Friday, November 29, 2013

Greenbuild 2013: A Milestone for Green Construction

Last November, Greenbuild, easily the largest green building conference in the world, not only brought together the most important politicians, proponents, and luminaries in green construction, but also brought to the fore pressing issues in sustainability. The conference is an enlightening exposition that will let you know more or less where the industry is heading.

There are three important lessons to be learned in Greenbuild 2013:

1.    Health and education are two important principles that go hand in hand.
The agenda of the conference showed the regard for both education and health, with several sessions dedicated to health education. USGBC and the UL Environment partnership also announced in the expo that they will be putting up a Center for Green Building and Human Health. LEED v4 stepped by introducing the Materials and Resources (MR) section, while manufacturers have also started labelling their products in conformity with the upcoming MR requirements. The private sector, in full recognition of the connection between health and green construction, has given a $3 million grant to USGBC for research on healthy building materials.

2.    What matters are the outcomes.

Strategies are important, but outcomes are ultimately what matter. In the previous LEED standards, certified projects put a premium on strategies and energy models. There is more focus on outcomes in LEED v4, especially with the new LEED Dynamic Plaque, a web-based performance dashboard that continually monitors the waste, transportation, energy, and “human experience” of the LEED building real-time. This means that the rating of a building will be constantly re-scored depending on its daily performance.
3.    Scalability and going local are important.

Scalability is also a pressing concern in the summit, as the challenge to handle a system with a growing number of global design problems became clear. One of the discoveries of the summit was the 2030 Palette, which helps in building an increasing number of sustainable and low-carbon environments worldwide by giving design professionals the tools they need to take action in an accessible manner.

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