Former Sec. of State Gen. Colin Powell may not be the first person you'd think of as a spokesperson for green; Ed Begley Jr. might be the more likely. Both were speakers at this week's Greenbuild event in Chicago. Powell was the keynote opening the event on Wednesday to a crowd of thousands at the Lakeside Center; Ed Begley addressed a smaller group at exhibitor Siemens' event on the eve of the official Greenbuild opening.
Greenbuild International Conference & Expo is the world's largest conference and expo dedicated to green building, according to its organizers, the USGBC. Thousands of building professionals from all over the world come together for three days of educational sessions, speakers, green building tours, special seminars, and networking events.
Both men spoke passionately about their green commitments. Obviously, Begley has been walking the walk for a much longer time than Powell, even having his daily eco-conscious life documented on the new HGVT series, Living with Ed; Powell's sustainability trek has been shorter and more business-related, as board member of Bloom Energy touting its Bloom Box and proud that the South Bronx residential building named for him is LEED Platinum certified.
But 5-star general Powell's presence and interest in this space--and the massive crowd of sustainability-centric manufacturers, contractors, interior designers, builders, electricians, architects, and miscellaneous greenies who crossed the lengthy Lakeside bridge to hear him speak--may be the best evidence yet that sustainability and green is here to stay.