On Site At Greenbuild
It’s day one at Greenbuild. Crowded and energetic best describes the scene. Everyone seems jazzed. Maybe it’s the optimism inspired by the election results and the promise of an aggressive sustainable agenda from the Obama administration, including initiatives within the green building sector.
In fact, the prez-elect is the most talked about person who isn’t here. He’s been mentioned in every session I’ve attended thus far, including by this morning’s plenary keynote speaker Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Inspirational, motivational and actually funny, the Archbishop applauded the U.S. as “one of the craziest countries I know to have done what you did for the world on November 4th with such verve and enthusiasm.”
This key figure in ending apartheid in South Africa and who continues to inspire transformational change, Archbishop Tutu also praised the work of the green community for the remarkable turnaround from global indifference to climate issues to “ a global village that is sustainable. “We can thrive and prosper – all of us,” he stated.
Recession, what recession? The expo floor is crowded with 1000+ exhibitors and folks eager to check out their goods and services. Sure, most everyone here signed up before the sharp economic decline (waaay back in early 2008) but many continue to be optimistic about a robust green building demand. As Joel Makower reported in GreenBiz, just last week Wells Fargo doubled its commitment to financing LEED-certified construction, to more than $2 billion. However, there’s also nervous chatter of cancelled projects and design staff layoffs.
Signs of transformational change abound within USGBC. Celebrating the organization’s 15th anniversary, CEO and President Rick Fedrizzi recognized the 30,000 people from 80 countries in attendance and the 15,000 people who are watching the conference proceedings online. You can too.
Sounding very Obama-like, Fedrizzi ended his address proclaiming, “This is our time, this is our calling. We’re the people we’ve been waiting for. We are Revolutionary Green.”