This was my second year attending GreenBuild and I arrived in Boston knowing what to expect and fully prepared. I had my agenda - meetings scheduled, educational sessions highlighted and the tradeshow floor mapped out. I was booked to stay for twice as long this time, four days instead of two to really get a chance to embrace the experience. I was ready.

Yet still, it was impossible to see and do everything I wanted. There is simply too much happening at once to take it all in. I haven't seen an official head-count yet but 25,000 attendees were expected to be perusing the 1,400+ booths and 100+ seminars. Overwhelming is an understatement!
The expo floor is so massive that it would take weeks to visit every booth. You really have to be selective on who you want to visit or you'll end up missing so much. All this, and you have keynote speakers, educational seminars, off-site workshops, green building tours and special events happening simultaneously. Perhaps the USGBC should consider hosting a permanent tradeshow somewhere?

Even though I wasn't able to accomplish everything on my agenda, GreenBuild was a huge success for me, thanks in part to switching back to regular from decaf while I was in Boston. Caffeine is like fuel for the trade-show attendee and I certainly was more productive because of it. This leads me into one of the small things that bothered me about GreenBuild 2008. At one point, I asked for a lid for my cup of Starbucks, and was told by an employee that there were none because "they don't make green lids yet." Naturally, I proceeded to spill coffee on my hands and shoes as I was buzzing around the expo. The only other beef I had was the coat-checking situation. If you were there, you know what I'm talking about. I don't think it got out of the 30s that week, so you have 25,000 people that need to put their coats somewhere once they get inside the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. 25,000 and only two coat-check areas! They were "full" mostly and the time that I was able to check my coat, when I returned to retrieve it, I joined the herd of 10,000 other people looking for their jackets in a single-file line. I call this the USGBC's version of the "Green Mile." The coat checks were to few, too small and understaffed for a trade show in New England in November. The good news is, I doubt this will be an issue next year since it will be in Phoenix.

Aside from these two things, I must say that overall, the GreenBuild planning team did a much better job this year in Boston than in Chicago last year. I love the rich history of Boston and as a visitor, the city has so much to offer, none of which I had time for, of course. The Boston Exhibition and Convention Center is a great venue for a massive trade show like GreenBuild. I had just been there in May for AIA so was already somewhat familiar with the layout of the building, which helped. Unlike last year, picking up my badge was a breeze and the shuttle bus system was convenient. Among plenty of other environmentally conscious details, there were manned recycling stations throughout the expo floor. The cups from the water coolers were made from that corn-based plastic that you see used in a lot of organic food packaging. I found this out when the recycling attendant stopped me from throwing the cup in with the other plastics and instead had me drop it into the compost bin. Like most trade shows, the food in the cafeteria was nothing spectacular but we were lucky to find the Legal Seafood Test Kitchen only a couple blocks away, which made a great lunch escape.

There is much more but I will continue my GreenBuild experience in another post.

Stay tuned!

ted hettick

business development manager
we’re into building things through marketing, design and public relations

1 comment:

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