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USGNN Original StoryGlass and Metal Companies Take Part in GreenBuild 2008 in Boston

The 2008 GreenBuild International Conference & Expo, sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), began today at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. As many in the construction industry have learned, green building is not a passing trend; it's here to stay.

According to McGraw-Hill Construction's Green Outlook 2009: Trends Driving Change report (CLICK HERE to read that report), released today at GreenBuild, the value of green building construction starts was up five-fold from 2005 to 2008 (from $10 billion to $36-$49 billion), and could triple by 2013, reaching $96-$140 billion.

And despite the bleak economy, green building has actually been called "the bright spot in an otherwise tough economy." In fact, U.S. Green Building Council members report green building to be less affected by the down market compared to non-green building.

Products that can be used in creating green structure will certainly be on display this week in Boston. Glass and glazing materials can offer a hand when it comes to creating an energy-efficient building and a number of industry companies are introducing new technologies at the show.

For starters, a number of companies under the Apogee Enterprises umbrella are exhibiting with new green products. Viracon is introducing VUE-50 insulating glass, which is designed to provide a balance of light, comfort, solar performance and sustainability. Wausau Window and Wall Systems is showing a sunshade that intercepts solar heat gain before it can add to the HVAC system's load. Linetec has changed its anodize etch chemistry from traditional, caustic etch to a more environmentally-friendly, acid-etch process and Tubelite has a new, Therml=Block™ entrance system.

"This is my first time to attend the show personally, although not Viracon's first time to exhibit," says Christine Shaffer, marketing manager at Viracon. "Traffic is very strong and my initial reaction is very positive. There are many decision makers here. We're getting quite a few technical questions about energy related glazing solutions, and our new VUE high performance glazing product is attracting a lot of attention.

Also during GreenBuild, a number of industry companies are taking part in the special demonstration project, "High Performance School of the Future, Today." Designed by Project FROG, a San Francisco-based design firm, the 1,282-square-foot "learning space" incorporates the latest concepts in eco-friendly, sustainable features and products.

PPG's Solarban 70XL glass was used because it can transmit sunlight while blocking more than 70 percent of the sun's heat. The project also features PPG's Pure Performance paint by Pittsburgh Paints and Duranar SPF and Ultra-COOL coatings.

In addition, YKK AP was also involved in the project.

"We supplied all of the curtainwall and window systems and the sunshade system on the project," says Mike Turner, vice president of marketing for YKK AP America in Austell, Ga. "The systems that were selected were very thermally efficient."

In addition, Turner notes that the company's ThermaShade sunshade system is Cradle-to-Cradle-certified (CLICK HERE for related story.

"It's a nice learning environment," Turner says of the "school of the future" on the show floor, adding, "it's a good change from a non-well lit solution like a triple-wide trailer or something like that."

According to Turner “One of the benefits with some of the systems that we provided, we chose systems that were pre-assembled so it really expedited the process. The entire project was built with pieces laying flat to what you see here today in seven days; that also includes local inspection. They didn’t do any inspection off-site.” He added, “I believe they assembled some of the components earlier in California … but they shipped everything flat.”

Turner noted that the aisles at Greenbuild have been packed with people. “It’s probably the busiest show I’ve been to in years,” he commented.

Also exhibiting are GlasWeld Systems chief visionary officer Mike Boyle and Glass Technology president Kerry Wanstrath, both promoting the green benefits of their glass repair equipment.

“We’re bringing [glass] repair to light for architects, and there are even quite a few glass manufacturers here as well who didn’t know that this was available,” says Boyle. “Repair really is a very green process in itself.”

Despite the economy, Boyle says attendance is high—numbering around 10,000.

“I think you can tell by the attendance that the people here are successful and one of the reasons they’re successful is that they’ve created sustainable businesses,” Boyle adds.

Wanstrath says the show has been both educational—and a good experiment—for him.

“It’s been educational. We’re learning what sustainable building is all about and how flat glass and scratched glass restoration fits into the picture,” he says. “Our company is kind of testing the waters here, and it’s nice to see that there are tens of thousands of people here interested in sustainable building and the restoration process.”

GreenBuild 2008 runs through Friday this week.

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