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Asking the Right Questions About Sustainable Materials

Posted October 12, 2011 2:23 PM by Jennifer Atlee
Related Categories: Greenbuild '11, GreenSpec Insights, Product Talk

Are there any sustainable materials? What does that even mean?

Near the end of another exciting and exhausting Greenbuild, I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with three other women deeply invested in sustainable material management: Lindsay James, InterfaceFlor; Gail Vittori, Center for Maximum Building Potential Building Systems, and Sarah Brooks, Natural Step Canada. We started the session with the question "Are there any sustainable materials?" and ended with the question " What does material stewardship look like in a sustainable society?"

In between these two questions lives a world of aspiration and complexity followed, if you're lucky--or defiant--by deeper aspiration. The thing is, this stuff is hard. It's complicated and can be messy. Simple answers can lead to different problems. The deeper answers we need to figure out together--no one can single-handedly provide the roadmap.

Top-10 Products for 2012: Our Picks for a Resilient Future

Posted October 6, 2011 12:31 PM by Paula Melton
Related Categories: Greenbuild '11, GreenSpec Insights

Our Top-10 Products for 2012 look ahead, offering forward-thinking solutions you can put in place now.

Greenbuild is one of the highlights of the year as we scout out new, innovative products for GreenSpec and Environmental Building News, and every year we present the Top-10 Building Products as selected by our editorial team. This year we are awarding the top 10 products of 2012. That is not a typo.

Though we discovered these products over the previous year, they are produced by forward-thinking manufacturers that are addressing fundamental building needs for 2012 and beyond. I met with Brent Ehrlich, our products editor to get the scoop on what's so exciting to him about each of these products. You can read more of the technical details of each one over in the news section of EBN.

What Is Microsoft Doing at Greenbuild?

Posted October 6, 2011 11:11 AM by Paula Melton
Related Categories: Greenbuild '11

Microsoft releases initial results from an energy management pilot project that uses the MS campus as a test bed.

The Microsoft campus is serving as a test-bed facility for a "smarter buildings" pilot project that analyzes and interprets energy data for building managers and occupants.

I had the privilege Tuesday night to attend a dinner hosted by Microsoft Corp. here in Toronto. When I told my colleagues where I was heading, they said, "What is Microsoft doing at Greenbuild?"

If you saw my earlier post about Panoptix or attended the Greenbuild closing plenary, it might be a little easier to make the connection. Information technology is becoming an ever more important part of green building, particularly when it comes to energy and water management. Of course, data has been a big part of green building from the beginning. It's finding ways to make it usable that we're still working on.

Panoptix: Making Connections in Smart Buildings

Posted October 4, 2011 11:08 PM by Paula Melton
Related Categories: Greenbuild '11

A new Johnson Controls tool, called Panoptix, has tremendous promise. But will people see past the name?

Johnson Controls made a big announcement today about what many are viewing as a game-changer in the emerging "smart buildings" market. If I am understanding it correctly, their new tool, called Panoptix, is an cross-platform network that can work with any building management system. It also appears to streamline information from several different systems and make it all into one data set--a really important feature for existing buildings and building portfolios.

It goes beyond the data set, though, helping not only building managers but also tenant companies and even individuals to identify and prioritize problems within the building (or campus or portfolio...). The phrase of the day was "turning data into information."

Traveling to Greenbuild: Syracuse Center of Excellence

Posted October 4, 2011 1:30 PM by Paula Melton
Related Categories: Greenbuild '11

Car trip! The BuildingGreen team drove to Toronto for Greenbuild, making a quick stop along the way to tour a new test bed facility in Syracuse.

The Syracuse Center of Excellence is a unique test bed for indoor environmental quality. Photo: Alex Wilson

Greenbuild is still a little quiet, but BuildingGreen staff are already super busy.

Knowing what we were in for, we took things a little slow on our way to Toronto. In particular, we couldn't resist a field trip to the very cool Syracuse Center of Excellence (SCOE) building. Designed by Toshiko Mori, the building serves in part as a test bed for indoor air quality and its effect on health and productivity.

Students, faculty, government agencies, and manufacturers can all use this space to learn all sorts of things about how humans react to changes in air temperature, daylight, and many other factors. What a great idea.

The SCOE also includes:

Greenbuild Toronto: We're There Yet!

Posted October 4, 2011 11:55 AM by Paula Melton
Related Categories: Greenbuild '11
We were worried about finding the convention center, given a distinct lack of street signs, but it turns out you really can't miss it.

Well, it was a long drive--with a special stop at a test bed facility in Syracuse that I'm going to share with you in a few minutes--but the BuildingGreen team all made it to Toronto last night. We're awfully excited and already quite busy. If you're not here yet or won't make it this year, please post a comment to let us know what you want to hear about. We're all keeping our ears to the ground to help keep you up to date on the latest and greatest green building news. Meanwhile, please follow our BuildingGreen Twitter feed and Facebook page for more frequent updates on the goings-on here. You can also sign up just to the right of this post to receive emails alerts whenever we update our blogs. If you are here or on your way, please do come see us at the Expo floor opening tonight. We're at booth 434 North.

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