Greenbuild 2010 kicked off yesterday with a bang, drawing thousands of design professionals to the city of Chicago to witness the latest and greatest developments in green building. The day opened with a speech by USGBC President & CEO Rick Fedrizzi, who remarked that it made sense to gather in Chicago since the city has more LEED-certified buildings than any other city in the world. It's clear that the green economy is alive and well - among the 1,800 vendors at the show there are 18 different countries represented, and the USGBC announced that they have officially reached one billion square feet of LEED-certified space world wide. Read on for our favorite green design finds from day one, and check out the Inhabitat Flickr for more highlights from this year's show floor!
This year’s opening keynote speech was given by General Colin Powell, the former US Secretary of State. He focused on how the definition of leadership does not differ if you are talking about leading in the military, or leading in the green building movement. He said that leaders are those that change attitudes and behaviors and get inside the decision-making cycle, but also praise and recognize the followers that share their mutual purpose. Leaders also do not dwell on boundaries, but rather are optimists. In between light-hearted jokes, Powell’s voice boomed with enthusiasm and pride in all who promote the green economy.
General Powell has been involved in several green initiatives in his retirement years, such as sponsoring a LEED Platinum apartment housing development in his impoverished boyhood neighborhood in the Bronx. Constructed by Habitat for Humanity, the building is named after General Powell and houses low- and middle-income families. Powell is also involved in a venture capital company that funds information technology and clean energy companies, like Bloom Energy. His speech was moving, engaging, and a great way to start the conference.
Inhabitat’s Andrew Michler is seen here chatting with Lunera about their integrated LED-lit ceiling tiles. The metal ceiling grid actually acts as the electrical connection, so the panel is powered by simply clipping it – no messy wiring needed. Another innovation that allows the product size to be so slim is that the LEDs inside the fixture are aligned on strips of circuit board. Those strips are attached directly to the outer metal frame, which doubles as a heat sink, and keeps the LEDs from ever getting warm and reducing their life span. We were impressed by the nice daylight color and evenness of the light, as well as its generous output (which us lighting geeks call foot-candles).
Niagra introduced a toilet that only uses 0.8 gallons per flush! At first this didn’t sound different from flush rates touted by other plumbing manufactures, but the difference is that their toilet is not a dual flush. Most other bowls have the option of a “liquids” flush at a lower flow rate, and a “solids” flush that uses double the amount of water. This toilet handles all the effort with just one flush option. The model is Water Sense-certified, and right now it is only available for wholesale purchasing.
The Rainwater Pillow makes collecting and storing roof run-off a snap with its low-profile shape that can fit in a crawl space or under a deck. The large storage bags are made from a durable, industrial strength fabric and are available in sizes ranging from 1,000 gallons all the way up to 40,000 gallons. The technology hooked up to the bag is fully automated, and it can be integrated into drip irrigation systems, sprinklers, or a garden hose.
GE’s WattStation is now ready to use in your home. We told you about the commercial version of the EV charger earlier this year, and we’re excited to see the company’s design for a compact, wall-hung product for residential use.
These recycled leather tiles by EcoDomo have a luxurious look and feel. They are made from a minimum of 65% of post-industrial waste and are available in a range of colors and textures. EcoDomo has just announced at Greenbuild that they have an option for the tiles to be re-positionable. This follows the method that many carpet manufactures have pioneered. If one tile is damaged it can be easily replaced without the need for a full floor tear out.
Caroma has been recognized in the green design community for their Profile Smart toilet,which flushes using grey water from the sink integrated into the tank. The have now released the dual flush Sydney Smart one piece toilet (shown on the left). Not only does it have one of the lowest flush ratings for a dual-flush model — only 0.9 gallons per flush — but it also features a taller, chair-height bowl for extra comfort.
Using wireless technology, Verve Living Systems allows for automated climate control at home or in commercial environments. Eliminating the need for extensive wiring, the system allows modules to “talk” to lighting, HVAC, and other systems through radio signals at distances as great as 300 feet. Many of the products in the system use energy-harvesting technologies or photovoltaics to power themselves when transmitting radio signals. This means that they are wireless AND battery free! The Verve Living Systems are being used in Make It Right projects that Brad Pitt has developed in post-Katrina New Orleans.
Native Trails product line includes hammered copper vessels paired with reclaimed wood bath vanities for look that is both artisan and earth-friendly.