Friday, November 21, 2008

Listening To Greenbuild

Things have been a bit quiet here at GBL because I went to Greenbuild this week. Greenbuild is a conference of 30,000+ green building professionals.

I decided not to blog or tweet the conference, but rather to try to really listen to what my green industry fellow travellers were saying. So here is what I heard, in reverse order of importance:

10. Green is becoming mainstream. There were lots of green products providers, but the exhibit hall was primarily filled with the usual suspects in the building industry--Turner, Kohler, skanska, etc.

9. Data is becoming available. A lot of the exhibitors brought nice compilations of data on green building stock. The General Services Agency was giving away flash drives with new data on its large stock of LEED building, for example. The quntification of performance on green buildings should benefit the business case.

8. Fireman's Fund is leading the pack of insurers with green products for building green or insuring green replacement in the event of loss. They are also considering creating a risk product for designers of green buildings.

7. NAHB is going after LEED-H in a big way. A new, more robust NAHB green standard for residential should be out shortly which will give LEED-H a run for its money.

6. Green building policy was well covered, but carbon policy got short shrift. The one session dealing with carbon policy at the state and federal level was cancelled, with no explanation.

5. Enacting green building policies in major municipalities requires LEED APs in relevant municipal agencies to act as agents of change.

4. There was remarkably little concern over the economy's effect on getting buildings built, which seemed strange at a conference for the building industry.

3. The economy tanking may be the push needed to implement basic green changes like energy efficiency and conservation. The next big green thing is likely to be blown insulation, not photovoltaics. [Green Decoder has a nice article on green winterization for a head start]

2. Legal issues, especially risk and liability associated with building green, were little discussed. Where legal issues were highlighted, like a seminar on green leasing, the practioners did not appear to have deep understanding of the green legal issues [Caveat--there was a paid additional seminar on green leasing today that I could not attend--did anyone go and want to comment?].

1. There are no bars open after 2 am in Boston.

I will post more on each of these issues over the coming weeks, and I would welcome other greenbuild attendees to submit their thoughts on greenbuild.


The Green Decoder said...

I look forward to your comments over the coming days and week. The list is great. I have seen the new NAHB standard and it is a work of beauty. It retains many of the features that excited the building community while addressing similar issues as compared to LEED. Nice to see a shift away from the expensive Green Items (PV's) to the more affordable, yet still effective changes to save money and resources.

Elaine said...

Interestingly enough, NAHB in Northern California has endorsed Build It Green's 'GreenPoint Rated' 3rd party rated prescriptive-based system in lieu of its own NAHB Guidelines and LEED-H...

Thanks for this posting. Unfortunate that we could not meet up while in Boston... Looking forward to meeting you at some point soon!

Elaine said...

Thanks for the post. Great list (and yes, Boston shuts down early!)...

Interestingly, NAHB in Northern California has endorsed Build It Green's 'GreenPoint Rated' 3rd party rated prescriptive-based system over its own NAHB Guidelines and LEED-H. Looking forward to seeing how things pan out in California between USGBC (where most of the LEED-H developments are getting built) and NAHB's new standards, especially while the housing market is not doing so well...

Shannon D. Sentman, LEED AP said...

An audience member asked what would result from a situation where a tenant preleased space in a building under construction based on marketing material that included reference to the building being LEED-Silver (or the like), if the building later failed to achieve the earlier advertised rating level.

I responded by saying something like--first, I advise my clients to advertise their buildings as "seeking," or something to that effect, which is aspirational. Second, depending on the situation, if the lease required the landlord to deliver a LEED-Silver building (which I would hope good counsel would not allow), the tenant would have a good argument against the landlord, and then the landlord would go after the designer or contractor if their failure resulted in the issue...which is a whole other session....