes in USGBC staff—both at the national and local level—were apparent in its revamped format and high caliber content.

The event was held at one of stok’s flagship projects, the Zero Net Energy Center, fittingly the largest ZNE retrofit in the world at the time of its completion. stok’s own Michael Hummel gave a tour of the project’s key building performance features. If you missed it, take a video tour the building here.

With an emphasis on the principle of LEEDership, we’ve assembled a quick highlight reel of our favorite displays of this theme from throughout the day.

1. The Tipping Point

USGBC CEO Mahesh Ramanujam shared some impressive stats during a compelling keynote highlighting the impact of LEED worldwide:

  • LEED will contribute $30 billion to the U.S. GDP by 2018
  • There are 5.77 billion SF of LEED certified space globally
  • The green building market will be a trillion-dollar industry by 2019

Ramanujam also challenged the real estate community as an industry, and as individuals, to assume leadership roles rather than relying on dwindling governmental support to usher in a crucial tipping point for the green building movement.

2. The Future of Wood High Rises

Rebecca Holt of Perkins+Will and Jeff Morrow of Lend Lease captivated the crowd with a promising discussion on the success of Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) in Canada. The innovative yet incredibly simple technique provides a low carbon, low cost, and highly customizable alternative to concrete and steel high/mid-rise construction. Lend Lease has a pipeline of CLT projects across North America, while a record-breaking 18-story timber tower is under construction in British Columbia. Learn about it in this quick video!

3. The Power of the Poop Emoji

Thanks to the great work of former San Francisco Supervisor Scott Weiner, water recycling is now required for large new construction projects in key areas of the city. Urban Fabrick’s Kyle Pickett discussed the power and charm of the Poop Emoji with Jay Paul Company’s Kelly DeWees and San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s Paula Kehoe as way to dispel myths about black and grey water treatment. Roughly 12 San Francisco projects are already slated to install the innovative Aquacell system, including Jay Paul Company’s landmark 181 Fremont project.

Final thoughts

This year’s GreenerBuilder showcased the impact that the USGBC NCC, led by newly appointed Pacific Region Director Brenden McEneaney, is having on development across the Bay Area. The impactful event was yet another illustration of the growth and resiliency of the ever-expanding green building industry—a sentiment echoed by Mahesh Ramanujam when he likened the green building movement to U.S. commitments, public and private, to stick with the critical Paris Agreement. An invigorating display of the power of green buildings and bold leadership, GreenerBuilder 2017 delivered on the inspiring and actionable message that if we LEED, we can make our vision for a better world a reality, together.

This article was written by Christian Park. Christian works with stok’s engineers, architects, and sustainability specialists to align resources and solve challenges for clients.