After months of planning and preparations, Greenbuild International Conference and Expo once again flew by in a blur of activity, this time taking over Chicago Nov. 17-19. With an estimated 1,800 exhibitor booths filling the expo hall, many hours of continuing education presentations, big-name keynote speakers, and numerous local tours, along with various parties and networking events, this year’s show offered a multitude of offerings to its estimated 30,000 attendees.

Among the highlights showcased in this special Greenbuild wrap-up are several announcements from the USGBC, including the official launch of two new components of the LEED green building rating system. LEED for Retail is the ninth version of the rating system and specifically targets high-performance retail projects such as apparel stores, banks, big box stores, electronics stores, and restaurants. The LEED Volume program is a new addition to the system that is designed to meet the certification needs of high-volume property developers. For more information on both offerings, check out this newsletter’s first news story. The USGBC also announced the debut of LEED Automation, a new program that collaborates with third-party technology companies to streamline LEED certification. See our Tech Tools section for more information.

Also celebrated at Greenbuild were the 2010 winners of ECO-STRUCTURE's annual Evergreen Awards. All of this year’s winners, as well as several members of the 2010 jury, and other Greenbuild attendees and Eco-Structure readers joined ECO-STRUCTURE for a celebratory lunch on Thursday, Nov. 18. If you’ve not yet browsed through your copy of our November/December issue featuring this year’s four winners and one honorable mention, they are highlighted in today’s newsletter. And, stay tuned to eco-structure.com for video interviews with each of our winners, which will be posted over the coming month.

In other ECO-STRUCTURE-related news, the night before our Evergreen Awards luncheon and celebration, more than 150 invited industry professionals gathered to recognize Alex Wilson, the second winner of The Hanley Award for Vision and Leadership in Sustainable Housing. Wilson was selected from 12 distinguished nominees, and at the dinner, he received not only the award, but also a $50,000 grant. Click here to read the impetus behind choosing Wilson as this year’s nominee in his profile in Ecohome magazine, Eco-Structure’s sister magazine.  
 
Of course, with so much to see and do in three short days, it’s hard to capture it all in one newsletter. Here at ECO-STRUCTURE we’re looking forward to exploring topics raised at Greenbuild, products introduced in the exhibit hall, and other industry initiatives over the coming months. Stay tuned to our upcoming newsletters and issues for more information. In the meantime, we’d like to hear from you: What were the most exciting things you saw or heard while in Chicago? Send us your thoughts via email at kweeks@hanleywood.com, via Twitter at @ecostructure, or via Facebook.