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The World At Our Doorstep

DVGBC to hold fifth annual Spring Sustainability Symposium

Greenbuild Conference & Expo puts Philadelphia in the spotlight by Emily Kovach

by Julianne Mesaric

Imagine starting your day with a breakfast where you are privy to some of the top minds in the sustainability industry. Afterwards, you head to a lecture by Sheryl 20-22 WuDunn, co-author of the New York Times bestseller Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. Then, full of inspiration, you explore an expo featuring the world’s leading green building and design products and services. Later that afternoon, you attend an educational session titled “Reinventing Philadelphia Through Green Infrastructure,” and are flooded with practical applications for the info you absorbed in earlier sessions. Finally, as the sun sets over the Philadelphia Convention Center, Hillary Rodham Clinton takes the stage to deliver a keynote speech.


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of committed volunteers will be coaxing conference-goers out of the Convention Center and into Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. Toward this goal, 35 Greenbuild tours — open to the public — have been organized in the city and surrounding region. The Navy Yard, the University of Pennsylvania, the Ben Franklin Parkway and many other locations will be on display. And since Philadelphia is largely defined by its neighborhoods, they will be highlighted as well. “The architects, city planners, policy makers and manufacturers [at the conference] want to be outside of the Convention Center walls, which is why we’ve organized the tours and compiled a list of neighborhood gems to help them with wayfaring during the event,” says Blakeslee. “This will give a sense of the real communities in Philadelphia, which is what makes our city really shine.”


Sound too good to be true? Well, from November 20 – 22, more than 30,000 people will descend upon Philadelphia for the 2013 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo for a day just like the one described. This is a special year for the conference: its first appearance on the East Coast since 2008, its first time hosted in Philadelphia, and the 20th anniversary of the U.S. Green Building Council. Heather Blakeslee, Deputy Executive Director for Communications and Strategic Initiatives at the Delaware Valley Green Building Council (DVGBC), thinks this is the perfect opportunity to put Philadelphia on an international stage. “We are a national leader on many fronts,” she says of Philadelphia. “And as a chapter, our biggest goal is for people at the conference to come away with an understanding of just how amazing all of the work that’s happening here is.” A major focus of the DVGBC and its multitude

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When Brad Molotsky sketched a program outline on a napkin one night over beers, he had no idea it would become the first NJ/PA Sustainability Symposium. The region’s most prominent sustainability conference, it attracting 400 attendees to Rutgers University Camden in March 2010. An executive vice president and general counsel at Brandywine Realty Trust, Molotsky co-founded the Symposium with Lori Braunstein, now the Director of Green Schools for DVGBC. “I wanted to host an event that serves as a convener of folks to talk about disparate and different topics under the larger umbrella of sustainability and energy efficiency,” says Molotsky, who is now a DVGBC board member. More than 1,000 attendees are expected to come to Temple University, Friday, March 7, 2014 for the fifth annual symposium, now hosted by Temple University’s Fox School of Business. In addition to keynote speeches and presentations from innovators in a variety of disciplines, a new networking lounge will help attendees to interact and assist each other in achieving their goals. “We invite people to come out of their silos, and to branch out of their individual professions and sectors,” says Braunstein. “The DVGBC considers this dialogue a catalyst for how change happens.” That dialogue will also include a forum where Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial candidates will be asked about sustainability issues. The Forum will be free and open to the public.


Tickets to the symposium can be purchased beginning December 15 at

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