An Institution of Greener Education

brave-new-world-0810If you’re serious about sustainability, you must be committed to being educated on key concepts, technology and emerging trends. But, this type of education can be difficult to find! From green building materials to Cleantech, there are a number of associations and publications out there, but it can be overwhelming trying to decide which will provide the best fit. So, I have a few suggestions on how to wade through the resources to derive the best educational benefit.

First, find one or two resources and stick with them. Whether you subscribe to a journal such as Sustainable Industries or watch monthly webinars from the U.S. Green Building Council, try to find a medium that is comfortable with you and stick with it. Otherwise, there are so many fantastic and interesting resources out there that you can easily find yourself swimming (perhaps drowning) in a sea of them!

Next, I encourage you to go outside of the industry to discover emerging trends. You will learn about everything from B Corporations to Biomimicry. The idea is to take these innovations and apply the inspiration or concepts to our industry. Finally, engage in conversations! Get out there and start talking to sustainability experts. The best way to do that is to attend a conference that focuses on sustainability. Here are a handful you might consider:

  1. ISSP, International Society of Sustainability Professionals (May, Chicago): I like this one because it has a blend of our industry topics (green architecture) with some that may have relevance (sustainability in the industrial sector).
  2. AASHE, Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (November, Nashville): You will find a fantastic variety of topics that are relevant, not to mention an amazing opportunity to do targeted networking! This conference is where I first learned about the Living Building Challenge (I’m a fan).
  3. CISBAT International Conference (September, Lausanne, Switzerland): This is a good international option, focusing on topics around the built environment. It’s primarily solar and renewable energies, but I’ve learned quite a bit from this industry on power – or, more specifically – power management.
  4. ISSST – International Symposium on Sustainable Systems & Technologies (May, Cincinnati): This conference was formerly the IEEE International Symposium on Electronics and the Environment. It seems to have a great mix of sessions, including quite a few on technology, which sets it apart from some of the other conferences.
  5. SB13 Graz – Sustainable Building Conference 2013 (September, Graz, Austria): Another international conference, this one presents the interesting topic of “Blue Buildings and Green Products.” Also touches on Smart Cities (something we AV folks should be highly tuned into).

This is just a handful of some of the more unique and interesting conferences out there. Of course, you will always benefit from visiting the granddaddy of all green events, GreenBuild, or networking and learning at local events too. If attending a large conference like this just isn’t feasible, you should at least commit yourself to attending one or two sessions focused on sustainability at the industry events you do attend.

Whichever events or resources you choose, the key is to continue the conversation with peers and others both within and without the industry. It’s a great way to learn more while also staying encouraged and motivated. Do your best to take the information you gather, glean what might be useful to our industry and then apply to your work. That will be the key to innovation and help you sustain your Green AV initiatives.

Midori Connolly is the founder of AVGirl Productions in California. She wrote the first-ever set of Sustainable Staging best practices after discovering none existed. She was the co-chair of the AV committee for the ASTM Standard for Environmentally Sustainable Meetings and is a speaker, writer and consultant for green practices in live events and meeting planning. Reach her at