PHOENIX (Nov. 13, 2009) — The 25,000 environmentally conscious builders who figuratively painted downtown Phoenix green this week left behind a different sort of green during their three-day visit.

The 2009 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, held Nov. 11-13 at the new Phoenix Convention Center, injected more than $30 million worth of direct spending into the local economy according to estimates by the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau, which booked the event for Phoenix in 2005.

Greenbuild is the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building, and building professionals from all over the world convened in Phoenix’s urban heart to attend educational sessions, listen to renowned speakers, take tours of green buildings, and participate in networking events.

The annual conference and expo is part of the mission of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization committed to achieving environmental sustainability through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. The USGBC is the organization which awards LEED green building certification — which the West Building of the Phoenix Convention Center was accorded in June 2008.

The convention center’s green reputation — it also features solar panels, a water-harvesting garden, and a sophisticated energy-consumption tracking system — is one of the reasons Phoenix was selected nearly five years ago as the site of Greenbuild 2009. Organizers also were impressed with the city’s new light-rail network, which transports nearly 40,000 riders a day virtually pollution free.

“Without the new convention center, Phoenix could not have hosted an event of this scope,” said Steve Moore, President and CEO of the Greater Phoenix CVB.

Nobel Laureate and former Vice President Al Gore gave the keynote address during Greenbuild’s opening-night celebration at Chase Field. That gala also included a performance by Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow.

“Greenbuild didn’t come to Arizona by accident,” Beth Vershure, Executive Director of the Greenbuild Arizona Host Committee, wrote in the Official Greenbuild 2009 Blog.A strong USGBC chapter, the Valley’s new light rail system, Phoenix’s LEED Silver convention center addition and USGBC’s recognition of Arizona’s growing commitment to sustainability all factored into this decision.”