We are counting down the final days to the 2014 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, held this year from Oct. 22 to 24 in New Orleans—a city that’s proven itself to be a living lab for the triumphs and challenges of environmentally sustainable recovery. Check back here every day for the next two weeks to find a new reason to attend the event, from the global speakers list to the local gastronomy. Register now. We’ll see you there! 

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Hanley Wood

Go to be inspired.
From enlightening talks to innovative technology, Greenbuild gives a voice to the people behind the push for environmentally sustainable design and construction. This year’s “Master Series” of speakers features experts in a range of fields. Hear Dr. Deepak Chopra discuss mind-body wellness and the human environment; listen to Iraq war veteran and triple-amputee Bryan Anderson explain the challenges faced by returning, wounded veterans; and learn about social entrepreneur Ajaita Shah’s work to bring solar-powered electricity to rural Indian communities.

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Hanley Wood

Go to see this year’s Greenbuild LivingHome.
The latest green-building practices and technologies come to life in The Greenbuild LivingHome, which will take center stage on the event’s tradeshow floor as an example of the future of sustainability in residential design. The 1,550-square-foot modular demonstration home is anticipated to meet the requirements of the LEED v4 Platinum and Energy Star v3 certifications. The home was designed and developed by Santa Monica, Calif.–based LivingHomes in partnership with ARCHITECT’s publisher Hanley Wood, Make It Right, and the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. It will be featured at booth No. 1139 on Wednesday, Oct. 22 and Thursday, Oct. 23 from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Following this year’s Greenbuild, the home will be permanently placed on a Make It Right site in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward. This video takes viewers behind the scenes of the project.

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Josh Haner/The New York Times

Go for David Brooks’ closing keynote.
This year’s closing plenary, held on Friday, Oct. 24, will feature a talk by political and cultural commentator David Brooks. His latest book, "The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement" (Random House, March 2011), uses the story of a fictional couple to explain the role of neuroscience and sociology in understanding the cultural and political landscape in America. The book reveals the unconscious mind as the conveyor of emotions that ultimately drive decision-making. Brooks is a columnist for The New York Times and contributes to other media outlets including NPR’s “All Things Considered” and the PBS “NewsHour.”

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Go for the education.
Finding time to maintain professional certifications can be a challenge. But like eating your vegetables, completing continuing education courses (CEUs) is a must. Use the roster of accredited CEUs on offer at this year’s show to keep your credentials up to date. The classes are divided among 12 categories and cover topics from policy and energy to health and materials. Five themed tracks, called “Special Sets,” offer studio-style presentation formats and interactive discussions.

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Timothy Hursley

Go for Trahan Architects' Louisiana State Museum and Sports Hall of Fame.
The design of New Orleans–based Trahan Architects’ award-winning 2011 Louisiana State Museum and Sports Hall of Fame seamlessly presents two museum collections, emphasizing the importance of athletics in local history. Set in historic Natchitoches, La., the Modern structure has become a cultural landmark for the impoverished region and beyond. Its copper louver–clad façade reinterprets the porches and balconies of nearby buildings while inside, a cast-stone core milled to emulate the flow of an adjacent waterway guides visitors through the galleries. Trahan collaborated with Case in New York to model the project, an effort that won the pair a 2012 BIM Excellence Honorable Mention award from the AIA’s Technology in Architectural Practice Knowledge Community.

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Hanley Wood

Go for the latest green-building tech.
Get your hands on the latest products and technology from more than 800 suppliers and manufacturers in the green-building sector with a visit to the show’s Expo hall. Talk with product and materials experts and watch demonstrations of new technology. It’s not all specs, however. Greenbuild will host a happy hour in the Expo hall on Thursday, Oct. 23, for attendees to mingle, network, and scope out the new products.

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Mary Helen Leonard/Flickr

Go for the historic neighborhoods.
Just steps away from the newly renovated Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, where this year’s Greenbuild will be held, are neighborhoods that reflect New Orleans’ rich architectural history. Visitors to the French Quarter historic district will find an array of structures that date back to the early-19th century in French, Spanish, and Italian architectural styles. Get an inside look by touring the Gallier House, a townhouse designed and built in 1857 by and for local father and son architect duo James and James Jr. Gallier; the New Orleans gem offers some of the best examples of ornate, cast-iron latticework and solid-wood French doors in the area. Head to the historic Jackson Square park for people-watching and shopping and have lunch at the nearby open-air French Market, which is the country's oldest public market. Further west is the historic Garden District neighborhood, which hosts a wealth of Greek Revival and Italianate homes that have traditionally housed the city's elite. Magazine Street, on the neighborhood’s southern border, draws attention for its supply of antique shops, art galleries, and boutiques.

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Go for the sustainable recovery.
As part of the show’s green building tours, visit the city’s Lower 9th Ward to see the rebuilding work undertaken by nonprofit Make It Right following the devastation of infrastructure caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Initiated by actor and producer Brad Pitt’s Pink Project in 2007, the nonprofit’s work has grown to include 100 sustainable, affordable homes that have earned LEED Platinum certification through the use of Cradle to Cradle design principles, the organization says. Pitt and Berlin-based Graft rallied 21 architects and firms, including Gehry Partners, Morphosis, Kieran Timberlake, and Shigeru Ban, Hon. FAIA, to design the single- and multifamily homes. 

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Phil Roeder/Flickr

Go for lunch.
New Orleans’ cuisine is in a class all its own, characterized by a mashup of Creole, Cajun, African, French, and Spanish influences, among others, realized in comfort foods that can be found at haute restaurants and buffet-style diners alike. Local specialties include the fried, doughy beignets (shown) and savory dishes such as crawfish étouffée, seafood gumbos, fried shrimp po’boys, and the standby red beans and rice. Not sure where to start? Ask the locals.

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Kenneth Lu/Flickr

Go for the movies.
Twelve movies, documentaries, and other short films are on the docket for this year’s Greenbuild Film Festival. Screening from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 22 and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 23 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, this year’s films will take viewers all over the world to address topics ranging from climate change to the future of farming and organic food.

View the full schedule here.

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The National World War II Museum

Go for the tours
Get some fresh air by taking one of Greenbuild’s full- or half-day building and site tours held on Oct. 20th, 24th, and 25th. Sites include the Mississippi riverfront, New Orleans’ Central City neighborhood, the campus of Tulane University, nearby urban farms, and New York–based Voorsanger Architects’ multi-phase, downtown National World War II Museum, whose completed portions include the 2009 Solomon Victory Theater (shown).

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Fujoshi Bijou/Flickr

Go for the music
There’s no better city in America to experience jazz music than in what some regard as the birthplace of the genre. The theme of this year’s Greenbuild, “Leadership Jazz,” plays to the music of the green movement, created by unified voices spreading their enthusiasm and creating a melody for change. In true New Orleans fashion, the conference will be both a celebration of the advancements in the green movement and an animated march into a hopeful future. And who better to kick off the fun than the Alabama Shakes and New Orleans native, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue? They’ll be performing in the Superdome on Wednesday, Oct. 22, immediately following the opening plenary.

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Bridget Coila/Flickr

Go for the architecture
What is a “camelback shotgun house”? And how do you differentiate among a porch, a balcony, and a gallery? At Greenbuild, spend some time off–site learning about its host city's rich architectural history, which is rooted in a variety of styles from French Creole to Greek Revival, and from Neoclassical to Arts and Crafts. Use this app from AIA New Orleans to familiarize yourself with local building types and to help navigate the city. Or, take one of Greenbuild's guided tours for a look at the region’s most sustainable structures. If you crave a more spine-chilling journey through the city’s streets, delve into the paranormal with one of the many ghost tours offered in the historic French Quarter. Named one of the most haunted cities in America, New Orleans can supply uncanny tales of lingering spirits on nearly every block.

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Raymond Baltar

Go for opening speaker Paul Hawken
Hawken will kick off Greenbuild with his talk at the New Orleans Superdome at 6 p.m. on Oct. 22. A former press coordinator for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s staff, the environmentalist, entrepreneur, and author has since studied how commerce impacts the environment and has founded some of the country’s first sustainable-food businesses. He’s been interviewed on the "Today" show, "Talk of the Nation," and "Charlie Rose," and has authored seven books, including “Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution,” (Little Brown, September 1999). He’ll talk at Greenbuild about how sustainable building can impact climate change.

Editor’s note: Hanley Wood has a strategic partnership with USGBC regarding the ownership and management of the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. For more information on that relationship, click here.