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PHILADELPHIA-In many respects, going green equates to downsizing, such as decreasing energy or water consumption. In the case of next week’s 2009 BuildGreen Conference being planned by Delaware Valley Green Building Council (DVGBC), expanding its program around the theme “Research, Reinvest, Rebuild” will result in growth–in understanding and attendance, its organizers say.

The conference, being held Oct. 14 and 15, is moving to the Sheraton Center City Hotel in Philadelphia and expanding its program to show how green building can affect local economies, and how various communities, including government, research, manufacturers and investors can work together, says DVGBC acting executive director, Heather Shayne Blakeslee.

“We have more of an extended focus beyond green building products,” Blakeslee says. “With the move to Philadelphia, there was more opportunity for our chapter to be involved.”

The conference, to be conducted at the Sheraton City Center Hotel, is being coordinated by the state’s US Green Building Chapters and the Pennsylvania Green Growth Partnership (PaGGP), and funded through the Ben Franklin Technology Center and the PA Department of Commerce and Economic Development. In addition to DVGBC and the PaGGP, organizers of BuildGreen 2009 include the Green Building Association of Central Pennsylvania, the Green Building Alliance and Philadelphia University.

Keynote speakers and experts will explore the ways investment in research for new green building materials and green building policy will create and retain design and construction jobs, as well as local green building products manufacturing jobs.

“It’s important to show that we have a really strong opportunity to show that green building programs will create opportunities and jobs, in operations, maintenance and technology,” Blakeslee said.

Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell will open the conference by addressing the state of the green economy. Other keynote addresses will be delivered by: Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter; Dennis Yablonsky, CEO of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development; Roger Platt, senior VP of global law & policy from the US Green Building Council, and biomimicry expert Dr. Dayna Baumeister.

The event will cover leading-edge environmentally friendly building materials and methods. It will also link companies and investors interested in creating sustainable products with universities throughout the state.

“We’re trying to pull together stakeholders,” such as the research community, manufacturers and investment community, Blakeslee says.

Educational sessions will include: “Policy: Impacts for the Building and Manufacturing Sector;” “Research: Product Development;” “Case Studies: Going to Market with Green Building Products;” “Economic Development: Green Jobs Through Green Building;” and “Recruiting the Future: Emerging Job markets for Green Professionals.”

The conference will culminate with DVGBC’s Annual Green Building Celebration at the Penn Museum for Archaeology & Anthropology. In addition, the organization will celebrate its DVGBC Leadership Awards honorees: utility PECO Energy; the Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha a not-for-profit organization promoting the welfare and empowerment of the Latino and African-American community, for its affordable green housing program; and Jim Lutz, senior vice president of development for Liberty Property Trust for their green developments.

Moving the conference from Hershey (in 2008) to Philadelphia also is expected to boost attendance to from 350 to 400 attendees, versus the 250 who attended last year, Blakeslee says. Connection is the key.

“If we accomplish our goal, a real conversation will have been started in the city to make green building an essential part of revitalization,” Blakeslee says.

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