Image from TimberSIL
Sprawl took on a whole new meaning at GreenBuild 2012. The Expo areas spanned three buildings and acres of space, resulting in an overwhelming exhibition of green building products and technologies, And, after 15 booths about energy monitoring software, number 16 has a tough time making an impact. Among all the products though, a few managed to rise above the morass: partly because they were simple products with better ingredients, properties or both. An unscientific selection of products that caught my eye:
1. TimberSIL - It's wood! It's glass! It's both.... TimberSIL has brought together the best of two building products: fast growing pine is harvested and impregnated with liquid glass, creating a product that looks like wood, is cut, hammered and stained like wood, but is significantly stronger, flame resistant and unpalatable to wood-eating pests. For interior or exterior applications, it leaves regular wood in the dust. TimberSIL is based in Greenville, SC, and is distributed nationally. Their website won't wow you, but the product should.
2. Vermont Natural Coatings - Vermont is known for cheese, and Vermont Natural Coatings takes whey, the cheese by-product that Little Miss Muffet taught us about as kids, and turns it into wood finishes. Aside from allowing plenty of opportunities for puns ("A Better Whey"), whey proteins apparently make for strong, durable, low VOC stains, paints and coatings: twice the hardness of other waterborne wood finishes. A cabinet door they painted with two coats of C2 satin paint the day before GreenBuild had a finish more like you'd expect from a oil-based paint in terms of the smooth, leveled finish. The company's line meets the air quality standards for California schools, and is available in interior and exterior finishes, clear and tinted, and for industrial applications such as sports floors.
3. The Bulb Eater by AirCycle Corporation - OK, this only rates a mention because a) it was a cool machine and b) it solves a problem I didn't know existed because I have never managed a 150,000+ sqft facility and the space-consuming dead fluorescent bulbs it generates. Visitors to the booth didn't get to feed the machine with lightbulbs, but the video of the machine sucking in 4ft fluorescent tubes and pulverizing them in a second appealed to my inner-destroyer. Filters capture the mercury vapors and the waste is captured in a 55-gal drum that can be sent for further processing. Saves space, lessens the chance of toxic waste finding its way into the landfill, and provides a satisfying way to grind up those work-day blues.
I'm passionate about sustainable architecture + energy + food and how advances in their technology can help save the planet.