Greenbuild Recap + Industry Trends

Greenbuild – the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building – was held November 20-22, 2013 in Philadelphia. Over 30,000 attendees from 90 countries convened for education sessions, networking, and to see over 1,000 exhibitors show off their latest innovations in green products and smart business technology.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the U.S. Green Building Council, and – two decades in – the movement has reached fever pitch.

Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter emphasized that now, more than ever, people are realizing that, “Green building is good building, and good business.”

He cited Comcast Center, the tallest LEED certified building in America, and Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles’s LEED certified stadium, as evidence of Philadelphia’s commitment to a sustainable future. He said it’s his goal to make Philadelphia the number one green city in America, but added that it’s not a zero sum game: every city should aim for this target.

Three popular product categories stood out to us:

1. Software and tools

Cloud technology is allowing offices around the world to go paperless – but what about those big, bulky sets of construction documents?

One of the many solutions presented at Greenbuild was Smart-Use, a software that allows for comparing, red-lining, and sharing plans on any device. They also manufacture large screen touch tables, which allow users to work on the drawings at their actual size.

Smart-Use is tailored to the construction and engineering industry but the software would be equally at home in an architecture and design firm, promoting collaboration and cutting down on paper usage.

2. Specialty wood products

But, even as companies hasten to become paperless, the average American still uses nearly six trees worth of paper each year (there’s just something about putting the pencil to paper, you know?). The Forest Stewardship Council looks this fact squarely in the eye and takes an “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” attitude to forest protection. So when you do use paper, make sure it’s FSC certified.

They showed off the versatility of wood from responsibly managed forests with this bike on the expo floor.

Remember: the more employees that bike to your office, the closer you are to a higher LEED rating. Philadelphia, incidentally, has the highest percentage of workers who bike to work of any big city in the country.
Remember: the more employees that bike to your office, the closer you are to a higher LEED rating. Philadelphia, incidentally, has the highest percentage of workers who bike to work of any big city in the country.

3. Roofing

Who doesn’t love the look, the feel, and the benefits of a good green roof? One of our favorites sits atop the new GSK building in Philadelphia’s Navy Yard (more on that here).

LiveRoof – a hybrid green roof system – is notable for the way that it maxmizes storm water management: each 1′ x 2′ invisible module weighs in at under 29 pounds, even when wet.

A sample LiveRoof module on the expo floor.
A sample LiveRoof module on the expo floor.

To find out more about the new products that were showcased at Greenbuild, click here. Greenbuild 2014 will be held October 22-24, 2014 in New Orleans.

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