This year’s Convergence conference covered a lot of ground. Convening along the banks of the St. John’s River in Jacksonville, Florida, this two-and-a-half-day event brought together USGBC staff and volunteers from across the United States to discuss, share and support each other around the ever-evolving, yet singularly focused mission driving their continued success—market transformation.
After over a decade at the helm of USGBC, cofounder and fearless leader Rick Fedrezzi prepares to step down this fall. We had the pleasure of hearing from Fedrezzi and his incredibly sharp, globally savvy, results-driven successor Mahesh Ramanujam. One thing was crystal clear as we listened to Ramanujam: progress cannot happen too quickly for this former high-tech industry whiz. I’m not sure when he sleeps, as he seems to continually rack his brain searching for new ways to achieve exceptional results.
The themes throughout this year’s conference revolved around social equity, accessibility to green building, engaging beyond the green building industry (sustainability-driven corporations), additional certifications such as WELL, SITES, Parksmart, and the LEED Dynamic Plaque.
The newly expanded portfolio of certifications is interesting. In particular, WELL seems to offer huge potential. As people continually strive for, yet struggle to attain, healthy and well-balanced lives, WELL approaches these goals from within the built environment. WELL addresses the fact that we spend 90 percent of our time indoors, disconnected from that which sustains us—nature. Together, WELL’s seven concepts—air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind—address human health and well-being during the time spent in buildings.
The expanding portfolio of certifications, along with the continuing integration of USGBC communities and USGBC national, combined with the leadership transition to the talented Ramanujam, makes for an exciting horizon within the USGBC community and beyond.