Jeremy Sigmon

At WaterBuild 2017, attendees from 11 countries worked to solve challenges in water resilience.

According to the World Economic Forum in 2018, four of the top five risks that will have the biggest impact in the next 10 years relate to water. The World Resources Institute asserts that we’re facing a global water crisis, and backs it up with seven key points. National Geographic agrees, and offers its own explanation.

As green building professionals, we may not always recognize our role in addressing these large and looming water challenges. As Dr. Michael Webber shares in his book, Thirst for Power, these crises tend to be about managing for water that’s in the wrong place at the wrong time (too much or too little), and for water that’s at the wrong temperature or quality. As we know, green buildings can help.

We also know that, to address environmental issues, we must "think global, act local." Of course, the greening of one building, district, neighborhood or town may not be very significant at a global level, but together, we can create a movement that has momentum and offers a compelling example for others.

Greenbuild 2018 will take place in Chicago, a city where we held two other Greenbuild conferences. Those events were very green, as the 2007 and 2010 sustainability reports demonstrate. This time around, the conference will also be blue, with the third and final WaterBuild program.

Our 2016 WaterBuild program in Los Angeles kicked off the series with a focus on water scarcity, while also touching on a wide array of topics at the water-and-buildings nexus. The 2017 program in Boston—a city with a long history of managing water abundance—focused on water resilience and, again, also covered a range of other topics. The 2018 program committee is hard at work on developing a program for Chicago in 2018 that will focus on water quality.

WaterBuild 2017 program recap

With nearly 200 attendees from 11 countries, WaterBuild 2017 convened an important conversation on water resilience. Across eight breakout sessions, including one charrette focused on leveraging the SITES framework to help guide more sustainable and resilient riparian development in Boston, attendees connected with one another, earned more than 650 continuing education credit hours, and helped advance our national conversation on sustainability, water, green buildings and resilient communities.


A special thank you goes out to our hardworking WaterBuild program committee from 2017:

  • Andy Bennett, Perkins+Will
  • Doug Bennett, WSI
  • Sandra Brock, Nitsch Engineering
  • David Crawford, Rainwater Management Solutions
  • Daniel Huard, Humann Building Solutions, LLC / Greenview Global, LLC
  • Atiya Martin, City of Boston
  • Jim Proctor, McWane, Inc.
  • Gretchen Rabinkin, Boston Society of Architects
  • Joanne Rodriguez,Tremco, Inc.
  • Ashlynn Stillwell, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Duyen Tran, CH2M
  • Rob Zimmerman, Kohler Co.