The Home Depot was gracious enough to allow me to attend the GreenBuild Expo, Atlanta. They consider it to be “a dark horse of sustainability.”

In 2018 alone, more than 11 million more than 11 million gross square feet of space achieved LEED certification in the State of Georgia. Now, Atlanta not only has its own strategy for sustainability but was the 2019 site for Greenbuild International Conference & Expo 2019.

However here is a reality for The Home Depot. Since 2000, The Home Depot has shipped 3.2B eco products. Their energy savings from those products equals 2.43B kWh of energy and CO2 emissions reduced by 151M tons.

Creating such A green Impact With Their products. So with Atlanta’s goal of powering the city with 100 percent clean energy by 2035 is ambitious. But can be done. Also the businesses and developers in the city (which is expected to grow from 6M to 8M people by 2040) are up for the challenge.

To help that effort along, more than 10K sustainability professionals converged to see Barack Obama speak and also exchange in Greenbuild 2019. Where people share ideas, inspiration, and new solutions.

President Barack Obama and USGBC president

These were the things echoed first by the Mayor of Atlanta who was the first person I hear speak.

GreenBuild sponsored by The Home Depot

Then it was on to former President Barack Obama. As Architectural Record reported:

Speaking with USGBC president and CEO Mahesh Ramanujam, the 44th president of the United States shared his thoughts on the most critical issues facing society today and reflected on life since leaving the White House.

Ramanujam began by asking Obama about his post-presidency experience. His answer—a quick, enthusiastic “It’s great!”—drew laughs from the crowd. “I’m getting more sleep, Michelle and I have more time together, which is fantastic… Having a little time to breathe, read, think as opposed to react, that is something we’ve looked forward to. Michelle enjoys it even more, and when she’s happy, things go well.”

While he said they’re glad to be done with “the fuss—the trumpets, and the salutes and the pomp and the circumstance,” he admitted to occasionally missing Air Force One. “That plane’s got a shower. It’s nice.”

Pointing to California’s housing crisis as an example, the former president noted how in certain metropolitan areas of the state, “building codes are so onerous that it makes construction of affordable housing almost impossible,” which, in turn, can foster a negative mentality toward sustainability among those most effected economically.

“As wealth gets more and more concentrated, and more and more energy is used up by the few, the many become resentful,” he said. “It undermines our sense of politics and a sense of community. It is hard for us then to mobilize the body politic around taking collective action.”

He called this fact a “legitimate criticism [of] those of us who consider ourselves progressive.” At the local level, he explained, “We’re not taking into account these specific costs, and who’s bearing them… If we want to think about sustainability, we have to do it in a way that also is thinking about affordability.”

A chronic problem of “do-gooders,” he said, is that “sometimes we like to tell people what they should think is important, rather than actually asking them what’s important to you.” He shared the advice he has given to emerging community organizers: “Your first job is not to talk, but to listen.”

With that in mind, Obama laid out a framework for how one might approach implementing sustainability strategies in a neighborhood: “The first thing I want to do is just go around and talk to them and find out, how do people live? What are their concerns? What do they think about their homes, what do they think about their neighbors, what works, what doesn’t? Because when you listen, it turns out that you get a sense of what people’s priorities are, what their values are, what their worries are,” he said. “Then, figure out how to shape a sustainable agenda around those concerns.”

Conversation quickly turned to the urgent challenges facing leaders, individuals, and society at large. Obama identified two connected concerns as the most critical: climate change and the economy. “Climate change is an existential issue,” he said. Unlike having bad tax policy for four or eight years, which can be corrected with time, “This is one of those where you can be too late. So, I know of no issue that is more urgent than that.”

“I would combine it, though, with the challenge of how we construct a globalized capitalist economy that actually provides everyone and is not continually accelerating inequality,” he continued. “The reason I say those two things are connected is that it is harder to figure out how we solve sustainability issues and deal with climate change if you also have huge gaps in wealth and opportunity and education. And so, we’re not going to solve the former if we’re not also attending to the latter.”

Home Depot showed off their new lithium line of lawn care products.

Tool-free recessed lighting installation: The easy-to-install, canless, all-in-one design. That of the product from Commercial Electric. Calling it the Commercial Electric 6-in. It’s an LED Slim Color Changing Recessed Lighting Kitby Globe can alter the aesthetic of a space with its five color temperatures. So it’s including:

warm white

soft white

neutral white

bright white

and daylight

Dimmable up to ten percent and ever energy-efficient, the light saves customers money by displaying 900 Lumens on only 15 watts of energy. Then reporting to be lasting up to 50,000 hours of continuous use.

The Home Depot also showed off their new lithium line of lawn care products.

Then all these little mini speaks or sessions.

https://www.greenbuildexpo.com/content/dam/Informa/greenbuildexpo/en/2019/PDFs/CRE19GRB-Session-Guide-Future-of-LEED.pdf

https://www.greenbuildexpo.com/content/dam/Informa/greenbuildexpo/en/2019/PDFs/CRE19GRB-Session-Guide-Health-Wellness-People.pdf

https://www.greenbuildexpo.com/content/dam/Informa/greenbuildexpo/en/2019/PDFs/CRE19GRB-Session-Guide-Net-Zero.pdf

https://www.greenbuildexpo.com/content/dam/Informa/greenbuildexpo/en/2019/PDFs/CRE19GRB-Session-Guide-Resilience.pdf

Atlanta is now in its fifth year of the Better Buildings Challenge, and is reporting impressive results — both in terms of progress in energy-efficiency and the economic health of its population.

Fast Green Fact: Atlanta is in the top 20 in the Locavore Index for its commitment to healthy food.

Home Depot offering lawn care lithium powered with battery backup for refrigerator

Home Depot Operates Sustainably

For starters and in 2018, the world’s largest home improvement retailer set “science-based”targets. Thereby achieving a 40% reduction in its carbon emissions by 2030 and a 50% reduction by 2035.

So their U.S. store energy use decreased 26% compared to 2010. That’s ahead of the company’s stated goal for a 20% reduction in consumption by 2020.

Also, supply chain efficiencies implemented by The Home Depot reduced carbon dioxide intensity by 6% per dollar sold!

In addition and under the company’s responsible sourcing policy, The Home Depot conducted 1,362 factory audits and 1,649 follow-up visits in 2018!

So again. Back to Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. The largest global event serving green building and sustainability professionals, produced by Informa and presented by the U.S. Green Building Council. They announced The Home Depot as the Title Sponsor. So this was my sponsor those days. Yes folks, the world’s largest home improvement retailer. The one operating more than 2,200 retail stores with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. They were the title sponsor of the 2019 event. Greenbuild took place at the Georgia World Conference Center November 19-22, 2019.

The Home Depot team has been an exemplary Greenbuild Expo partner for the past decade. They have Programs in the store like Eco Options. Also their role in the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council. Which I just went to the store and needs some help but definitely getting much better then anyone else I see out there. Period.

In addition, The Home Depot also gets the designation as a global leader by the Carbon Disclosure Project. OF WHICH I HAD NO IDEA! SO this is much more than a sponsorship.

It was an experience of bringing new stakeholders to the table. I mean the products are relatively the same but different companies. However The Home Depot was bringing NEWER tech to the table. However there was new education to the marketplace. Those still learning and growing. So yes there is a tremendous new value to the Greenbuild experience.

In addition to broad support of Greenbuild’s mission to deliver leading-edge solutions to professionals improving the resilience, sustainability, and quality of life in buildings, cities and communities,

The Home Depot also jointly presented networking forums and education. That’s such as supplier-oriented training in the Materials Applied Learning Area focused on manufacturing for and selling to green industry retailers and buyers.

Yet Frankly, the main seminar I got the most out of was the Home Depot seminar with the Program Heads for Lighting, Flooring and Appliances. That was started off with Ron Jarvis. He’s The Home Depot’s Vice President of sustainability and environmental innovation. So hats off to him.

“As a large-scale retail leader, we believe it’s imperative to seek out the most sustainable options for our customers, which is why we take great pride in partnering with Greenbuild Expo,” said The Home Depot Ron Jarvis. “Greenbuild provides an optimal platform to witness environmental innovation in products such as those in our Eco Options portfolio.”

I learned there’s still work to be done and could go on to list minutiae but that’s not what this is about. So HomeDepot EcoOptions program is worth only $10B. Yes with a B. The entire company is $100B. So I’m in numbers I have worked with before but not at such scale. Frankly it’s amazing we have gotten this far. However folks $90B is still spent on stuff that ISN’T GREEN.

That clearly needs to change. So now with lithium lawn mowers versus lead acid lawn movers are an about time idea. Then with lithium lawn care across the board is something moving in the right step.

The Home Depot with Lithium lawn mowers

In 2018, the world’s largest home improvement retailer with set science-based targets. All achieving a 40% reduction in carbon emissions. All by 2030.

Then a 50% reduction in 2035. So the U.S. store energy use decreased by 26% compared to 2010. All ahead of the stated goal for a 20% reduction in consumption by 2020.

The company announced a new goal to invest more than 1 million hours per year over the next five years in training and development. All therefore helping associates grow their careers.

The report also includes additional disclosure on the diversity of its more than 400,000-associate workforce, which was 44% minority. That’s also with 38% female in 2018.

The Home Depot going lithium lawn care and battery back up power

I do want to conclude with their places for growth. They are starting the circular supply chain and was excited to see that. When they need help. Give me a call. I’ve got a few ideas.

Finally. I did ask about Roundup. They still sell it. Also I asked given Costco banned it. Even with the lawsuit and class action they will continue to sell. I say don’t buy it folks. It’s a toxic product. It is causing cancer. They didn’t want to ban it. So while they are excellent at efficiency and need also some work on their organic seed supply chains for gardens. They are wanting to move forward.

Although, they are saving consumers 250 billion gallons of water. All consequently with water saving products.

GOAL: 2020

PROGRESS: TRACKING 30% OVER PLAN

Reduce tropical deforestation

GOAL: SEPT. 2018

PROGRESS: AMAZON, CONGO BASIN, PAPUA NEW GUINEA, SOLOMON ISLANDS

Eliminate neonicotinoids pesticide use on live goods

GOAL: 2019

PROGRESS: 95% COMPLETE

HEALTH
Remove added ortho-phthalate in vinyl flooring

PROGRESS: COMPLETE

Reduce suspect chemicals in paint

GOAL: DEC. 2020

PROGRESS: 65% COMPLETE

Reduce suspect chemicals
GOAL: 2018

PROGRESS: 95% COMPLETE
Reduce suspect chemicals in insulation GOAL: 2018

PROGRESS: 90% COMPLETE
Reduce chemicals of concern in cleaning chemicals

GOAL: DEC. 2022

PROGRESS: 99% COMPLETE

Finally, here are the some words The Home Depot are addressing in their sustainability mission.

Carbon Emissions

Natural Pesticides

Green Gardening