Once again, Greenbuild has come and gone, but does it ever really go away? With new and revamped products released in conjunction with the international conference and expo, the annual event is more of a starting point than a finale.
That’s truer this year than ever before, thanks to the efforts of the Delaware Valley Green Building Council, which used Greenbuild as a catalyst for energy reductions, green building projects, and other sustainability initiatives in Philadelphia and beyond. Read more about that story here.
For me, the best thing about events like Greenbuild are the personal connections and innumerable conversations with colleagues like Rachel Gutter and Jason McLennan. But it’s also the time of year when company’s trot out their latest and greatest, and we’ve collected the expo’s most impressive and useful products, plus some other great resources.
From established favorites such as Greenscreen and Sherwin-Williams’ Harmony line to exciting youngsters such as View Dynamic Glass (which exhibited for the first time just last year), we have the scoop on the show’s greenest and most promising innovations. See the list after the break.
Our Pick: Bayer Polyurethane Spray Foam. The scientists at Bayer Material Science are in many ways responsible for the high-performance buildings being constructed around the world. Their advanced plastics and polycarbonates are used in products such as the EcoBay polyurethane spray-foam insulation builders use to reduce energy loss. (We’re also keeping our on Bayer’s EcoCommercial Building Network, a consortium of sustainability-minded companies (including Acuity Brands, CBRE, and Johnson Controls, just to name a few).
Worth Checking Out: Ecovative Mushroom Materials, a high-performance, biobased suite of products that was recently certified Gold by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute; Roxul Stone Insulation, a stone insulation made from basalt rock and slag that is naturally fire- and mold-resistant and incredibly sound absorbent; and Firestone’s new Enverge continuous insulation for commercial buildings.
Our Pick: Schindler showed off both destination control (systems designed to save time and energy by grouping people on the same or nearby floors) and machine-room-less elevators, which vastly increase efficiency and add leasable square footage to new building projects. It also offered a sneak peak into its new facility in nearby Hanover, PA, and its solar-powered elevator, which is currently available in India and Europe but coming to new markets in 2014.
Worth Checking Out: KONE also promoted machine-room-less elevators and destination control, while ThyssenKrupp showed off its local efforts, including manufacturing eleavtors for the LEED Platinum Stroud Water Research Center, twice-Platinum GlaxoSmithKline offices, and LEED Gold Comcast Center.
Our Pick: Aquatherm. Efficiency is key if we’re to radically alter the performance of our built environment. That’s where Aquatherm’s heat-sealed pipes come in. Promoted as the “greenest pipe on the planet,” Aquatherm’s technology uses polypropylene thermoplastics, which contain no harmful chemicals. The pipes are heated to a melted state and literally fused together, creating piping that has zero potential for leaks.
Worth Checking Out: Armstrong’s 100% biobased and FSC-certified WoodWorks wall and ceiling panels; FilterPave by BASF, which filters stormwater, absorbs hydrocarbons, and earns LEED points; ClimateMaster’s Tranquility line of high-performance, compact geothermal heat-pumps; and GKD Metal Fabrics‘ corrosion-, fire-, and impact-resistant mesh screens, which are recycled and recyclable methods of solar control.
Our Pick: IdeaPaint. Chalkboard paint creates more mess than its worth. White boards, or dry-erase boards, are far cleaner but environmentally disastrous. Enter IdeaPaint, which won Best of NeoCon Innovation in 2008 when it launched and demonstrated the latest generation of its paint (which comes in black, white, and clear) at this year’s expo. Applications abound, especially in office and educational environments.
Worth Checking Out: TOTO‘s water-conserving Drake II 1G and all-new transparency reports, which with Sustainable Minds is solving the issue of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) ahead of LEED v4; Draper’s super simple but highly useful Bottom-Up FlexShade, which doesn’t roll down but up to create privacy without blocking daylight; and Interface’s Net Effect, which is spun from repurposed fishing nets that pollute much of the Philippines’ coastline.
Tools & Resources
Our Pick: Intégral: Revolutionary Engineering. The latest from Ecotone Publishing, an imprint of the International Living Future Institute, is more than a monograph. With an authoritative but conversational tone, Molly Miller provides a glimpse into the work, culture, and ideas of Intégral, a unique network of ecology-obsessed engineering offices around the world whose goal is to pursue radical sustainability. This group of highly trained professionals is responsible for some of the world’s greenest and most jaw-dropping projects (The Exploratorium at Pier 15, VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Center, and UniverCity Childcare Centre, just to name those profiled in this magazine), and this is an inspiring look into the ideas that are changing our world.
Worth Checking Out: Graphisoft’s BIMx, which lands the benefits of building information modeling into the hands of owners, subcontractors, and end users with “hyper-models” that are also supplemented with the 2D drawings and other documents; Green Badger, a brand new app developed by ideas man Tommy Linstroth that streamlines the LEED certification process by putting all the paperwork on your smart phone; and Sefaira, simple, architect-friendly Web-based building-analysis software that integrates with both SketchUp and Revit.
Our Pick: Kohler’s “Believing in Better” platform takes the form of a simple blog but may serve to revolutionize corporate sustainability reporting. Rather than massive annual reports, Kohler’s sustainability stories (such as saving hundreds of old cast-iron baths from a junk heap in Glacier National Park) are aggregated into one accessible place on the Web and published as they happen. The emphasis on “story” and taking incremental steps to “better ourselves” adds a level of authenticity and transparency to typical reporting. A constant challenge we hear from public and private institutions alike is how to share their environmental triumphs. “Believing in Better” (#believinginbetter in the Twitterverse) is one answer.
Worth Checking Out: WoodWorks’ reThink Wood campaign, which seeks to educate architects and builders about the feasibility of structural wood and presented the winners of a student design competition, and the Holcim Foundation, who through a prestigious global awards program promotes innovation and replicability in sustainable construction methods.