Business, education and construction industry leaders from across the Greater Rochester, New York Region joined together at a forum examining ways of "Turning Green into Growth."

The forum was hosted by Greater Rochester Enterprise (GRE), an economic development organization dedicated to revitalizing the Rochester regional economy; Stantec, an international architectural and engineering firm; and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a non-profit coalition of industry leaders working to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy. The event aimed to give local industry leaders practical tools to move toward „green‰ building, and to help move Rochester toward the goal of being a clean energy leader.

The day-long forum, held at Benderson Development‚s HSBC Auditorium in downtown Rochester, was the brainchild of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is committed to looking at ways to position Rochester and the region as one of the nation's centers of inovation for alternative energy technologies.

"Green building means big energy and cost savings for communities across America," said Sandy Wiggins, chairman-elect of the U.S. Green Building Council."On average, LEED-certified green buildings save 30 percent on energy costs, 50 percent on water-use costs, and pay for themselves in less than three years. Going green is a key strategy for our nation‚s energy independence and a peaceful, prosperous future. It just makes sense."

"This forum is about building a „green" Rochester and harnessing the region's strengths to make it a leader in clean energy research and development," Senator Clinton said. "Alternative energy holds tremendous economic potential, and by focusing on 'green' technology, Rochester can be at the forefront of the alternative energy push in more ways than one."

In June of this year, Senator Clinton joined with New Jobs for New York, Greater Rochester Enterprise, and RENEW NY to host a conference in Rochester showcasing the job creation potential of the alternative energy industry in New York State. The conference, "Alternative Energy in New York: Expo 2006," brought together entrepreneurs and academic researchers from Upstate New York with investors and industry leaders from across the country to create the partnerships needed to accelerate job growth and ignite investment in alternative energy companies and technologies in the region. Following the conference, Senator Clinton's office contacted the Green Building Council, which agreed to hold the "Turning Green into Growth" forum.

The "Turning Green into Growth" morning session included Senator Clinton's keynote speech and a discussion moderated by Senator Clinton that included panelists Peter Arsenault, Principal Architect, Stantec Architecture; Eric Reiser, Vice President, Strategic Programs, Johnson Controls; and Jay Murdoch, Technical Marketing Manager, Insulation Systems Business, Owens Corning. Arsenault highlighted Stantec's role in the design of the Frito-Lay green-building project in Henrietta, a suburb of Rochester.

"It was a great experience for Stantec to work with Frito-Lay, a client that had a true desire to make an impact on the built environment by pursuing a sustainable facility," Arsenault said. "If the entire Rochester Region embraced these same green-building goals, one can only imagine the possibilities for the future."

The morning session was followed by an afternoon charrette design session, which highlighted the Rochester Region‚s assets and focused on potential green-building opportunities for the entire area. Stantec and USGBC led this meeting of community leaders, including architects, engineers, developers, and municipal and university planners.

"GRE is proud to support the growing alternative-energy industry in Rochester," said James Senall, managing director, business development, at GRE and the organization's expert on alternative energy. "Events like today‚s can only help in educating local business, government and university leaders - as well as the general public - about Rochester's potential. If we work together, we truly can become a national center by turning green into growth for the Rochester Region."