Sustainable Design for the 21st Century

GreenBuild 2016 – Los Angeles

by Brent Sauser


I had the pleasure to attend the 2016 GreenBuild Convention in Los Angeles, CA.  This was my 6th GreenBuild that dates back to 2009.  I spent the majority of my time walking the exhibition hall.  My overall impression was very positive with high marks for the quantity and quality of exhibitors, wonderful venue location, and depth of classes offered.  I enjoyed talking with many of the exhibitors about their products who were eager to share their expertise.  Quite honestly, the convention was better than I expected.


However . . . . I came away with a sad feeling that the freshness and trendiness of the GreenBuild experience has faded, the luster and excitement of what once was a significant and relevant movement, now appeared mainstream, even boring.  I attribute that to three observations:

1.    Attendance:  After talking with several exhibitors it was their collective opinion that attendance was down.  I agree.  I remember packed aisles with past GreenBuilds, but numbers have tapered off.  Considering the expense to exhibit at GreenBuild the expectations were high.


2.     GreenBuild is just another of many similar, but competing certification programs.  What was once the trailblazer for green building is now one of many certification programs that have their own conventions, certification process, and testing for future professionals.   Each one is a little different from the other but are more similar than different overall.  The original CEO of the USGBC jumped ship to spin-off another certification program that focuses on “well building”.  Over saturation of these, well intended building certification programs could be diluting the overall direction of green building and be more of a deterrent then benefit to the green building movement.  Evidence of this could be seen in the more vanilla exhibits at the convention this year.  I didn’t really see any leading edge products and several exhibitors that usually come to GreenBuild no longer participate.


3)   The massage chair factor: My unscientific measurement for determining when a movement has “jumped the shark” is by how many totally unrelated exhibitors are sprinkled throughout the floor.   Admittedly, they fill space and add revenue, but don’t contribute to the  vision of what GreenBuild once stood for.  I have nothing against massage chairs or massage devices (in fact, I bought two!), but when the quest for maximizing revenue to fill spaces, because those spaces cannot be filled with GreenBuild relevant exhibitors, it’s only a mater of time before what once was leading edge and unique is filled with exhibitors of massage chairs, tasers, and magic cleaners.


Several years ago I wondered if this day would come, where GreenBuild would evolve into just another kind of home show, but it has.  Unless GreenBuild decides to come to the Orlando Convention Center (my back yard), I will investigate what other conventions to attend that now carry the torch for green building and sustainable design.  But as for GreenBuild, stick a fork in it!


Net Zero Max to attend GreenBuild 2016 in Los Angeles

by Brent Sauser


After avoiding last year’s political convention in Washington D.C., Net Zero Max is looking forward to renewing old friendships and making new connections at the 2016 GreenBuild Convention this week in Los Angeles.  Net Zero Max will be walking the vast exhibition floor to capture the latest information regarding renewable products and materials.  We will keep our eyes and ears open for any news regarding solar progress, as well as recent information where solar is under attack by big power utility monopolies.  Stay tuned for photos and convention related news real time during exhibition hours. 


Greenbuild 2014 Follow-up

By Brent Sauser


Greenbuild 2014 was a great success for NetZeroMax. The night before the start of the convention we were invited by the folks at Big Ass Fans to a private tour of the new Tulane University football stadium. 32 of their 12 foot and 14 foot high quality fans provide the much needed air movement to help stay cool in the heat and humidity of a typical New Orleans summer and fall day. Afterward, we were treated to a wonderful dinner in the French quarter.

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We enjoyed walking the vast convention floor and meeting with many of our established NetZeroMax friends and making new ones along the way. The one that impressed us most, and was awarded the NetZeroMax Award for Innovation and Creativity, went to InfiniteR. InfiniteR is a thermal phase change product that will help to absorb heat at a low temperature and release it at a low temperature. We ended up returning to the InfiniteR booth several times. Please refer to the other posts on NetZeroMax related to InfiniteR. This is a new product and deserves closer investigation.

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NetZeroMax was introduced to another new GreenBuild exhibitor featuring a major component in the fabrication of SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) . . . EZ SIPs. EZ SIPs provides the rigid insulation, complete with a thermal break, to fit into 2×6 frame construction . . . at half the cost of traditional SIPs. EZ SIPs is also featured on a separate NetZeroMax post for your review.


NetZeroMax was very pleased to see Joe Morikawa of Geo Power System return to GreenBuild. We first met Joe two years ago during Greenbuild in San Francisco, and then last year at the Philadelphia Greenbuild convention. Geo Power System provide a practical alternative to mechanical cooling and heating using a variation of geothermal technology. This is a relatively new approach to passive heating and cooling in the USA, but is very common in Joe’s native country of Japan. NetZeroMax applauds Geo Power System for crossing the Pacific to offer this low cost, passive approach to cooling and heating our homes. Taking into consideration that heating and cooling take the biggest bite out of our utility bill, Geo Power System is well worth investigating for new residential construction. Why not give Joe a call (760) 484-2723?


One of the most obvious products missing from the convention was any reference to solar panels or other types of solar installations. The solar industry holds their own convention. Beginning in 2015 NetZeroMax will alternate attending Greenbuild with going to a solar convention. We will then be able to attend both conventions every other year. In 2015 NetZeroMax will be attending a solar convention, but will be in San Diego for GreenBuild 2016. Alternating conventions will provide the best coverage of the newest and lowest cost products, systems, and options that will help us all become that much closer to reaching our Net Zero goals.

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