Recap: 10th Annual Greenbuild in Toronto

Greenbuild Conference & Expo

Greenbuild 2011 marked the first international Greenbuild Conference and Expo, driving the importance of a global solution to sustainability.  It was also, quietly, the 10th annual Greenbuild, where was that celebration?  While the mood was upbeat, we were also alongside over 23,000 leaders of the green building industry, or as Thomas Freidman put it in his opening plenary (31:00 in), the dumb ones who keep on fighting for a green revolution!

Throughout the conference the twitter stream #GBNEXT was alive and well, letting those not able to attend be a part of the conversation. You can also watch a majority of the master series sessions online through the USGBC.  Freidman and John Picard stood out as the rockstars of the week.  I’ve summarized some trends below I observed growing out of the discussions, master speakers, and networking.

Data:  “You can’t manage what you don’t manage,” said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, referring to the NYC building energy disclosure law.  Measurement and verification, monitoring, and open source applications to visualize and interpret the data are all growing rapidly to help us with issues of controllability and demand response.  LEED for Homes Pilot Credit 38 [PDF], advanced utility tracking, begins to bring energy data logging and water metering into Homes.  LEED Automation and the Green Building Information Gateway are two projects from USGBC leading these efforts.

- Health:  Moving beyond VOCs.  Standards of Cradle to Cradle, the Living Building Challenge Red List [PDF], market forces of Google and advocacy of Health Product Declaration are driving the focus to remove toxins from our nutrient cycles.  LEED 2012 will also bring changes to the indoor environmental quality credits to focus more on removing some of these toxins.

- International:  The 5th annual international forum took place on Tuesday prior with the now 89 World Green Building Councils now represented.  LEED is now positioning to become the premier internationally accepted green building certification.  LEED will be incorporating Alternative Compliance Paths for teams in international locations, created by their local Green Building Council, to make LEED more adaptable to international projects.

- Government:  The lack of any national policies in the near term will propel the industry from a regulatory or incentive perspective.  Therefore local leaders must play a major role in advocating for and leading a green revolution.

You can follow our growing coverage from Greenbuild Next here.


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  • Al Good

    Most office buildings use forced air heating and cooling. If each vent had a manual damper that the employee in the office (or in an area) could control, all employees would be more comfortable and it would save energy.  
    In the summer, cold employees could shut their vents, increasing the pressure in the main duct and blowing more air on hot employees. When enough employees close their vents, pressure sensors would reduce fan speed.  
    A single thermostat in a common area with a constant-flow vent would lower or stop the air conditioner compressors when the temperature at that location is too cold. The air flow fans would continue to blow. As employees open their vents, less air would blow on the thermostat, which would kick on the AC.
    The same would work for heating in the winter.
    No one would ever need little space heaters in an over-airconditioned building because they could control their own environment. 
    The only costs for new buildings would be for replacing undampered vents with dampered vents (about $8 per vent), and for the pressure sensors and multi-speed fans. You would eliminate multiple thermostats and controls.
    I have never seen an office building designed using this simple system. I am a civil engineer. I would like to see a mechanical/HVAC engineers cost/benefit analysis for new buildings and retrofit of existing buildings.

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