Denis Du Bois will be at Greenbuild 2012 in San Francisco. So many sessions, so few days. Here are his suggested sessions and events. What’s on your schedule?

Picking up your name badge (until 7:30 PM Wednesday in the Lobby of West Building and Upper Lobby of North Building) isn’t the first step to getting into Greenbuild sessions, it’s the last. Sessions fill up long before the conference, so it’s a really good idea to get online and sign up for education sessions early. The web site will then give you a very handy calendar of your agenda. Here’s mine…

Opening Plenary

This isn’t the high-energy festival atmosphere it was six or seven years ago, but it’s still a don’t-miss event. This year’s keynote speakers include author Paul Hawken (The Ecology of Commerce), the hosts of “Morning Joe,” and many other speakers — two hours’ worth. See “Green building movement leader tells critics: Bring it on

A12 – Bridging the Gap: Owners & Tenants Drive Efficiency Together

Track 12 is all about performance. In this session panelists from JLL, Cresa and RMI will noodle over landlord-tenant relations, the split incentive, and how to drive energy efficiency in commercial buildings. See “Cresa, JLL tell owners and tenants how to drive energy efficiency together

B11 – @2030 – A Path to High Performance & Urban Transformation

Track 11 is a mix of high-level topics. In this session Brian Geller (Seattle 2030 District) and two other panelists will talk about the model for high performance building districts. The 2030 District is the first high-performance building district in the US, convening owners and developers to overcome barriers. Also of interest in this time slot is session B12 on net zero energy communities.

Happy Hour in the Hall: A Bay Area Bash

Greenbuild is a party and they want us to visit the HUGE expo (3 halls, thousands of exhibits) so that’s where the party begins Wednesday night. Where are you partying at Greenbuild?

Still hungry but not in a party mood? The local USGBC chapter has a list of recommended restaurants in San Francisco.

C07 – Improving Buildings through Simulation of Occupant Behavior

We model building energy, why not people? Presentations of behavioral research can be dry or fascinating, it’s all up to the speakers. Behavior is an important topic in energy-efficiency circles.

D04 – Residential Summit Keynote and Master Speaker Tony Fadell

This year’s Master Speaker Series is a mixed bag. Home energy efficiency in the age of “iEverything” is the topic of this chat between Nest founder Tony Fadell and Amanda Dameron, Editor-in-Chief of Dwell. Of course you know about the Nest residential learning thermostat but, surprisingly, there’s about a one percent probability that you own one. Neither do I, yet.

E12 – Implementing District Energy in New Urban Neighborhoods

This panel will outline the business case for district energy systems, discuss how a district energy system can be integrated into a LEED project, and address best practices from technical and community engagement perspectives.

Cleantech Open Finalists

The winners of the 2012 Cleantech Open will have been selected the previous week up the tracks in San Jose, and selected finalists (perhaps some of the lucky winners?) will make short presentations today at theaters in the expo halls.

F01 – Herding Cats? What Works with Occupants and Energy Reduction

I would have put the question mark at the end, as there’s no question that occupants are hard to wrangle. Also of interest in this hour is session F12, “Achieving Net Zero Energy at Scale.”

G07 – Connecting Green Buildings to the Electricity Grid

The smart grid isn’t exactly a hot topic at Greenbuild, it’s too wonky and technical for this crowd (and often for me). Nonetheless this panel of speakers — representing LBNL, EDF and USGBC — looks like they could keep me awake through the mid-afternoon doldrums.

H01 – Road from Rio: International Agenda on Buildings and Cities

If you didn’t follow what happened (or didn’t happen) at the June 2012 Rio+20 United Nations Conferences on Sustainable Development, this session will bring you up to speed. Depending on the level of new info in this session, I might beam over to H14, “Measured Performance of 10 Deep Energy Retrofit Homes,” with two researchers from LBNL.

Greenbuild Celebration

Who can resist a celebration? I might.

J15 – Energy Efficiency in Buildings 2.0: Triggering Implementation

EEB2.0 is the successor to the WBCSD Energy Efficiency in Buildings project. Worth investigating if I can drag my tired derriere out of bed early enough on day three of Greenbuild.

K04 – How Cities are Driving Global Sustainability

This Master Series session, presented in partnership with the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, looks interesting and I suspect it will draw a crowd considering it’s in a giant auditorium. Speakers represent Vancouver, Tokyo, Melbourne, and of course SFO. It’s a toss-up, though, because session K02 “Energy Disclosure” features one of my favorite speakers, David Pogue of CBRE. Pogue pioneered research into the increased NOI and property value of LEED certified commercial buildings and has worked closely with MHC on related research.

Closing Plenary

These have in some years been somewhat somber events. No wonder — by this time everyone’s brain-tired from drinking from the fire hose and exhausted from walking all over the world’s largest convention centers. Bill McDonough‘s (Cradle to Cradle) appearance might increase the attendance and liveliness of this year’s finale. I also like hearing what Jane McGonigal is thinking about.

Green Building Tours

Half-day tours Friday and Saturday are $65 and full-day tours Saturday are $90, but they’re popular and you have to move fast. My picks: “Double Platinum, Greenest Museum on the Planet” tour of the California Academy of Sciences museum with, among other features, an impressive green roof; and “San Francisco‚Äôs Super Sustainable High Rise Buildings” tour of the newly constructed SF Public Utilities Commission building.

Oh, but what to wear?

November is not the ideal month to visit San Francisco. High temperatures are in the low 60’s F, the nights are cold (in the low 50’s) and it rains. Even though you’ll be indoors most of the time, bring a coat.

Bring comfortable shoes — and consider a separate pair of outdoor shoes if you’re going out at night or taking the building tours. Greenbuild has a shoe check at the coat check locations in the street level lobbies of Moscone West, South and North.

Bring your own water bottle, which you can refill throughout the convention center.

You can sit in traffic watching the taxi meter, or you can take an easy and green ride from Bay Area airports downtown on San Francisco’s excellent rapid-transit system. Ride BART from the SFO airport directly to Powell station in the downtown hotel district for $8.25. Take the airport tram to the International Terminal and then look for BART signs. BART transit ticket kiosks accept coins and bills up to $20 as well as debit and credit cards. Trains run about every 15 minutes during the day.

If you arrive at the Oakland airport, take the AirBART bus from the curbside to the BART station about 5 minutes away. Have $3 cash fare for the bus; at the BART platform buy your BART fare ($3.85 to Powell station). On the return trip, add $3 to your BART fare purchase and you can use that for the AirBART bus.

Bring business cards, USGBC says the attendance could be 35,000.

See you at Greenbuild!


Denis Du Bois is but one of an army of people who evaluate education session proposals for inclusion in Greenbuild. He also judges and mentors contestants in the Cleantech Open.