Attendance at the recent Building Green Conference and Trade Show held on the NSCC Waterfront campus was more than 50% greater than organizers had anticipated. “We’re just thrilled with the way things turned out,” says conference co-chair Jennifer MacNeil.
Co-hosted by the Atlantic Chapter of the Canada Green Building Council and the NSCC, organizers plan to make this an annual event.
And, if this is any indication of things to come, organizers should be planning for a much larger event next year. “When the US green building council got started with their first green conference they had a couple hundred people – and last year in Chicago they had 26 thousand,” points out CaGBC Atlantic Co Chair John Crace. “So that gives you an idea of how fast things can grow.”
Rolling with fast changing situations shouldn’t be a problem for Building Green Atlantic conference organizers. Jennifer MacNeil points out that just a few short months ago this event was simply an idea – “we didn’t know back in January that you’re supposed to take a year and a half to organize one of these events and you’re also supposed to have professional event planning company do it for you. We just had an idea and some volunteers from the building industry – CaGBC chapter members – and the amazing people at the NSCC – we couldn’t have done it without them.”
That’s an approach that must have held some appeal for NSCC president Joan MacArthur Blair – it closely echoes her general philosophy about environmental stewardship.
“It’s all about an idea – a possibility – and you just begin to walk the journey. It may not be easy to complete – but it is easy to start and we can go from there. If every one of our graduates left with environmental stewardship at their core we could change the ways in which things are built.” That goal seems much more achievable when she maps out the numbers.
“We are in the business of influencing 25,000 lives a year . if even half left in the next five years with an understanding of environmental stewardship, what a profound impact we would have on this province.”
The influence of many is a theme that runs through many discussions at this event and in the green building community in general. Chapter Co-Chair John Crace explains “We exist as a green building council – the Atlantic chapter of the Canadian Green Building Council – as part of a country wide network where we are able to use the built environment and the design construction and operation of buildings as doing our part to really mitigate climate change and to have a more responsible approach to stewardship of the environment.”
Conference presenters, delegates and trade show exhibitors spent the day working toward those goals -sharing and discussing ideas, innovation and inspiration.
MacArthur Blair feels strongly about the role of educators in this area. “I see it as an obligation. It’s not an innovation – it’s not a new idea – it’s an obligation; because we are in the business of education – and education should be meeting the world where the world needs us to meet it.” And that’s where the green building community can help. “For me one of the most powerful things about education is playing with ideas. We need you to push us to play with an idea; you want something built? You want to experiment with it? You want a single prototype? – That’s what the phase 2 building is about.”
For Crace the Atlantic Chapter’s partnership with NSCC goes beyond the conference. “We share a common goal with regards to transforming the built environment – we’re looking at the next generation – the students to design, build and operate that new sustainable world. To that end we are using all profits from the conference toward supporting students in the building technologies programs. Details will be available soon on the buildgreenatlantic.org website.”
MacArthur Blair’s closing thoughts about the NSCC could just as easily be directed to a wider audience. “We’re doing a lot and it’s nowhere near enough. We need your help.”
Organizers are already looking forward to continuing the momentum and are already discussing next year’s event.
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Building Green Conference Co-Chair