We are counting down the days to the 2013 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. Every day that passes until Greenbuild arrives, look here for a new reason to attend—from speakers, tours, and sessions to continuing education opportunities to the City of Brotherly Love's renowned attractions. Register now to be a part of Greenbuild Nation in Philadelphia, Nov. 20-22.

20. Go for the birthday party.

Will Clayton/Flickr

The USGBC turns 20 years old this year and the organization is ready to celebrate. This year also marks The World Green Building Council's 10th birthday. Check out this video, in which the USGBC's co-founder David Gottfried reflects on the past two decades and identifies 10 factors that have helped it grow. Then head to Philly for a look at what to expect from the USGBC in its next 20 years.

19. Go to act like a colonist.

Luigi Crespo/Flickr

Built in 1773, the City Tavern Restaurant is one of the oldest food-service establishments in America, and it certainly is one of a kind. Nestled in the heart of Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood, this eatery charms patrons with its costumed wait staff and wins their hearts with delicious specialties such as Thomas Jefferson's sweet potato biscuits and Revolution-era ales made using George Washington’s and Benjamin Franklin's recipes. We're told a pint of their cider is a proven way to warm up a chilly Philly night.

18. Go for the legacy.


Philadelphia’s Smith Memorial Playground

and Public Workshop partnered on the 2013 Greenbuild Legacy Project to create a youth-built “Adventure Playground” (seen under construction above) at Smith’s historical facility in the city’s East Fairmount Park. With more than 180,000 visitors to the park each year, the project is designed to challenge perceptions of risk, play, sustainability education, and the role that young adults play in the design of their cities. Greenbuild attendees may also visit the site as part of a full-day green building tour on Saturday, Nov. 23. More information here.

17. Go for the feedback.

Credit: USGBC

The LEED Certification Work Zone returns to Greenbuild as the place for project teams to interact with LEED project reviewers. Have questions about a LEED project review or the certification process? Step inside the WorkZone to meet one-on-one with LEED reviewers. The LEED Certification Work Zone will offer refreshments and can be found in Room 125 on the center’s 100 Level at the following times: Wednesday: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Walk-ins are welcome but advance appointments also are available. Book your appointment here

16. Go for the new products.

Charles & Hudson

The Expo Hall will be open Wednesday, Nov. 20 and Thursday, Nov. 21, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Learn about new and exciting innovations in the building-product industry and take advantage of the opportunity to examine products and watch demonstrations first-hand. The show’s four pavilions will feature smart-grid technology, wood products, concrete solutions, and 500-mile LEED “regional credit” products.

15. Go for the CEUs


Whether you are a long-practicing architect or a newly minted LEED Green Associate, finding the time to maintain your certifications can be a challenge. That’s in part what tradeshows are for. Greenbuild provides plenty of opportunities for you to keep up your credentials. The continuing education units (CEU) are offered during three time slots each day of the show and cover a wide breadth of topics. Review the schedule and pick out your must-attend CEUs.

14. Go for the networking.

TOKY Branding and Design

The Greenbuild Expo Hall is not just a space for the show’s more than 900 exhibitors to display today’s preeminent green-building products. The hall will also serve as the venue for a happy hour at which attendees can mingle, eat and drink, and scope out the latest wares. The event will take place from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 20—the happiest hour of all!

13. Go for the classic American marketplace.

Kait Privitera, Flickr

Markets have long been a part of Philadelphia’s history and Reading Terminal Market, which opened in 1892, is one of the city’s—and the country’s—finest. Located across the street from the convention center and home to more than 80 vendors, the market today is filled with local produce, fresh eggs, milk, meats, seafood, spices, and handmade crafts, as well as a diverse selection of bakeries and restaurants, making it a great spot to grab a bite to eat in between sessions. Tip: locals pronounce it “redding.”  

12. Go for the urban jungle

Postdf/Wikimedia Commons

The Philadelphia Zoo, like many of the city’s attractions, was America’s first. The zoo’s planned opening in 1859 was delayed until 1874 due to the Civil War. Today, it is home to a Rare Animal Conservation Center, as well as to a simulated habitat that houses animals found on the African plains and an environment designed to accommodate a range of leopards, pumas, lions, and tigers. Visitors also can see the classic animal houses found in most other zoos—birds, bears, monkeys, kangaroos. You get the idea. Take a respite from the bustling expo to visit this convention of creatures.

11. Go for an iconic morning run. 


The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s 72 stone steps were made famous with Rocky’s debut in 1976. Many years (and sequels) later, tourists still reenact Sylvester Stallone’s famous climb to the top. Roll back the alarm one morning and do the same. And don’t forget to add “Gonna Fly Now” or “Eye of the Tiger” to your MP3 player before you tie up your laces.

10. Go for the cheesesteaks.

Tim Hawk/Flickr

Throw your diet out the window for one day and chow down at Pat’s King of Steaks. Legend has it that the cheesesteak made its official debut in 1930, when south Philadelphia hot dog vendor Pat Olivieri threw some beef on the grill. A taxicab driver noticed the alluring aroma and asked for his own steak sandwich. As the story goes, rumors of the delicious lunch spread and cab drivers around the city came to Olivieri demanding steak sandwiches. Soon after, Olivieri opened Pat’s King of Steaks on the corner of 9th Street and Passyunk Avenue to sell his new creation. He later added cheese to the recipe and today, Pat’s grills are sizzling 24 hours a day—as are those at nearby rival Geno’s. For 40 years, the two restaurants have waged a friendly competition to win the title of best cheesesteak in town. Whether the story is true, we can’t say for sure. You’ll just have to try one of each and let us know which you prefer.

9. Go for the celebration (aka Bon Jovi).


C’mon, admit it: You’re a little bit excited to see Bon Jovi rock out at this year’s opening plenary and celebration. Who knew that when he isn’t singing about love being bad medicine, Jon Bon Jovi is a proponent of green initiatives through the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation? Dust off your air guitar and block off some time to rock out on Nov. 22.

8. Go for the creative culture.

Susan NYC/Flickr

The Barnes Foundation displays one of the finest collections of Post-Impressionist and early Modern paintings, with extensive works by Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, and many more distinguished artists. The museum, too, is a work of art. Located in the heart of Philadelphia’s Center City neighborhood and designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, the structure melds the museum’s past and present. Read more about The Barnes Foundation’s AIA Honor Award.

7. Go for Philly's greatest and greenest.

Rhys A/Flickr

Get out of the convention center with a tour of Philadelphia’s latest sustainable projects. From skyscrapers to renovated warehouses, this year’s tours will showcase the city’s sustainable neighborhoods and buildings. Attendees can sign up for half-day or full-day tours.

6. Go for the summits.

Sebastiaan ter Burg

Greenbuild’s summits, held on Tuesday, Nov. 19, offer attendees the opportunity to take an all-day, deep dive into one of three topics: international green building, affordable housing, and materials and human health. Catch a panel of mayors discussing the value of green building, watch industry leaders share ways that affordable housing can incorporate resilient design, or “speed date” with manufacturers and representatives of Cradle to Cradle, the Health Product Declaration, and Green Screen. 

5. Go for the career opportunities.


The green-building workforce is expected to surpass 8 million individuals by the end of 2013, a testament to high-performance design's growing scope of influence. The show's Green Building Job Fair provides networking opportunities to U.S.-based green building professionals looking to meet with like-minded companies and individuals. Use Greenbuild to your advantage and get to know the other participants—they could help connect you to your dream job.

4. Go for the passionate people. 

Aalto Creative Sustainability

Each year Greenbuild’s Master Series brings together leaders from a range of industries who promote green building and sustainability in unique ways. Their stories and insights shed light on the current green agenda and inspire attendees to incorporate sustainable practices into their own work. Join this year’s speakers, which include Architecture 2030’s Ed Mazria and Ron Finely, a designer and community activist working against food deserts in south-central Los Angeles. Check out the schedule. You also can stop by EcoBuilding Pulse parent company Hanley Wood's booth (No. 1149) to hear its editors talk about the latest building-product and design trends.

3. Go for the landmarks.

Tom Ipri

As America’s second capital city, Philadelphia’s plethora of historical landmarks and sites are just a short walk from the convention center. Take a break from the conference to take in some history. The Liberty Bell, recast from the original version in 1754, is an iconic representation of American independence and its existence predates that of the United States’ government. It is located in Liberty Bell Center on Independence Mall, which is central to many other landmarks including Independence Hall—where the Constitution was debated and signed—and Christ Church Burial Ground—the site of Benjamin Franklin’s final resting place. Check the National Parks Service’s website for more attractions and historical background information. 

2. Go for the genius.

Greenbuild aims to enlighten members of the green-building community by showcasing individuals and ideas that spark conversation and lead to innovation. Nate Silver became today’s foremost statistician through his ingenious analysis of political polling. He first caught the nation’s attention during the 2008 presidential election, when he correctly predicted the results of the presidential primary and general election winners in 49 states. Be sure to stay for the closing remarks on Nov. 22 at 11 a.m. to see whether Silver attempts to forecast the next trends in green building.
1. Go for the inspiration.

Greenbuild educates, inspires, and empowers green-building industry professionals by giving the stage to global business, environmental, and social leaders. This year, Greenbuild presents Hillary Rodham Clinton, the 67th U.S. Secretary of State, whose nearly four decades of public service make her a worthy choice for the opening plenary speaker—not to mention those rumors of a 2016 presidential run. Block off 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 21, to hear one from one of the most influential women of the modern era. 

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.