Greenbuild conference releases sustainability report

The November 2017 event in Boston diverted 90.5 percent of waste from landfill.

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Informa Exhibitions U.S., Phoenix, and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Washington, have announced the release of the 2017 Greenbuild sustainability report, highlighting metrics and key benchmarks regarding the impact on energy use and waste management at the 2017 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo held last November at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Greenbuild co-located its event with the ArchitectureBoston Expo (ABX).

“We’re thrilled to have partnered with ABX, and together we exceeded not only last year’s diversion rate, but all previous Greenbuild diversion rates, which is a huge accomplishment for Greenbuild and the events industry,” Lindsay Roberts, Greenbuild and ABX group director, Informa Exhibitions U.S., says. “Our hope is that our lessons learned and achievements can be infused across the events industry. Greenbuild is about sustainability in the built environment, but the way the show is produced leads to these sustainability victories highlighted in this report. We cannot thank enough our dedicated partners and vendors for helping us to cross these milestones.”

The report details the sustainability program implemented for the 2017 event through a review of all objectives, goals and best practices. Case studies provide detailed overviews of sustainability strategies and initiatives including waste diversion, attendee and stakeholder engagement, sourcing and donation of materials, performance tracking improvements and community engagement. The report can be accessed online at greenbuildexpo.com or abxexpo.com.

“Each year, Greenbuild looks to raise the bar on sustainability efforts. This is only possible through the support of incredible partners and vendors as well as our Greenbuild Host Committee,” Kate Hurst, senior vice president of conference and events, USGBC, says. “Through our pilot of the TRUE Zero Waste rating system, we elevated our tracking processes and focused on drafting narratives that truly capture our waste reduction efforts."

The report shares the progress of seven sustainability objectives at Greenbuild, including the following highlights:

  • Waste management: Greenbuild saw an overall 90.5 percent diversion rate, the highest in the event’s history, according to USGBC. It’s also a 44 percent increase over the convention center’s baseline diversion rate.
  • Stakeholder engagement: In 2017, attendees of both Greenbuild and the co-located ArchitectureBoston Expo were asked to take sustainability pledges. Attendees could commit to taking specific actions, from bringing a reusable water bottle to selecting local or organic food while on-site in Boston. At the event, these pledges were visualized through an interactive Sustainability Hub culminating in 14,500 pledges on-site.
  • Sustainable sourcing: Carpet on the expo hall floor was cut in such a way that it could later be reused by the general services contractor, Freeman, Dallas. Additionally, exhibitors from Greenbuild and ABX donated more than 25,000 pounds of materials including cement blocks, flooring, carpet, floor tiles and wood, ensuring that it would have a second life. These items were donated to local nonprofits.
  • Performance tracking: Greenbuild/ABX 2017 participated in the pilot project for the Total Resource Use and Efficiency (TRUE) Zero Waste event certification and achieved a Platinum level certification. The TRUE rating system is designed to define, pursue and achieve a facility’s zero waste goals. It can help facilities quantify their performance and find additional ways to improve their progress toward zero waste.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions: Greenbuild and ABX worked with vendors to donate more than 1,500 pounds of food and beverages to the Boston Rescue Mission, a local nonprofit.
  • Community impact: The 2017 Greenbuild Legacy Project, led by USGBC Massachusetts and the Greenbuild Host Committee, chose to support The Green Building Tech Program at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School. The program created early awareness of green building technologies in the trades of facilities management, electrical, plumbing and carpentry.
  • Hospitality industry: An updated on-site hotel audit program reflected the wording found in the hotel sustainability contract clauses. Audit items were placed online for hotel partners to update over the course of the year as they made improvements leading up to the event. The hotels could also sustain these changes after the event was completed.

Greenbuild brings together more than 20,000 attendees and 600 exhibitors from across the green building sector, spanning commercial and residential professionals, architects, building owners and operators, students, advocates and educators, USGBC says. ABX 2017 was owned by the Boston Society of Architects, was produced by Informa Exhibitions and is now owned and operated by Informa.