The U.S. Green Building Council‚s (USGBC) annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo welcomed more than 28,000 attendees this past November at its show in Chicago, Ill.  Attendees representing various backgrounds, professions and 114 countries filled the exhibit hall floor, educational and speaker sessions, green building tours and networking events that made up the three day long show. The nearly 200,000 square foot expo hall floor featured over 1,800 exhibit booths representing over 1,000 exhibiting companies. Greenbuild is the industry‚s largest gathering of representatives from all sectors of the green building movement.
 
"Generation Green came out in full-force in Chicago, proving that the green energy economy is alive well," said Kimberly Lewis, VP of Conferences and Events. "This year‚s show continued the tradition of providing attendees with three days of education, networking and inspiration."
 
Greenbuild was symbolically kicked-off with an opening keynote address by retired Gen. Colin Powell, who delivered a message of leadership and optimism to a crowd of 10,000. The plenary session also included a discussion between political pundits Mary Matalin and James Carville and remarks from USGBC President, CEO and Founding Chair Rick Fedrizzi.
 
Earlier in the week, Greenbuild hosted a House Committee on Science and Technology field hearing to evaluate the topic of renewable energy integration into buildings.  At the International Forum, 500 international green building leaders from 43 countries around the globe led an inspiring conversation focused on green buildings and communities as engines of economic development.
 
At this year's Green Job Summit, 35 companies, including Bank of America, CB Richard Ellis, Turner Construction Company and Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. and more than 500 job seekers came together to help advance the green economy.  It is predicted that green jobs will support or create nearly 8 million jobs between 2009 and 2013, and contribute $554 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product.
 
More than 1,500 residential building industry leaders attended the annual Residential Summit, which hosted 15 residentially-focused educational sessions and a keynote by former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Henry Cisneros.
 
At Friday's closing plenary featuring Chicago's Mayor Richard M. Daley, the Hon. Shaun Donovon and Paul Hawken, Fedrizzi announced Project Haiti, a commitment to help build the Haiti Orphanage and Children's Center.  Located in Port au Prince, Haiti, the project will pursue LEED certification and will provide the people of Haiti a powerful symbol of hope for the future and a model of sustainable building practices for rebuilding.
 
The launch of two new green building rating systems and the LEED Volume Program coincided with a new report issued at Greenbuild by McGraw Hill Construction finding that the green building industry has grown by 50 percent in the last two years. LEED for Healthcare and LEED for Retail, unveiled during the show, help meet the growing green building needs of the healthcare and retail sectors, respectively, while the LEED Volume Program was designed to meet the certification needs of high-volume property developers.