USGBC Releases 2016 Sustainability Report

Record-breaking waste diversion rate of 90 percent and first year water restoration initiatives among highlights

Informa Exhibitions U.S. and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently announced the release of the 2016 Greenbuild Sustainability Report, highlighting valuable metrics and key benchmarks regarding the impact on energy use and waste management at the 2016 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, held last October at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles.

“Each year, we celebrate our victories with the release of this report and set the bar a little higher for the next year, to continue positively impacting the events industry with environmentally responsible management in the planning, operations and execution of Greenbuild,” said Lindsay Roberts, Greenbuild group director, Informa. “Sustainability is the heart of Greenbuild and we celebrate many successes from our 2016 event, including the highest waste diversion rate ever for Greenbuild, which is a testament to many hours, weeks and months that went into planning Greenbuild by our dedicated team and partners.” 

The comprehensive report details the sustainability programs implemented for the 2016 event, through a review of all objectives, goals and best practices. Case studies provide detailed overviews of sustainability strategies and initiatives including waste diversion, attendee and stakeholder engagement, the impact of water, performance tracking improvements and community advancements. The report can be accessed online at

“The Greenbuild Sustainability Report highlights the collaborative efforts made to reduce waste and energy use as well as our commitment to leave a lasting legacy in the cities we visit,” said Kate Hurst, vice president of Community Advancement, Conference & Events. “By working closely with the Los Angeles Convention Center, we were able to set a record high waste diversion rate for Greenbuild that demonstrates to our entire community and industry how small changes in behavior can have a lasting effect. Every year, we work tirelessly to ensure that we inspire the people and places we visit to implement green strategies that will positively impact generations to come.”

The report shares the progress of seven sustainability objectives at Greenbuild, including the following highlights:

  • Waste Management: Informa Exhibitions, USGBC, the Los Angeles Convention Center, Greenview, Levy, Freeman and local haulers worked together to optimize waste management strategies resulting in an overall 90 percent diversion rate. This was an 18 percent increase over the convention center’s baseline diversion rate. These efforts included front-of-house composting at the convention center and Celebration venue as well as a new waste management process for back-of-house and new instructional signage to educate attendees on sorting waste at LACC.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: Water was on the forefront of everyone’s mind at Greenbuild 2016 and a new summit, WaterBuild, was launched to convene change makers and discuss sustainable water solutions for drought-stricken California; for the first time, Greenbuild purchased water restoration certificates to balance water use at the convention center. In addition, by simply sending a text, attendees made a personal pledge to Change the Course and returned 33,000 gallons of water to regional ecosystems in need.
  • Sustainable Sourcing: Approximately 56 percent of all food was sourced locally and 87 percent was sourced regionally; and décor at the Celebration was sourced and re-purposed from collected items from the various offices within LA Live and the Staples Center.
  • Performance Tracking: Greenbuild recognized an opportunity to begin measuring and calculating a water footprint of the event, which enables the show to examine ways to reduce the footprint and manage our consumption; exhibitors contributed to the overall sustainability of Greenbuild with a simplified version of greening guidelines where each company was given a score from 1 to 100, benchmarking their sustainability efforts. The average score was 77.2.
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions: For the third year, Greenbuild showcased the “Net Zero Zone”— a 4,500 square foot pavilion powered by solar panels, installed on-site at the Los Angeles Convention Center. In partnership with TerraPass, Greenbuild offset 100 percent of event emissions to make the event carbon-neutral.
  • Community Impact: The 2016 Greenbuild Legacy Project, led by USGBC-LA, the Greenbuild Host Committee, chose to support in updating a warehouse in an underserved community in Gardenia, CA, into an interactive educational workshop called the Eco-Tech Maker. The project focused on updating its current S.T.E.A.M (science, technology, engineering, art, math) curricula, hands-on learning and environmental stewardship to the Eco-Tech Maker Space.
  • Hospitality Industry: This year, the host committee was focused specifically on advancing sustainability efforts for hotels by offering a LEED Gap analysis for hotels within the official Greenbuild block, and even set out on foot within a 1.5 mile-radius of the convention center to spread the word on sustainability to the local businesses.

Greenbuild, owned and operated by Informa and presented by USGBC, is a three-day conference that attracts more than 20,000 attendees and 600 exhibitors annually from across the green building sector, spanning commercial and residential professionals, architects, building owners and operators, students, advocates, and educators. 

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