The city of New Orleans proved to be a perfect venue for this year’s annual Greenbuild Conference. Once crippled by storm surges from Hurricane Katrina, the city has come back with a vengeance, rejuvenated by a focus on durability and sustainability. Subsequent restorations and rebuilds have included techniques such as building raised structures on stilts, strategic parklands and integrated wetlands to manage stormwater. The realization that we as a country must build and landscape smarter echoes a sustainable movement that has already been spearheaded by this great city in a commitment to its own future vitality.
Inspired by the success of sustainability in action in New Orleans, Greenbuild was once again a rousing victory. On top of all of the more tangible benefits of Greenbuild – education and professional development opportunities alike – the personal connections are what really resonate with me. One of my favorite aspects of the conference is the ability to connect with many of my clients – those from the U.S. as well as abroad – and have them share all of their experiences with LEED for Homes.
During this year’s conference, I was able to engage with many organizations I work with from South America – from countries such as Colombia, Costa Rica and Panama. Most importantly, those who had already experienced LEED projects were able to share lessons learned after implementing the program in their country. This type of sharing proves vital for others who want to remove the stumbling blocks associated with local building practices when expanding LEED to new parts of the world.
In addition to the further expansion of LEED for Homes at the international level, anticipation and excitement around LEED for Homes: Version 4 is in full effect. Set to be the standard in June 2015, this new version will provide a multitude of changes that will strengthen and solidify LEED for Homes for years to come. Developments including a new online platform, EnergyStar Version 3 prerequisites, and removal of accountability forms will make the certification process much smoother and easier to follow. Stricter guidelines will give the certification even more credibility when espousing projects set to achieve the highest level in green building and sustainability.
Following Greenbuild, I find my zeal for sustainability both strengthened and reinvigorated, much like the city that served as the event’s backdrop. I made countless connections and was inspired by leaps in innovation and expertise. I have no doubt that the new and exciting developments unfolding in LEED for Homes will bring us closer to making sustainability more than just an idea, but a standard in building. And as I look ahead to next year’s conference in Washington, D.C., I am filled with anticipation to see industry colleagues again and share stories about our collective progress.
LEED Programs Manager