First of all, I have been horribly negligent in updating this blog regularly, but I do pledge to be better now that Greenbuild is over and hopefully I’ll have a little extra time to post. So, now that my apology is over, here’s a little wrap-up of my thoughts from Greenbuild 2011 in Toronto.
1. Greenbuild continues to have a strong showing of young professionals and students, which I personally feel is a great thing due to the amount of energy and enthusiasm they bring to the equation.
2. Product manufacturers continue to flock to Greenbuild to show off their latest technologies and features. I am still concerned about the greenwashing I see with some manufacturers, but there were some noteworthy products, especially on an energy monitoring and lighting front. Here are just a few:
- ThinkEco offers local plug load submetering with Bluetooth reporting.
- GE has some intriguing home energy monitoring devices that work well with the new smart meters.
- There are some new daylighting options using fiber optics from Parans.
- Philips has a new LED lamp that goes well above and beyond the energy saved by CFLs.
3. Greenbuild education sessions still seem to be a little hit and miss. I wish that the conference did a better job of identifying the appropriate knowledge levels for each session and also stopped putting together combined sessions of presenters who have never met until the day of their presentation. I did pick up on a few emerging themes, though, at the education sessions I attended:
- Affordable housing still seems to be leading the housing sector in sustainable design which is great on many levels, but also means that the market rate sector may not be getting the message
- Carbon neutral design, while still very difficult, is gaining ground and becoming more and more prevalent
- There is still an immense need for reliable metrics for measuring sustainability success
- Life Cycle Analysis is gaining ground, but there is debate over how it can be used for whole buildings and how fully we can trust LCA data reported by manufacturers
- Architecture schools may be lagging behind the industry in teaching sustainable design.
4. Toronto is a beautiful, multicultural city but I am not a big fan of their airport security workers striking on the day I was supposed to fly home. Four hours in a security line later I did, in fact, make it on to a plane.