Amanda Komar

Co-located with ArchitectureBoston Expo, Greenbuild 2017 achieves a record-breaking waste diversion rate of 90.5 percent and 25,000 pounds of donations

Informa Exhibitions U.S. and USGBC have announced the release of the 2017 Greenbuild Sustainability Report, highlighting valuable metrics and key benchmarks regarding the impact on energy use and waste management at the 2017 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, held last November at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Greenbuild co-located its event with the ArchitectureBoston Expo (ABX).

“We’re thrilled to have partnered with ABX, and together we exceeded not only last year’s diversion rate, but all previous Greenbuild diversion rates, which is a huge accomplishment for Greenbuild and the events industry,” said Lindsay Roberts, Greenbuild and ABX group director, Informa Exhibitions U.S. “Our hope is that our lessons learned and achievements can be infused across the events industry. Greenbuild is about sustainability in the built environment, but the way the show is produced leads to these sustainability victories highlighted in this report. We cannot thank enough our dedicated partners and vendors for helping us to cross these milestones.”

The comprehensive report details the sustainability program implemented for the 2017 event, through a review of all objectives, goals and best practices. Case studies provide detailed overviews of sustainability strategies and initiatives including waste diversion, attendee and stakeholder engagement, sourcing and donation of materials, performance tracking improvements and community engagement. The report can be accessed online at or

“Each year, Greenbuild looks to raise the bar on sustainability efforts. This is only possible through the support of incredible partners and vendors as well as our Greenbuild Host Committee,” said Kate Hurst, Senior Vice President of Conferences and Events, USGBC. “Through our pilot of the TRUE Zero Waste rating system, we elevated our tracking processes and focused on drafting narratives that truly capture our waste reduction efforts."

The report shares the progress of seven sustainability objectives at Greenbuild, including the following highlights:

  • Waste management: Informa Exhibitions; USGBC; the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center; the general services contractor, Freeman; and local vendors worked together to optimize waste management strategies, resulting in an overall 90.5 percent diversion rate. This is the highest in the event’s history and a 44 percent increase over the convention center’s baseline diversion rate.
  • Stakeholder engagement: Greenbuild is unique in that sustainability practices permeate the entire event; it’s produced in a genuinely sustainable manner. In 2017, attendees of both Greenbuild and the co-located ArchitectureBoston Expo were asked to take sustainability pledges. Attendees could commit to taking specific actions, from bringing a reusable water bottle to selecting local or organic food while on site in Boston. At the event, these pledges were shown through an interactive Sustainability Hub, culminating in 14,500 pledges.
  • Sustainable sourcing: Carpet on the expo hall floor was cut in such a way that it could later be reused by Freeman. Additionally, exhibitors from Greenbuild and ABX donated more than 25,000 pounds of materials, including cement blocks, flooring, carpet, floor tiles and wood, ensuring that they would have a second life. These items were donated to local nonprofits.
  • Performance tracking: USGBC and Informa were thrilled to have Greenbuild/ABX 2017 participate as the pilot project for the TRUE Zero Waste event certification and achieve a Platinum-level certification. The TRUE rating system enables facilities to define, pursue and achieve their zero waste goals. It helps facilities to quantify their performance and find additional ways to improve their progress toward zero waste.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions: One of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions worldwide is landfill and food waste. Working with vendors, Greenbuild and ABX were able to donate more than 1,500 pounds of food and beverages to the Boston Rescue Mission, a local nonprofit.
  • Community impact: The 2017 Greenbuild Legacy Project, led by USGBC Massachusetts, the Greenbuild Host Committee, chose to support The Green Building Tech Program at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School. The program created early awareness of green building technologies in the trades of facilities management, electrical, plumbing and carpentry and exposed the next generation of building operators and trade workers to a wide range of “green collar” jobs.
  • Hospitality industry: An updated on-site hotel audit program reflected the wording found in the hotel sustainability contract clauses. Audit items were placed online for our hotel partners to update over the course of the year as they made improvements in the lead-up to the event. The hotels could also sustain these changes after the event was completed.

Greenbuild, owned and operated by Informa and presented by USGBC, is the world's largest conference and expo dedicated to green building. Each year, the three-day conference brings together 20,000+ attendees and 600 exhibitors from across the green building sector, spanning commercial and residential professionals, architects, building owners and operators, students, advocates and educators.

ABX is the largest building and design industry event in the Northeast. ABX 2017 was owned by the Boston Society of Architects, was produced by Informa Exhibitions and is now owned and operated by Informa. This year’s Greenbuild conference takes place at McCormick Place in Chicago; ABX remains in Boston.