The U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) 2007 Greenbuild Conference and Expo in Chicago was bursting at the seams. The 23,000 attendees, 850 exhibitors showcasing green products and services, and more than 90 standing room only educational sessions at the November event were testament to the sustainability movement's growing strength and future.

Although registration lines were long and there were not enough lunches, green-minded attendees braved the crowds for a look at the hottest trends and developments in sustainable building.

Rick Fedrizzi, USGBC's CEO, welcomed almost 8000 people and announced several new initiatives at the opening plenary session. Green-build 365 (www.greenbuild365.org) is a web-based portal for green building education. The Green Home Guide (www.greenhomeguide.org) provides tools and resources for home buyers interested in greening their homes. The Green Playbook for Green Buildings and Neighborhoods (www.greenplaybook.org) provides strategies, tips, and tools for cities and counties to address climate change through green building, green neighborhoods, and sustainable infrastructure.

Autodesk vice president Phil Bernstein also presented new research into sustainable design modeling. The AutoCAD software company's concept would be the next generation of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) on-line. It would track and document LEED credits as a building is designed and submit the project for LEED certification once it is completed.

Keynote speaker President Bill Clinton stressed that going green is good economics, although he admitted he was probably “preaching to the saved” with the Greenbuild audience. He announced the Green Schools Retrofit Program, a major partnership between the Clinton Climate Initiative, the USGBC, GE Real Estate, and the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. (See the GreenSite feature on page 51 for more on Clinton's address.)

The amount of collaboration within the building community and the popularity of Greenbuild 2007 reflect growing interest and investment in sustainability. Even The Wall Street Journal newspaper, available to attendees for free one day of the event, included a special section dedicated to the environment.

A video of Greenbuild speakers is at www.greenbuild365.org. For more details about USGBC programs, visit www.usgbc.org. For information about the benefits of green schools, visit www.buildgreenschools.org.