Tuesday, December 02, 2008

GreenBuild 08, Boston MA: Highlights – part 5

By Sonja Persram, BSc., MBA, LEED® AP
Sustainable Alternatives Consulting Inc.


Jerry Yudelson noted
[1] the increasing representation among solar companies. It would be good to see this expo segment grow, along with wind turbine providers and e.g. chilled beam manufacturers.

Suntech aims to have 1000 MW of solar PV production capacity by 2010. Their solar PV cells are at 20% efficiency; some products include Suntech See Thru™ PV glazing that can be used e.g. in curtain walls, skylights or atria; and Suntech Just Roof™ is BIPV that can be substituted for tiles, with weatherproofing, water channels. For case studies of a retrofit in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada and new construction in Hokkaido, Japan click here.

I found
Accoya interesting. It is acetylated wood, i.e. treated with acetic anhydride (derived from acetic acid, or concentrated vinegar) to change the water molecules to acetyl groups. This process hardens the (FSC certified) wood and the resulting product has been tested for ‘dimensional stability, durability, UV resistance, paint retention and in-ground conditions,’ as well as strength and hardness. Uncoated, it emitted a vinegar odour.

Airvac fascinated me. A case study of a vacuum sewer system installed in Holden Beach, North Carolina, an island community with a high water table and failing septic tanks and drain fields, indicates the benefits include the alternative to gravity-flow lines, and prevention of sanitary sewer overflows during storm surges or power outages since it runs pneumatically in comparison to gravity sanitary sewers. Small town Hooper, Utah also addressed their challenge of septic systems leaking into groundwater this way. This technical data sheet from EcoSan notes benefits of vacuum sewer system/sanitary installations (which must be separate from stormwater systems). They provided: water savings of as much as 80% since a vacuum toilet used 1 litre of water per flush; capacity for blackwater collection for biogas; 20-25% cost savings over conventional methods; and protection against nutrient and pathogen discharges due to the closed system.

ecoScorecard system is paid for by manufacturers and free to users. It is a tool intended for architects and designers at the spec process, that translates manufacturers’ data (including designer’s product lines, percent post-consumer recycled content, percent rapidly renewable materials, and environmental ratings) to provide the necessary documentation for certification.

I’ve been aware of the merits of North America’s
Island Press and New Society Publishers, and found I also liked several books by Earthscan Publications out of the UK.

I would also find value in seeing:
· Energy storage companies
[2] given: their capacity to smooth out variations and enable dispatchability; and the focus on renewables expansion in the new economy.
· A significantly greater complement of finance/insurance as well as reinsurance companies, given the mutual market transformation potential – since green buildings can enhance portfolio value and reduce risk.
· Biogas companies and closed-loop food security systems that provide solutions at neighbourhood and individual building scales.
· More Consulate/Government quasi-catalogues like the displays from the Netherlands and the Canadian governments.

As a market research analyst, I was puzzled by the number of booths that didn’t clearly identify key benefits or competitive advantages of their products and services – even those with site demos. As the expo grows, it becomes even more necessary to capture attention of visitors quickly so they stop for that sound byte that could make a sales or outreach difference.

Overheard at the conference:
· A need for sessions addressing code and regulatory barriers, possibly prior to GreenBuild, which could feed findings and conclusions into the conference. After co-authoring a project on code, regulatory and systemic barriers
[3] it is clear that there are key issues and best practices in both countries in regards to these – often significant – challenges, and this would be a useful adjunct, in my opinion.
· Opportunities for youth to engage in the conference, possibly via a separate but concurrent part-stream.

On the systems side, it also would be helpful to have a larger expo map, a hard copy of the index by booth number, and each booth’s number clearly marked.

It would be useful to hear reader feedback on the above suggestions and booths.

GreenBuild 08: an excellent event. Thanks for your hospitality. Boston, Cambridge, Concord: I’ll be back.

Green Syndicated Columnist Sonja Persram is co-author with DCAT’s David Eisenberg of a forthcoming publication on code, regulatory and other systemic barriers affecting Living Building projects, for Cascadia Region Green Building Council. She has conducted several research projects for
Yudelson Associates, and is lead author of ‘Marketing Green Buildings to Owners/Tenants of Leased Properties’ for the Canada Green Building Council (2007) with co-authors Nils Larsson (MRAIC) and Mark Lucuik (P.Eng, LEED AP). Ms Persram wrote ‘Green Buildings: A Strategic Analysis of the North American Markets’ for Frost & Sullivan (2006) addressing Energy, Water and Facilities Management; and the USA portion of ‘International Sustainable Building Policy Initiatives,’ a 2007 study for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation whose project lead was Nils Larsson. She is a member of the CaGBC Greater Toronto Chapter’s Business Development Committee and the USGBC’s Social Equity Task Force.
Contact: sonja@sustainable-alternatives.ca
Sustainable Alternatives Consulting Inc.

[1] Yudelson, Jerry, personal communication with Sonja Persram
[2] See Peters, Roger with O’Malley, Lynda, Storing Renewable Power Primer, June 2008, The Pembina Institute, http://pubs.pembina.org/reports/StoringRenewablePower-jun17.pdf .
[3] Eisenberg, David & Persram, Sonja, Code, Regulatory & Systemic Barriers Affecting Living Building Projects, for Cascadia Region Green Building Council, 2008, Forthcoming.

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