Why You Need To Attend BuildGreen In Philly

Oy. The amount of talk about green jobs and the new green economy is enough to make anyone a little...green.  But what if there was an event specifically focused on bringing great new green products to market? Actually creating new green jobs and new green industry? And what if it were in the fantastic city of Brotherly Love, home to cheesesteaks, the World Champion Phillies, and, of course, Green Building Law Blog? Good news--THERE IS!!

BuildGreen is taking place here in Philadelphia, October 14-15th 2009.  I spoke with Rob Fleming, the Co-Director of the Pennsylvania Green Growth Partnership about the conference.

GBLB: What is BuildGreen?

RF: Buildgreen started three years ago as a project of the Pennsylvania Green Growth Partnership.  The PAGGP is a consortium of universities, companies and nonprofits dedicated to propelling Pennsylvania to be the number one green products and technology center on the East Coast.

Two years ago we ran our first conference in Hershey. The purpose of the conference is to link companies and univertsities together, and to link companies and companies together and to link companies and nonprofits together to develop new green products.

For the past 3 years, the conference has been in Hershey. It had been in Hershey to link to the Pennsylvania state government in Harrisburg to inform them about all the great things happening with the green products. We didn’t get as many people coming to Hershey as we would have hoped. As a response, we decided to relocate to a major city, and this year it is in Philadelphia.

GBLB: What is the focus of the Conference? 

RF: The focus of the conference is not only to link universities doing research on green products with companies to bring them to market, but also to link investors and venture capitalists to inventors of new green products. We can’t rely solely on public money in an industry that we ultimately need a lot of private money.

We also realized there is a lot of interest in the federal stimulus money and other public opportunities. When we were building our session tracks, we were keen to offer people experts that would be useful to support their efforts.  This is a unique educational opportunity and a rate opportunity for groups of people who wouldn’t usually be together to get together for a couple of days for a conference.

The concern is that the general green practictioner--the engineers and architects--doesn’t feel that the educational tracks appeal to them, so we are also running an expo floor that has a resonance for the practioners. The other thing that is important is that not everyone has time or money to go to GreenBuild in Arizona. This is a opportunity to get acquainted with regional green industry.

GBLB: Who is speaking?

RF: One of the speakers we are excited about is Dayna Baumeister from the Biomimcry Guild. Biomimicry is the study of how we can mimic nature’s biological systems and materials to create better human designs, manufacturing and products. For example, people look at spider webs and they are unbelievably strong. If we could make construction materials that perform similarly, we could find efficiencies in the things we make. The army studies beetles and their shells—they have a composite structure that is lightweight but very strong. Part of the focus of the conference is looking at emerging and new materials, so Baumeister will speak about what is on the horizon in terms of green materials.

Another speaker is Dennis Yablonsky, the former Secretary of Commerce for PA. He is going to talk about all the things that PA is doing to make PA the destination state for green products.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is going to participate in the opening session.

GBLB: Who should attend?


  • People who own companies or are starting companies that want to be in the green sector
  • Investors and venture capitalists interested in investing
  • Univ professionals looking to get involved in sustainability
  • Students that want to learn more about the green world
  • Govt officials who want to leanr more about catalyzing the green economy
  • Practitioners who want to be exposed to the cutting edge of green technology
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