Greenbuild 2012 Presents Attendees with this Year’s Sustainable Trends
November 16, 2012

by Kaitlan Mitchell, kmitchell@glass.com

The 2012 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo drew industry leaders from across the country and around the world to the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco for three days of sustainable energy discussion. Although the green movement theme was prevalent throughout the entire conference, three key industry trends stood out among the rest.

The first apparent trend was the exhibitors’ continued goal to make better use of natural light for doors and windows. Multiple Greenbuild exhibitors including Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope®, Saint-Gobain and Technoform, have heightened their company’s products through the manipulation of sunlight by separating the rays of light from the heat to improve a building’s comprehensive thermal performance. The benefit of this trend is that structures no longer require the consumption of exponential amounts of energy to cool the building.

“I think our industry still has much growth when it comes to leveraging natural sunlight,” says Scott Ingalls national architectural manager for PPG Industries. “There are a lot of decisions being made without looking at all of the pieces of the pie such as what’s the proper amount of daylighting and how we engineer to that increment.”

Another common trend among Greenbuild exhibitors was a focus to revive existing buildings’ performance levels by fitting the structures with green applications. “Out with the old and in with the new” is a phrase that the retrofitting market is modifying. Instead of demolishing existing structures to begin from scratch, exhibitors are striving to fit old frames and windows with the latest green technology. This trend curbs waste management by keeping the original structure intact while improving on the basics. Greenbuild exhibitors such as Doralco Architectural Metal and PPG Industries continue to hone in on renovating older commercial buildings.

“There are so many existing buildings that were built with no regard to energy use that need updating to today's standards,” agrees John Rovi business development manager for Sapa Extrusions North America. “Retrofitting is a way to update the building with new technologies and materials that really make a lot of sense.”

Many exhibitors at the conference also proudly proclaimed that their products are manufactured in the United States. Beyond patriotism, the exhibitors are reducing their carbon footprint by using less transportation and depending on local material instead of outsourcing to other countries. Not only do locally sourced materials provide lower shipping costs for the company but the U.S. purchase requires less fuel consumption hence becoming more eco-friendly through the product production process. While this trend contributes to the revitalization of the U.S. economy it also gives companies the opportunity to take a more proactive role in green building management during manufacturing. Companies such as Safti First and Polytronix Inc. were among those pointing out that their products are produced in the United States.

“This is one of the more talked about LEED stipulations,” says Rovi. “I understand the local materials use less glass to transport to the job site, but many companies are trying to figure out how to ‘work around’ that requirement. A project being built in Omaha, Neb., has less local products than a project built in Chicago. I'm sure changes will come about to help offset some of these challenges.”

This year’s 2012 Greenbuild sustainable building trends give the industry a better foresight as to the top green initiatives to be expected in 2013. Attendees were able to see firsthand the exhibitors’ continued efforts to challenge and further their role in the green movement.

This story is an original story by USGlass magazine/USGNN™. Subscribe to USGlass magazine.
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