The U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, which closed last Friday, featured four days of networking, educational sessions, green building tours, master speakers and plenary events. The 140,208 gross square meters of the North and South building expo floors of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre were fully sold out and comprised 1,700 booths, 20 percent of which were Canadian companies. An estimated 23,000 showgoers attended, down from last year's 27,000.

The theme of automation was woven through this year's educational sessions and programming, foreshadowing what's in store for Greenbuild 2012. LEED Automation emerged as a critical theme for the future of the LEED green building process, and since 2010, USGBC has been working with multiple LEED Automation partners-companies that are streamlining and changing the way LEED projects are documented and certified.

"LEED Automation and the idea of automation itself is a critical piece in not only 'What's Next' for green building but also 'What's Next' for LEED," said Scot Horst, SVP, LEED, USGBC. "Next year, as we look to launch LEED 2012, the update to the LEED program, we're working with our stakeholders to get it right."

LEED 2012 just completed its second public comment period and is anticipated to launch at Greenbuild 2012, taking place Nov. 13-16, 2012 in San Francisco, Calif.

This year, 233 exhibitors received USGBC's Green Exhibitor Award, which is a voluntary program that encourages sustainable practices on the expo floor above and beyond those required by the Greenbuild Mandatory Exhibition Green Guidelines (GMEGG), the greening requirements which all Greenbuild exhibitors must met or exceed. The award recognizes the best of sustainable booth construction and tradeshow practices.

"We had a fantastic show in Toronto this year," said Kimberly Lewis, vp, Conferences and Events, USGBC. "We celebrated 10 years of the conference by taking a look at 'What's Next' for green building and the future of our cities and nations. Now we look forward to next year in San Francisco, home to technological innovation and new ideas."

The closing plenary session featured Canadian Minister Lisa Raitt, Minister of Labour; first polar explorer to lead a team to both North and South poles, Robert Swan; principal at John Picard & Associates and natural systems expert, John Picard; Australian artist/technologist and director of NYU's xdesign Environmental Health Clinic, Natalie Jeremijenko, and other international thought leaders. Mayor Michael Bloomberg's New York City office was presented with the 2011 Leadership Award, commemorating the Mayor's extensive sustainability efforts throughout the city.

"So glad USGBC has brought together such an impressive group," Mayor Bloomberg said in his video presentation during the closing plenary. "You will reshape the world."

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