This month, Greenbuild 09 will occupy much of downtown Phoenix, centered around the new, LEED-certified Phoenix Convention Center. The conference will kick off with keynote speaker Al Gore on Nov. 11 and continue through the 13th. While attendance has swelled since the conference started in 2002, peaking at 28,224 registrants in Boston last year, most analysts expect those numbers to drop off somewhat given the economy.

Organized by the national USGBC, Greenbuild also involves the local chapter to a large degree. “Greenbuild has been a galvanizing event for our USGBC chapter,” says Mark Wilhelm, chair of the Greenbuild Host Committee. “Several hundred volunteers have devoted thousands of hours to making this a memorable event for visitors, but Arizona stands to benefit most. As a result of Greenbuild, we believe the community will be more supportive than ever of adopting green building strategies for a sustainable future.”

The local Arizona chapter is organizing several ‘green street’ parties that don’t require conference admittance as a way to involve the community in the event.

Numerous tours are also planned, bringing visitors to sites across the state, from Tucson’s Reid Park Zoo to Flagstaff’s platinum NAU ARD building. In Phoenix, several themed tours take attendees to a number of innovative public libraries and a tour of Sonoran parks and trailheads.

“Greenbuild is going to be an exceptional educational experience balanced with our Southwest culture and outdoor fun,” Wilhelm says. Visit for more information.

The following pages feature Southwest Contractor’s own tour of projects underway across the Southwest, from a host of projects in Chandler, to Las Vegas and the largest certified hotel in LEED history, to the University of New Mexico’s commitment to energy efficiency.