Blog image

Green Economies of Scale (post-Greenbuild ruminations)

Posted November 30, 2009 5:42 PM by Jennifer Atlee
Related Categories: Greenbuild '09, Op-Ed, The Industry
By the end of Greenbuild, I was exhausted/troubled/elated with all sorts of conundrums swirling around in my head — not to mention a few partly written blogs, abandoned in favor of the next conversation... ... I had wanted to write about the 'executive roundtable' that happened that Wednesday — and responses to the twitter-submitted question "what single thing would have to change to make buildings actually regenerative?" (as in, way past 'less damaging' — past neutrality, even). I was encouraged to hear the execs express what I see as core issues (summarized and/or quoted below — no, I didn't record who said what):
  • Waste and consumption is ridiculously cheap. If energy costs go up to the tune of $150/barrel for oil (or on-site renewables became radically cheaper), and/or if a cost is attached to emissions (not just air — also sewer and solid waste), we could get there.
  • Our financial accounting systematically discounts the future. "We're trapped in a paradigm of net present value (NPV) — one of the worst tools known to man.... We need a new tool — 'Net Future Value'...
(click photos for larger versions)
Greenbuild in Phoenix was the usual high-energy panoply of educational sessions, new product introductions in an ever-larger trade show, networking events, and — the reason our company sends so many of us — opportunities to promote our green building information resources. But this year, I was also looking forward to some vacation time following the conference. Jerelyn and I took five days' of vacation after Greenbuild to explore southern Arizona and celebrate our 25th anniversary.

Overheard (live from Greenbuild)

Posted November 12, 2009 5:41 PM by Mark Piepkorn
Related Categories: Greenbuild '09
Two guys were walking down the hall. Professional-looking guys, architectorial. One of them said to the other, "It's called, um, energy... recovery ventilator." BAM! That's what it's about. Yeah, there's greenwash, there's cynicism, there's impatience. But there's also people finding their way forward. We're all spread out along the learning curve, and that's something I have a difficult time keeping in mind. It's easy to feel like everything's too-little-too-late, and hard for me to give credit for good intentions where it's due. And with that, I'm going to break with the blogging. I have an early flight, and am going to get ready for that. Perish the thought, I'm even going to skip our after-party. (Hey, it's my birthday — I'll do what I want.) I may follow up with more yet today, depending on how tired I am after I get packed up and ready to flee. But most likely, the deluge will abate...

Plyboo's New Soy Adhesive (live from Greenbuild)

Posted November 12, 2009 3:34 PM by Mark Piepkorn
Related Categories: Greenbuild '09

Top-10 Green Building Products (live from Greenbuild)

Posted November 12, 2009 2:45 PM by Mark Piepkorn
Related Categories: Greenbuild '09
I normally post the Top-10 green building products list just as Alex is starting the presentation. And this year, I just totally spaced it out.
BuildingGreen Announces 2009 Top-10 Green Building Products Phoenix, AZ, November 12, 2009 — BuildingGreen, LLC, publisher of the GreenSpec Directory and Environmental Building News, today announced the 2009 Top-10 Green Building Products. This eighth annual award, announced at the U.S. Green Building Council's Greenbuild Conference, recognizes the most exciting products drawn from recent additions to the GreenSpec directory and coverage in Environmental Building News. "Our selections of the Top-10 Green Building Products represent a wide range of product types in many different application areas," noted BuildingGreen founder and executive editor Alex Wilson. This year's list is particularly diverse, ranging from a recycled-content concrete block, to a flywheel energy storage system for data centers, a mobile solar generator for job-site power, and an advanced modular classroom for schools. Energy-saving products among the Top-10 include a line of mineral wool insulation, an integrated rain-screen / insulation wall cladding for commercial buildings, a heat-pump water heater, and an energy control system for lighting in commercial buildings.

"The Perfect Conversation Piece" (live from Greenbuild)

Posted November 12, 2009 2:04 PM by Mark Piepkorn
Related Categories: Greenbuild '09
You know my card went into that bowl. It's a Sloan Uppercut, and yes — the flush handle toggles the light. It would go great with my Christmas Story leg lamp.

LEEDuser Booth Talk/s (live from Greenbuild)

Posted November 12, 2009 1:48 PM by Mark Piepkorn
Related Categories: Greenbuild '09



Despite my expo-only access, I haven't had a lot of time for product-crawling. Our booth is all about LEEDuser.com this year, fresh from its full launch. Throughout the Expo we've had guest experts from the LEEDuser team in to discuss specific LEED points. I've been tasked with videotaping those smart people talking about this fascinating stuff — fascinating for anybody who happens to be bent that way, not just LEEDies. The schedule has included:
  • Josh Radoff of YRG Sustainability on NC SSc8: Light Pollution Reduction

  • Penny Bonda on CI MRc3: Materials Reuse

  • Erik Dyrr of KEMA Services on CS EAc1: Optimize Energy Performance

  • Carli Bullock Jones on CI IEQc8.1: Daylight and Views — Daylight

  • Lauren Yarmuth of YRG Sustainability on NC WEc2: Innovative Wastewater Technologies

Better Living With Chemicals (live from Greenbuild)

Posted November 11, 2009 8:58 AM by Jennifer Atlee
Related Categories: Greenbuild '09
I seem to be on the chemical redlist circuit this month. Last night at GreenBuild I attended Perkins + Will's panel-and-schmooze event to discuss their brand new precautionary list of 25 chemicals that P+W wants to see out of building products. They've created a publicly available website with their avoid list and you can view the list by MasterFormat divisions, or by health effect, not just by chemical. So instead of glazing over while scanning a list of chemicals, a designer can quickly skip to say, Div 07 and find 14 chemicals to watch out for AND a list of alternative materials. P+W is already actively scrubbing the listed chemicals out of their material libraries and specs in favor of alternatives. Last week I spoke at the Toxics Use Reduction Institute's 20th anniversary conference. TURI and the TUR Act is a model for pragmatic work helping manufacturers in Massachusetts reduce toxics in their processes and products and adopt alternatives that make sense.

Recent Comments


7 Tips to Get More from Mini-Split Heat Pumps in Colder Climates

bob coleman says, "A mini-split may not be the right install for a typical American home with typical American history/assumptions. Also installers are not discounting..." More...

Stephanie Blackman says, "Hi. We were recently visited by a representative from a company workibg with MassSave. We are impressed with the idea of the mini-split system. The..." More...

Chris Tabone says, "I have an old Vermont home with multiple rooms we would need to condition. We have insulated well, and brought our fuel consumption way down. I'd..." More...

bob coleman says, "You can use a air conditioning 'evaporator coil cleaner' product. Try the type that comes in a spray can and sprays foam. You can find it at any..." More...


Heat Pump Water Heaters in Cold Climates: Pros and Cons

Patrick Campbell says, "Would a gas condensing tank heater perhaps run about even in terms of cost with a HPHWH in VT? Hard to figure out without really knowing what..." More...