Green Building Focus features range of exhibitors and speakers
Exhibitors at Green Building Focus were featuring everything from formaldehyde-free adhesives for hardwood plywood, to LED lighting and spray foam insulation products.
The green building conference in Charlotte, N.C., April 20-21, had 57 exhibitors. It was at the Charlotte Convention Center and was sponsored by Birmingham, Ala.-based Green Building Focus. The event featured 18 breakout sessions and several keynote speeches with national speakers.
During the welcome address to the conference, Stephen R. Leeds, senior counselor to the administrator for the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), talked about GSA's role in working on three initiatives launched by President Obama. The first is the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the second is Executive Order 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, with the goal of moving the nation toward a low-carbon, reduced footprint, sustainable future.
"The Executive Order has a number of important pieces to it, including agency targets of 26 percent improvement in water efficiency by 2020 and the requirement that federal buildings must be net-zero energy by 2030. It also directs every agency to incorporate a commitment to sustainability into its core mission," Leeds said.
The third is the Better Buildings Initiative, which aims for a 20 percent improvement in the energy efficiency of commercial buildings by 2020, reduce the energy bills of companies by $40 billion per year, and save energy by reforming outdated incentives and challenging the private sector to act, Leeds said.
"This is enormously important. Buildings use 72 percent of U.S. electricity, 40 percent of all domestic energy use, and are responsible for 38 percent of carbon emissions. Given those statistics, it's clear that improving energy efficiency in our buildings will create jobs, save money and unleash our talent," Leeds said.
He also mentioned the upcoming rollout of the Race to Green grant program that will award funds to state and local governments that initiate efforts to streamline building codes and adopt policies that attract private-sector investment in building retrofits.
|The Green Building is a LEED Platinum building in Louisville, Ky.|
Topics in the breakout sessions included case studies on environmentally-friendly buildings, such as how a 110-year-old building was retrofitted to LEED Platinum, with architects Chris Mercier and Doug Pierson, principals of (fer) Studio, describing how they modernized The Green Building in Louisville, Ky. The building, owned by Gil and Augusta Holland, has brought higher standards of green building to the Bluegrass State, and it has gotten international attention.
A popular session topic with more than 100 attendees was on Lumenhaus, the winner of the 2010 International Solar Decathlon Competition in Madrid, Spain. This innovative, net-zero energy building integrates architecture and engineering and is part of the Center for Design Research at Virginia Tech. The house is a grid-tied solar house on the cutting edge of responsive architecture. It self-adjusts to climatic changes, such as when the house is unoccupied, adjusting to changing conditions sensed by the weather station mounted on the roof. Occupants can use their iPhone to issue commands from afar so that appropriate temperatures, mood lighting and even music can be set before anyone even enters the house.
Eric Corey Freed, architect and principal of organicARCHITECT and a keynote speaker at the event, said he came to the conference so that he could talk to people “about ways they can transform the South and transform their communities.”
|Eric Corey Freed, architect and principal for organicARCHITECT, after his keynote address at the Green Building Focus conference in Charlotte, N.C.|
Freed said, “The sooner we get to a future where every building is a green building, the better off we’ll be. We need to start thinking in terms of sustainable cities, sustainable communities and how we can transform what we’ve got ...”
One session focused on private and federal incentives for green projects, with Scott Minos, senior policy and communication specialist for the U.S. Department of Energy, among the panel of experts.
Innovative water reuse in LEED projects was another topic, with Dr. Roddy Tempest, CEO of Tempest Environmental Systems/Aquapura and Jim Siplon, director of operations for Tempest/Aquapura, both presenting a case study on the water filtration system used to treat and re-use contaminated groundwater at the Duke Energy Center in Charlotte. The building achieved LEED Platinum status by providing a water purification system that purifies ground water and blends harvested condensate and recycled rain water for use in an irrigation system.
Exhibitors included Aquapura/Tempest Environmental Systems; Bord na Mona Environmental Products; Creative Solar, USA; Columbia Forest Products; CREE, Inc.; Demilec USA; Energy Wise Solutions; Green Chamber of Commerce; GreenFiber; Ingersoll Rand, Kohler, Inc.; Sage Electrochromics, Inc.; Solco, USA; and Trizin Group.
The next Green Building Focus conferences will be in Johannesburg, South Africa, on July 13-14, and then in Birmingham, Ala., on September 14-16.
For more information, see our research centers on Building a Green Home, Home Certification and Accreditation (LEED), Going Green at Home, Government Energy Rebates & Tax Credits, Sustainable Communities/Green Communities, Home Water Filtration Systems and Water Saving Devices.
Teena Hammond Teena Hammond has published more than 2,000 articles in People and W magazines, Women's Wear Daily, and in dozens of newspapers and books. She also wrote a home improvement, remodeling and decor column that ran in Gannett newspapers nationwide. She's interested in all things green and would love to hear from you with your story ideas.