Greenbuild 2008 draws 29,752 AEC professionals to Boston

December 01, 2008 |

It's hard to believe that just two years ago the U.S. Green Building Council celebrated a milestone attendance record for its annual Greenbuild conference when it finally cracked the 10,000 mark in Denver. The 2008 installment of Greenbuild, held last month in Boston, drew more than twice as many AEC professionals—a telling sign that green building has truly become big business.

BD+C's editorial team was among the 29,752 people who attended Greenbuild 2008. Here's our report on the show:

USGBC's Templeton to head certification institute

The Green Building Certification Institute has named Peter Templeton as president. Templeton previously served as SVP of education and research for the U.S. Green Building Council, where he led the annual Greenbuild Conference & Expo, green building initiatives, and LEED training and professional certification programs. He joined the USGBC in 2000 as the organization's second employee.

Earlier this year, Templeton helped spin off GBCI from USGBC, creating a separate entity tasked with administering the certification and credentialing programs related to green buildings, starting in 2009. The GBCI will also oversee credentialing for the LEED Accredited Professional program.

LEED 2009 will roll out in '09

LEED 2009 has arrived! The long-awaited update to the LEED green building certification program passed member ballot and will be introduced in 2009, changing how commercial buildings can achieve LEED certification.

Major changes introduced by LEED 2009 include incorporation of regional credits, a re-weighting of credits, and a greater focus on improved energy efficiency, reduced carbon emissions, and other environmental and human health outcomes.

Also to be introduced alongside LEED 2009 is process innovation for technical advancements, including a pilot process for individual credits that will allow major new technical developments to be tested, evaluated, and possibly incorporated into LEED.

Earlier this year, the USGBC held public comment periods for LEED 2009, during which the program garnered nearly 7,000 comments. The final ballot was approved November 14 by USGBC's 18,000 member organizations.

Green properties still a top priority among building owners

Despite a difficult economy and uncertain real estate market, commercial building owners are still allocating resources to greening their portfolios, according to the “2008 Green Survey: Existing Buildings.” More than 80% of survey respondents said they have allocated funds to green initiatives in 2008, with 45% reporting plans to increase their sustainability investments in 2009. The survey was conducted by Incisive Media's Real Estate Forum, FMLink, the U.S. Green Building Council, the Association for Facility Engineers, and the Building Owners and Managers Association.

Other significant findings:

Energy conservation is the most widely implemented green program in respondent properties, followed by recycling, water conservation, and Energy Star product programs.Almost 70% of respondents implemented some type of benchmarking system to monitor energy usage and efficiency; 80% said their energy-efficiency efforts have helped defray rising energy costs.66% of respondents indicated that they do not have a green lease. However, 55% of respondents said they provide their tenants with an operations manual that includes good energy management practices.41% of building operating plans include a professionally developed energy strategy staff education program.9% of buildings had some form of green certification (mostly Energy Star or LEED).

Access the complete survey:

LEED progress not enough to curb climate change

Green buildings are having a positive effect on saving energy, water, land, materials, and indoor environments, but the progress is insufficient to adequately curb global climate change, according to the “Green Building Impact Report,” coauthored by Rob Watson, executive editor of, and Elizabeth Balkan.

The report is the first integrated assessment of LEED's impact on energy, water, land, materials, and indoor environments, and the first to assess how much green buildings have improved the environment.

According to the report, the carbon footprint of commercial buildings in the U.S. will need to decline each year by about 1.6% to reach a reduction goal of 80% by 2050. LEED buildings are already ahead of this goal, according to the report, but the entire building sector needs to hit these marks to have a real impact on global warming.

Among the report's findings:

Land. Nearly 400 million vehicle miles traveled have been avoided by occupants of LEED buildings, owing to efficient locations and transportation options. By 2020, LEED buildings are expected to eliminate more than four billion vehicle miles.Water. Expected water savings from LEED commercial buildings will grow to more than 7% of all nonresidential water use by 2020.Energy. LEED buildings consume about 25% less energy than comparable non-LEED buildings. By 2020, energy savings should amount to more than 1.3 millions tons of coal equivalent each year, which equals the elimination of about 78 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.Materials and resources. LEED-certified projects account for $10 billion in green material purchases, and could rise to $100 billion by 2020.Indoor environments. Companies with employees working in LEED buildings realized annual productivity gains exceeding $170 million, owing to improved indoor environmental quality. By 2020, this figure could reach nearly $2 billion in annual productivity gains.

The report can be accessed at:

Architects' clients demand green buildings, says Autodesk/AIA survey

The 2008 Autodesk/AIA Green Index reports that 42% of architects surveyed said clients are asking for green building elements on a majority of their projects, and 47% of those clients actually implement green building elements, an increase of 15% from the 2007 survey. Two-thirds (66%) of surveyed architects cited client demand as the primary influence on their practice of green building. Architects said they believe that the primary reasons their clients are asking for green buildings are reduced operating costs (60%), marketing (52%), and market demand (21%, up from 10% in the 2007 survey).

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