Greenbuild 2011 Wrap Up

The 10th anniversary of U.S. Green Building Council’s Greenbuild International Conference and Expo was held October 4th – 7th at the Metro Toronto Convention Center in Toronto, Canada. Greenbuild is the largest expo dedicated to green building with over 20,000 attendees and 1,000 exhibitors. Duro-Last® was one of those exhibitors and has been for the last eight years.

This year the show floor traffic felt a bit slower than in past years. It may be because it was in Canada, or that the two halls were a great distance apart. The last day did seem busier in the South hall where Duro-Last was, and our booth had good traffic most of the day with several promising opportunities.

We had a video running in the booth showcasing a 20-year-old Duro-Last roof that had been recycled into PROTECT-ALL® flooring (manufactured by sister company, Oscoda Plastics®, Inc.), which was very interesting to many attendees. You can watch the three-minute video by clicking on this link.

Ken Claes, Midwest Sales Coordinator, at the Duro-Last booth.

I had the opportunity to attend two educational sessions this year. The first was Green Schools that Teach: Whole-School Sustainability. This was a report on a case study conducted by Stephanie Barr and Brian Dunbar from the Institute for the Built Environment and Katharine Leigh from Colorado State University. They studied five LEED certified schools that they called “whole-school sustainable.” One interesting part of their study included an educational program where the students took part in understanding sustainable practices. For example, one school has a volatile organic compounds (VOC) monitor and every day at 10:30 am and 12:30pm students noticed the VOC indicator rose significantly. They wondered why this happened and found out that every day at that time all of the students were using anti-bacterial hand sanitizer. They are now conscious of this and are changing their habits to make their air quality better.

The second session I attended was, Are there any sustainable materials? Exploring the role of materials stewardship in sustainable built environments. This was an interactive session with speakers Lindsay James from Interface, Inc., Sarah Brooks from The Natural Step Canada, Gail Vittori from Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, and Jennifer Atlee from BuildingGreen. I thought we were going to learn about specific sustainable products, but it was more of a general discussion about sustainable products, and whether there truly are any out there. “Biomimicry,” a new term to me, looks to nature and natural systems for inspiration, and in nature, there is no such thing as waste – anything left over from one animal or plant is food for another species. One of the oldest examples of biomimicry is Velcro which was invented by Swiss inventor George de Mestral in 1941 after he removed burrs from his dog. This got the group thinking about products used in the building industry that reflect biomimcry.

I have had the opportunity to attend Greenbuild three years now and it is still exciting to see what companies have come up with to contribute to green building practices. As always I will be looking forward to Greenbuild 2012 in San Francisco, California.

If you attended Greenbuild this year please leave your comments below in how the show was for you and your organization.

View from above the north hall.