Sustainability Conference Slated Oct. 4-5

9th Annual Conference Comes to Dubuque's Grand River Center

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Roy Buol has been mayor of Dubuque, Iowa, since 2005.

Posted: Wednesday, August 10, 2016 10:00 am

DUBUQUE, Iowa – A conference that provides workshops, mobile tours and keynote presentations on the latest developments in community sustainability and resiliency initiatives will be held Oct. 4-5 at the Grand River Center in the Port of Dubuque.

Registration is now open on the conference web site at

The Growing Sustainable Communities Conference is the largest and longest standing sustainability conference in the Midwest, according to Dubuque city officials, who have hosted the conference annually since 2008. Sustainable City Network, a Dubuque-based trade magazine, has co-hosted the event with City staff since 2011.

“The significance of this conference is that we build in opportunities for public and private sector participants to network and interact, in addition to the quality presentations,” said Dubuque Mayor Roy D. Buol. “In a time when we are addressing such large challenges as climate adaptation and creating equitable communities, networking and collaboration is key to finding solutions.”

This year's conference will include workshop speakers with a wide range of expertise, including representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Wildlife Federation, the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corp., the New Mexico State Energy Office and businesses such as General Electric, Honeywell, Burns & McDonnell, HDR, Shive-Hattery, and many others.

Speakers from municipal governments large and small will also present case studies on the sustainability initiatives in their respective communities, from large cities like Minneapolis, Phoenix and Pittsburgh, to the small and mid-sized communities of South Bend, Ind., Hobart, Ind., South Sioux City, Neb., Springfield, Ill., Montclair, N.J., Cedar Hill, Texas, Mundelein, Ill., and Evanston, Ill., along with the Iowa communities of Clinton, Bloomfield, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Dubuque. Researchers from 10 universities and numerous nonprofits will also present their findings.

“Over the years, we’ve really expanded the breadth of content at the event,” said Randy Rodgers, publisher and executive editor of Sustainable City Network. “As concerns over climate change, recession and social equity issues have expanded and intensified, we’ve tried to evolve our programming to keep pace with the latest developments. So, while folks will still be able to attend sessions on some of the more “bread-and-butter” sustainability topics, like energy conservation, recycling and green infrastructure, we’ve also peppered the programming with a lot of sessions that dive into some of the more cutting-edge concepts like developing circular economies, event-based strategic planning, peer-to-peer learning and the latest embedded technologies for energy management,” Rodgers said.

Other topics will include the latest information on resiliency & disaster management, water & air quality monitoring, social equity, city/school partnerships, energy management, combined heat and power, wood gasification, brownfield redevelopment, deconstruction, urban agriculture & indoor farming, sustainable infrastructure, stakeholder engagement, certification frameworks, waste-to-energy systems, stormwater management, remote monitoring, affordable housing, renewable energy, reducing emissions, drought mitigation, smart meters, landfill diversion, health & wellness programs, LED lighting, alternative fuel vehicles and sustainability metrics, among others. Complete workshop descriptions can be found on the conference web site.

The conference will feature more than 25 workshops, three mobile tours, two keynote luncheons, a breakfast plenary session, a networking reception and dozens of vendors and exhibitors. Several hotels are within walking distance of the Grand River Center. See the conference web site for contact information and special room rates.

Keynote Speakers

L. Hunter Lovins, president/founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions will deliver the Tuesday luncheon keynote address. Dr. Neal Phillip, chairperson, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, Bronx Community College/CUNY, will deliver the Wednesday morning plenary address; and Dr. Manuel Pastor, professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, will present the Wednesday luncheon keynote address.

In 2015, approximately 500 people from 100 different cities in 26 states attended the 8th annual event. Attendees included elected officials, municipal senior management and staff, as well as private-sector business leaders, university administrators, faculty and students.

The conference is supported by Crescent Electric Supply Co. and other corporate sponsors.

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