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Brownfields 2008 Conference goes "Carbon Neutral" in Detroit, May 5 - 7


In a leading-edge effort for a national conference, the Brownfields 2008 Conference is taking steps to be “carbon neutral.” The conference is May 5 - 7 at Detroit’s Cobo Center. Brownfields 2008 is expected to draw more than 6,000 environmental and economic development officials, finance and insurance providers, risk managers, planners, attorneys, engineers and students.

Addressing the nation’s brownfields - abandoned or underutilized properties stigmatized by past commercial or industrial uses - is a challenge for communities of every size. By focusing on redevelopment, properties are put back into productive use while helping to keep undeveloped lands in a natural state.

To counterbalance the energy consumed at the event, Brownfields 2008 will purchase carbon “offsets” - investments in new clean and renewable energy projects. The offsets, sponsored by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, URS Corporation, and Holland & Knight, were purchased from NativeEnergy (

Here’s how it works: To compensate for emissions from energy consumed by the Cobo Center and hotels, during brownfield tours in metro Detroit, and from disposal of waste generated by the event, the conference will

invest in NativeEnergy offsets for a methane abatement project administered by the Hillcrest Saylor Family Dairy Farm in Rockwood, Pa.

In other conference efforts to reduce the event’s carbon footprint, Brownfields 2008 attendees will be able to purchase NativeEnergy offsets to mitigate the global warming impact of their travel. Conference planners are also working with the Cobo Center to increase on-site recycling and waste reduction, as well as to use post-consumer recycled paper for mailers, promotional materials and office supplies.

Brownfields 2008’s educational program features more than 150 sessions on green development, remediation, risk management and real estate. The annual Phoenix Awards for top projects in each of the 10 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regions will be announced. More than 200 exhibitors will display the latest technologies and services. Mobile workshops and a walking tour will highlight local Detroit approaches to redevelopment. Numerous networking events, special training sessions and film screenings are also on the agenda.

Another unique conference feature is the Brownfields Transaction Forum, which brings together property owners with developers, investors and financiers to talk about specific sites in Michigan and nearby states that are available for purchase, lease and new uses. At the previous conference, in Boston in 2006, nearly 500 buyers, sellers and other stakeholders involved with redevelopment-ready properties attended the Forum. The 2008 Forum will be held on the first day of the conference, May 5, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The National Brownfields Conference is managed by the International City/County Management Association, in partnership with EPA. More than 140 organizations, including many in southeast Michigan, have endorsed the event.


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