Like many professionals in USGBC’s networks, our staff looks forward to Greenbuild each year to meet up with friends, learn new things, see the latest products and visit beautiful green buildings. The Center for Green Schools has put together a few ideas to help you navigate the conference and get the most out of the experience.
First, check out the session descriptions on the Greenbuild website and filter for the K–12 “Market Sector” to find all of our K–12 recommended sessions. Here are just a few to keep an eye out for:
- Benchmarking sustainability: "From Steeple to Students: Benchmarking as a Learning and Advocacy Tool" (Wednesday, 3–4 p.m.) shares insight into using benchmarking to benefit community organizations. You’ll also see how schools are connecting benchmarking with student learning, including the efforts that USGBC is undertaking to support this important connection.
- Indoor environmental quality in schools: Two sessions on Thursday and one on Friday address the impact of buildings on student health and performance. The Thursday afternoon session, from 3–4 p.m., features several researchers who were awarded U.S. EPA grants to work on the topic. Hear them explain their findings from hundreds of schools around the U.S. in "Can School Buildings Make Kids Healthy and Smart? Innovative Explorations and Findings by EPA’s School Health Research Grantees."
- Net zero energy and more: Other sessions feature green building professionals discussing experience with net zero energy schools and campuses, pathways to designing a building to serve as a teaching tool and other relevant and timely topics.
Don’t forget about special events during and around Greenbuild:
- Greenbuild tours: Several special Greenbuild tours will explore green schools in and around Chicago. The city has some of the most exciting school building activity in the nation, and one tour on Friday afternoon and two on Saturday will feature different approaches to green school design and construction, as well as community engagement.
- Communities and Affordable Homes Summit: On Tuesday, three summits delve deeper into specific topics that are at the forefront of our minds as a green building community. The Communities and Affordable Homes Summit will explore community resilience and equitable development, setting the tone for our collective work in the upcoming year.
- Local event with student chefs: After you’ve enjoyed the Happy Hour in the Expo Hall on Wednesday, head over to the Cooking Up Change event, hosted by the Healthy Schools Campaign (HSC), which features students who create and serve their own recipes within school nutrition budgets. HSC has offered Greenbuild attendees 50 percent off tickets—use the code “greenbuild” when purchasing.
Center for Green Schools team members will be available during the conference, as well. Phoebe Beierle will be leading programming for our School District Scholarship recipients, who have been awarded a free trip to Greenbuild and other professional development support throughout the school year.
Also, for the third year in a row, USGBC will be inviting a large group of high school students to the conference to learn about careers in green building and construction. This year, Jenny Wiedower will be leading the program and hosting these students. Sound like fun to you? Contact us to get involved.