Great minds in the green building industry converge on Greenbuild China 2019

Azure Pan

Greenbuild China, the flagship event in the Asia Pacific region for sustainability professionals, returned to Shanghai for a third time. In 2019, Greenbuild China conference took place Oct. 23–24 at W Shanghai The Bund, with more than 900 attendees learning about the latest in green building products, technologies and innovations. The event also saw 86 expert speakers from around the world descend on the city to share best practices, expertise and insights that will help shape the future of the green building industry.

Mahesh Ramanujam, President and CEO of USGBC and GBCI, announced the launch of Living Standard in China in his opening plenary address, explaining that “the heart of the green building community’s efforts must go well beyond construction and efficiency, and the materials that make up our buildings. If we want to position China as a leader in the fight against climate change, we must dig deeper. If we want to ensure our conscience outweighs our penchant for complacency, then we’ll have to do a better job at identifying and communicating the stakes. We’ll have to focus on what matters most within those buildings: human beings. Because, after all, the standard we are most committed to raising is that of the quality of life itself—for every member of this community, and in populations spanning every corner of the planet."

Mahesh Ramanujam at Greenbuild China 2019

Mahesh Ramanujam emphasizes at Greenbuild China that more than anything else, green building is about people.

Toward a greener, more resilient future

This year’s four major themes—“Toward Net Zero: Present and Future,” “Green Buildings and Cities in 2050,” “Sustainable Living: Production, Consumption and Lifestyle” and “Build Climate Resilience, Improve Quality of Life”—inspired powerful discussions across 31 stellar education sessions on topics such as low-carbon cities, ROI and cost benefit analysis of green buildings, smarter and greener buildings of the future, and climate-resilient design.

The “Women in Green” Breakfast Seminar, one of the key events in the conference’s robust programming, saw a lineup of female professionals delve into the growing trend of sustainability in the fashion and retail industries, recognizing the important role women are playing in driving a sustainable future.

Additionally, a series of preconference technical workshops with a combined length of seven hours, held before the official opening of the two-day conference, brought together USGBC’s LEED Technical Committee members and GBCI’s reviewers and industry experts to provide participants with an in-depth look into LEED v4.1 Residential and Transit programs, as well as the information needed to pursue certification.

Andy To, Managing Director of USGBC and GBCI North Asia, commented, “Greenbuild is committed to providing engaging educational offerings that deliver innovative and inspirational content to green building professionals. I believe when great minds meet, great things can happen. Greenbuild China serves as a perfect platform for industry leaders, game-changers and frontline professionals in the green building community to inspire, motivate and drive change.”

Andy To at Greenbuild China 2019

Andy To expresses his gratitude to all the participants at Greenbuild China.

The concept of green building has evolved

“Not long ago, three economists won the 2019 Nobel Prize for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty. I think the result is an indication that research in nontraditional fields of economics that focuses on addressing sustainable development and quality-of-life issues has started gaining [an] increased spotlight,” said Jing Wang, Director of USGBC and GBCI North Asia, at the Industry Trends Luncheon session of the conference.

“Furthermore, BNP Paribas’ 2019 Global ESG Survey found that corporations in general are seeking to broaden the focus on the financial bottom line to include social and environmental responsibilities, as investors continue to demonstrate a strong commitment to integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) in investment decisions,” said Wang.

Jing Wang at Greenbuild China 2019

Jing Wang speaks at a luncheon event.

“Businesses nowadays are taking a more proactive stance on ESG issues, and the catalyst is coming from socially responsible investors and stakeholders who put money towards ethical causes, as well as take a longer view of performance," Wang continued. "With socially responsible investing on the rise, the concept of green building and sustainability is expanding. Application of green building practices has extended from office buildings to data centers, retail and logistics facilities. Green building certifications are pursued not only by projects in large cities, but also by the manufacturing plant in Changhua County, Taichung, the exhibition hall in Datong, Shanxi province, the data center in Ulanqab, Inner Mongolia, and the McDonald’s in Dazhou, Sichuan province. Green buildings are not a privilege for the few any more, but part of everyone’s life.”

According to the data in USGBC's most recent market brief, as of Sept. 2019, with more than 5,300 registered projects and more than 2,200 certified projects across the region, totaling over 310 million gross square meters of space, North Asia is leading and accelerating the transformation to high-performing green buildings and a sustainable built environment.

Outstanding leadership is powering a sustainable future

At the conference, USGBC was also honored to announce the recipients of its 2019 Leadership Awards, an annual recognition of the outstanding individuals and organizations at the forefront of the green building community. The recipients are:

  • Sammy Hui, Business Development Leader, Building and Construction, Dow
  • McDonald's China
  • Beijing Construction Engineering Group

Another noteworthy feature of the Leadership Awards is the award trophy, which is made with materials recycled from construction waste, presented by BCEG Resources Recycling.

Building Leadership Awards at Greenbuild China 2019

Representatives of the 2019 Greenbuild China Leadership Awards recipients.

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