Green In Beantown

By Heather West, owner of Heather West Public Relations in Minneapolis, heatherwest@earthlink.net., Glass Magazine
November 24, 2008
COMMERCIAL, FABRICATION : GREEN, MEETINGS AND EVENTS

It was clear from the moment you approached the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center that the 2008 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo was different from other architectural and construction shows. Thousands of people braved the chilly air Nov. 19-21 to experience a show that dwarfed the 2007 Expo. According to early reports, more than 26,000 attendees hit the first day of Greenbuild 2008, and some exhibitors estimate that total attendance reached more than 28,000. Total attendance reached 22,835 in 2007.

The size and scope of this year’s Greenbuild exemplifies that “green” is no longer just a trend in the construction industry—it is the new standard on which many, and eventually all, building projects will be based. The average age of the attendees was on the young side, but that did not speak to a lack of experience or knowledge. “These were easily among the most knowledgeable people I have ever talked to in my booth,” said Kevin Robinson, regional sales manager, Wausau Window and Wall Systems, Wausau, Wis, a veteran of many trade shows,


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LEED points and certification were the main topics of the attendees’ questions, but they also wanted to see the exhibitors’ products displayed in real-world applications. Dublin, Ga.-based YKK AP America Inc.’s collaboration on the Project Frog classroom was the most visible example of this. Click here for a classroom photo gallery and more information. 

The Advanced Façade Display from Kawneer Co., Norcross, Ga., received many inquiries, according to Les Seasholtz, Kawneer marketing associate. Attendees “like seeing the whole integrated system, not just the product,” said Seasholtz. The Advance Façade Display incorporated an energy-efficient curtain wall with sunshade and light shelf, solar panels from Suntech, China, and glass from Viracon, Owatonna, Minn. Viracon also introduced new VUE-50 high-performance, insulating glass featuring a balance of light, comfort, solar performance and sustainability. Click here for more information about VUE-50, in addition to a new high-performance product from Guardian Industries, Auburn Hills, Mich.

Greenbuild attendees asked about how the products would support green projects and about the green practices of the manufacturers. Tom Minnon, LEED AP and northern regional sales manager with YKK AP, said he received many inquiries about the Cradle to Cradle (C2C) certification for the ThermaShade sunshade system. McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry,Charlottesville, Va., evaluates products, recyclability and manufacturing sustainability to certify as C2C Basic, Silver, Gold or Platinum.

The economy was a hot topic amongst exhibitors and attendees, but not in the expected way: Exhibitors promoted green building as long-term solutions for cost savings. With the uncertainty of future energy prices and sources, many glass companies focused on dynamic glazing options such as glass products from Sage Electrochromics, Faribault, Minn., and   large, see-through, photovoltaic modules from Schüco USA, Newington, Conn. In the words of Schüco’s deputy marketing manager, Tanja Brinks, “Our display has a ‘wow’ effect.” After wooing and wowing, Brinks brings the message into focus: “In these times, it’s more important to act ethically and correctly, and to invest more now for the greater pay-off in the future.”