Yesterday, I attended the CAL-SMACNA conference in Napa, Calif. The annual conference allowed members of the California Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association to discuss the state of the industry and attend some educational sessions.

There were two major educational sessions planned. The longest session on April 16 was called “Incentives for Building Sustainable Communities.” Are you surprised? I’m not.

This is the second association event I’ve attended over the last month that focused heavily on green building and sustainability. No matter what you do, you won’t be able to escape the topic. Nor should you try to escape the topic.

The session presented a panel of sustainability experts working for cities in California. This included building department officials from San Francisco, Fresno and Napa. Each building official had the opportunity to brag about what their city is doing in the area of sustainable building. I was proud to see how much has been accomplished in my home of San Francisco. The city has several municipal buildings that meet or exceed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver certification. San Francisco also finished construction on the EcoCenter at Heron’s Head Park. It is the first off-the-grid building in San Francisco.

So why are all of these association spending so much time discussing green building and sustainable design? It’s not just to brag. The federal stimulus money that is currently funneling into cities across the country for building projects is mostly being rewarded to projects with a sustainable design. State and federal building officials want to make sure that new buildings are energy efficient. They also want to make sure that any retrofit projects on buildings such as schools include energy-efficiency upgrades.

So if you want a piece of the stimulus pie, you’re company is going to want to find the green building projects proposed in your state.