Once my flight left the San Francisco airport and the green bubble of positive energy centered in the Moscone Center, my thoughts on the Greenbuild Expo 2012 were confronted with a world not always warm and fuzzy about sustainability. It helps to know that an army of green building advocates and businesses from around the Southeast will share lessons learned over the next year until we meet again in Philadelphia.
Beyond being a showcase for innovative thought leadership and products, Greenbuild provides a collaborative setting to shape the shared vision of a more efficient and healthier future through better buildings. It is a restorative mental spa for those of us who live in states where LEED is effectively banned by executive order. Fortunately, a parade of federal directives over the past 20 years along with forward thinking businesses are guiding the U.S. toward a more informed viewpoint that sees how practical green building is for the future. LEEDING by Example in the recent Harvard Business School Working Knowledge newsletter examines the valuable role government plays in shifting to green practices in construction.
This year’s Greenbuild was energized with music starting at registration and mobile messengers wandering the nearby sidewalks. Stories of collaboration and partnerships abounded at Greenbuild 2012:
- A $3 million grant from Google to USGBC aimed at accelerating the creation of healthier indoor environments,
- The Healthy Building Network’s Transparency Treasure Map,
- Launch of Health Product Declaration (HDP) with an honor roll that includes many southeast companies, for the purpose of convening details about product content and associated health information, and among others
- An update on thepartnership between Toto and Crossville, Inc., two important southeast employers,that started to reclaim refuse porcelain into tiles in 2011.
The manufacturers supporting HDP declared the nonproprietary portions of their product contents as well as the health hazards associated with all ingredients.TRANSPARENCY wins.Those opposed to energy efficiency, water conservation and healthier interiors stayed away from Greenbuild.
Impressions from a wide variety of southeast businesses exhibiting at the annual expo demonstrate how a show anticipated to draw 2,000 in 2002 has grown exponentially to expect 35,000 who design, build and manage buildings.
Michael Wilson, marketing committee chair at BACnet International, which provides testing and certification of products with an almost all volunteer industry effort, found the scale of the event impressive, especially to have “this many companies behind green paying to be here.”
Michael Turner, vice president of marketing, YKK AP America, Inc. observed, “People are interested in putting tangible metrics behind sustainable design and asking how can I use your product?” As a
Manufacturer, his company focuses on upgrading framing first, as a more cost effective solution to gain increased efficiency.
Jeffrey Taylor, marketing communications manager at Acuity Brand Controls sees a “trend of more interest in energy management of the full building envelope with Greenbuild doing a better job of screening exhibitors to fit its central mission.” This single manufacturer covers testing and supports all categories of lighting systems.
“Having suppliers and customers under one roof with strong attendance,” were benefits noted by Joseph Hatch, business development manager at Vitro Minerals.
First time exhibitor from South Carolina Caitlin Aburrow, marketing specialist at SPARC, found the expo’s size to be a pleasant surprise. SPARC’s comprehensive energy management software takes users from understanding to defining goals to implementing and realizing them.
James D. Qualk, vice president with SSRCX Facilities Commissioning in the San Francisco office, enthused that Greenbuild offers “a huge shot in the arm each year to be surrounded by knowledgeable people.”
Miguel Duarte, regional sales manager at FabricAir, observed that Greenbuild has “the right idea and the harder we work to save the environment, the more innovative we get.” FabricAir’s breathable polyester is not affected by humid environments and has no condensation making it effective in any large open space like a school or gym.
Jim Harrington, Rainwater Collection Solutions and the Original Rainwater Pillow, found he met more people that he has worked with who confirmed he is still in the loop.
Keith Lindemulder, environmental business development at North Carolina-basedNucor pointed to the diversity of products and the trend toward more transparency.
Jim Jacobson, strategic accounts sales manager for American Aldes was impressed with advances in lighting and windows. His company is the only HVAC manufacturer offering constant airflow for residential and commercial applications.
Marketing communications consultant Irene Williams works with Crossville and sees more examples of collaborative activity across building manufacturing, like the Health Product Declaration and her client’s partnership with Toto to convert fired porcelain into tile.
Although in the basement with poor wireless access, a definite highlight and worth replicating among localchapters was the Women in GreenPower Breakfast held Thursday morning, November 15. The program included fierce poetry, personal testaments from women working in a range of green building fields, and directed discussion at the table level among mature, emerging and young green professionals.
All in all, my spirit is renewed again by exposure to this international network of advocacy for healthier, safer, more efficient buildings.
Editor's note: Our apologies to Nancy. She delivered this article in a timely manner but we were tardy in posting.