The 2016 Greenbuild International Conference & Expo wrapped up last week. In case you missed the show — or didn't have the chance to attend all the exciting events — we've rounded up some of the most notable observations and insights from speakers and expert attendees during the conference:
"What is sustainability to us? It’s about people. At the end of the day, what are we trying to sustain? Think benefits, not features. It’s about the people in the buildings, not about the buildings."
— Geoff Dutaillis, group head of sustainability at Lendlease, discusses the motives behind the developer's goal to continuously improve its sustainability efforts.
"Designing sustainably and resiliently not only is more homework for the architects and engineers, but embraced at the core of design efforts, it can become a design driver. ... A lot our work is fed by a rejection of the traditional dichotomy where it’s either this or that. It’s either sustainable or enjoyable. This idea of the cold shower you endure because it’s good for the environment. But what seem to be opposites can actually coexist perfectly."
— Bjarke Ingels, Danish architect and founder of the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), explains his company's approach to sustainable design. During the closing plenary, Ingels used his projects to show how he seeks to bring beauty and resiliency to communities.
"Sustainability was a goal to be achieved, but now it has absolutely transitioned into the mainstream. To me, 100% of construction is affected by sustainability."
— Alex Carrick, chief economist of ConstructConnect, describes the shift he's seen from sustainability lingering on the periphery of the industry to reaching mainstream importance in recent years.
"The growing economic inequity is a threat to our civilization on par with the threat of climate change. Their symptoms and causes are deeply intertwined, and so are their solutions. Sustainability is about the people. It’s about loving my neighbors as I love myself. None of us can continue to operate under the perception that clean energy is a luxury good."
— Michelle Moore, CEO of Groundswell, a nonprofit that aims to organize community power to bring economic equity to the energy sector. She encouraged other green building leaders to recognize that green living should not be exclusive to the wealthiest Americans.
"With millennials and this changing demographic of who’s going to buy homes, are we seeing more demand for energy efficiency? I would say yes. Now in our consumer preference data, we’re seeing additional signs of energy efficiency awareness. ... The importance of saving on utility expenses ranks really high. Energy Star is on the list of must-haves. Buyers are looking for that new energy-efficient product, and that’s something new homes can provide over existing [homes]."
— Robert Dietz, chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders, shares his predictions for the growing popularity of energy-efficient home features among younger buyers.