Over 25,000 greenies swarmed the halls at the Toronto Convention Center at yesterday's opening of Greenbuild 2011. This annual expo sponsored by the USGBC features sustainable building products and systems, but is also host to an educational conference where architects, designers, builders, and other industry experts brush up on their knowledge of certification programs, codes, and world trends. We were on the scene, and we have handpicked a number of noteworthy products from the exhibition. We also noticed the major focus this year is on manufacturer transparency and individual's responsibility to seek out product green information. Check out our favorite picks after the jump, and if you want to join in the crowds of eco-optimism from home, you can watch the live streaming speaker series here!
Modlet plugs into any 120 outlet to monitor and transmit energy usage data to your home computer. Its an easy, inexpensive ways to track your efficiency habit using software supplied by Modlet’s manufacturer ThinkEco.
Construction Specialties have partnered with Perkins+Will to officially launch at Greenbuild the world’s first on-product eco labeling system from flooring called the Transparency Project. The label, which snaps onto their grid flooring modules, supplies an overview about the materials, recycling, and manufacturer information. By adding labels onto the product itself, it allows for building owners to have more information about repairing or end of life strategies for the material when they are remodeling. It also directs to a website called Transparency.c-sgroup.com, which provides extremely detailed product data. The company is making their system and website open source, so that other manufacturers are free to adopt the system.
No, this is not bubble wrap for your home, it is a revolutionary, natural phase-changing material called BioPCM that can drastically increase a building’s climate efficiency. These mats have encapsulated pockets of completely natural and petroleum free, palm and soy oils. When exposed to heated, as they were shown at the Greenbuild layered on a chamber heated to 120 degrees, the oils absorb to cool, but also store the warmth and expel it again when the outside temperature drops. BioPCM is not an insulation, but rather is used with insulation to regulate temperature more efficiently than by simply increasing insulation mass. For example, these sheets are comparable to using 12″ of concrete as a thermal barrier, but are lightweight, flexible, thin, and easily installed.
We have seen some really great examples this year of home cleaning product companies reducing packaging and concentrating product. Now the commercial cleaning business can be green too with concentrated cleanser packs from PortionPac. To simply the packaging to its barest, the only printing is on a sticker that is also used to join three of the recyclable pouches together.
A heater, magnet board, and noteboard in one from Redwell! Available with chalkboard, whiteboard, glass, mirror, or other artistic surfaces, these infrared radiant heaters are easily installed into a standard wall outlet. This poster sized ceramic heater will efficiently warm a 10’x14′ room and are safe to the touch.
Another type of efficient space heating comes from Jaga, whose uses low temperature forced warm water systems that provide radiant heat. These stylish radiators can be completely customized with bent wood, or patterned metal covers.
GE offers Nucleus, a home energy monitoring solution that can track your whole home, and also give specific data for your thermostat and appliances. To go along with this system of wall plugs and software, GE has introduced a water heater and washer dryer combo that has a built-in chip specifically to communicate with Nucleus. This added technology will allow the system to regulate appliances on off-peak energy cycles, and allow you to control remotely.
I spoke with Emma Stewart, Senior Manager of Sustainability at Autodesk to learn about how their designing and planning software is enabling the green building industry. Because Autodesk has solutions for everything from product design, to industrial machinery engineering, building planning, and even urban planning, Emma said that it is like having all of the “ingredients” to design a sustainable city. They are able to offer designers all the product and materials information they need to make greener choice by leveraging strong partnerships with database providers. For example, their SEEK program uses the Granta database of LCA information, and gives free access to materials data. SEEK connects with Autodesk’s other architectural design software to allow for selection of products based on your personal green values. Check out this video to see it in action.