On Friday, Greenbuild 2013 wrapped up in Philadelphia with the hypothetical passing of the torch to the USGBC Louisiana Chapter, which will host the event in New Orleans next October.

Throughout my four days at the event, I was encouraged to witness the increased dialogue among manufacturers, design professionals, non-profit organizations, and third-party certifiers. In the educational sessions I attended—which generally focused on material and product transparency, human health, and research and technology—the content discussed and debated by presenters and attendees was refreshingly apolitical and scientifically grounded, and even more so for someone who lives in Washington, D.C.

  • Nate Silver, fivethirtyeight.com founder, delivered the closing plenary on how big data can lead to big problems. He began his presentation by jokingly thanking the former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Jon Bon Jovi for being terrific warm-up acts. Clinton delivered the Greenbuild Keynote and Bon Jovi performed the night before.
    Nate Silver, fivethirtyeight.com founder, delivered the closing plenary on how big data can lead to big problems. He began his presentation by jokingly thanking the former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Jon Bon Jovi for being "terrific warm-up acts." Clinton delivered the Greenbuild Keynote and Bon Jovi performed the night before.

If I didn’t realize it before, the USGBC’s selection of Nate Silver to give the closing plenary was quite apropos. Though he doesn’t—dare I say—have expertise or a particularly strong interest in the building industry, Silver knows how to extract the salient takeaways from the noise of big data, and how people can misinterpret and manipulate data. Who better to continue the notion that sustainability is a nonpartisan issue than someone who constantly seeks the objective world of numbers?

Editor's note: Ecobuildingpulse.com's parent company, Hanley Wood, recently entered into a strategic partnership with USGBC regarding the management of Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. for more information on that relationship, click here.