Green to Go: Taking Builder Education on the Road

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In an effort to keep builders informed about green building, a 28-foot trailer made with over 50 recycled-content, non-toxic, energy-efficient, recyclable and reused building products rolled into the Moscone Center in San Francisco for the Pacific Coas...

August 01, 2000

 

The Alameda County Waste Management Authority and Source Reduction and Recycling Board’s Resource-full Showcase educated visitors about green building at the Pacific Coast Builders Show (PCBC). The 28-foot trailer contains over 50 recycled-content, non-toxic, energy-efficient, recyclable and reused building products, as well as a buyers’ guide to reuse and recycling.

 

In an effort to keep builders informed about green building, a 28-foot trailer made with over 50 recycled-content, non-toxic, energy-efficient, recyclable and reused building products rolled into the Moscone Center in San Francisco for the Pacific Coast Builders Conference (PCBC) in June.

The Resource-full Showcase, as it is called, is a mobile exhibit of building products and practices that are energy and material-efficient. The award-winning educational tool was developed by the Alameda County Waste Management Authority and the Alameda County Source Reduction and Recycling Board just over a year ago, and has already made its way to numerous industry shows, schools and green building conferences.

Its first appearance at PCBC was met with a very positive response. The number of visitors was in the thousands, according to Bruce Goddard, Public Affairs Director for the group, and the reactions of those who toured the trailer were very promising.

"For so many people this is a new concept, and a venue like PCBC gives us a chance to reach a lot of people. It’s sort of a Rorschach test. We can dispel that negative image of green building as tree-hugging-a really nice idea, but not practical."

What helped to do away with that granola, impractical image for many attendees was the hands-on approach the trailer offers. Rather than just hearing about green building -- or worse listen to preaching about it -- visitors were able to see and touch actual products and learn about construction techniques that can be put into use immediately.

Products in nearly every category were featured including framing/structural, lumber, roofing, siding and sheathing, insulation, panel products, paints/stains/adhesives and solar power systems. Interior products such as ceiling tiles, countertops, wall coverings, flooring products, fabrics and furnishings were also on display.

Figures and analyses helped show builders that green building is not only Earth-friendly, but also wallet-friendly.

We have used analyses of life cycle and other tools related to the bottom line and found this makes a lot of good sense," says Goddard. "But we know change comes slowly and we want to be a part of that change process. This is where it’s going. Green is going to be a part of the public consciousness."

To help hasten that change, the "Builders’ Guide to Reuse and Recycling", a 50-page pamphlet offered at the Resource-full Showcase, identifies local sources for recycled and green building materials, facilities where waste materials can be recycled and contractors who dismantle and salvage buildings (as opposed to demolition). It also offers tips and fast facts, including the one that sums up the inspiration for the program in the first place:

"Buildings have a major impact on our lives and our natural environment. A large portion of the world’s oil and coal supply goes to heat, cool, light and maintain our buildings. Nearly 30% of solid waste disposed in California landfills comes from building construction and demolition projects. This is wasteful -- and unnecessary."

During the three-day PCBC show, the Alameda County Waste Management Authority and Source Reduction and Recycling Board also sponsored green building consultations with David Johnston, author of Building Green in a Black and White World, and Lynn Simon, AIA, a boardmember of the U.S. Green Building Council, in which home builders could chat one-on-one with experts in the field.

"It’s all educational," says Goddard of the components that make up the Resource-full Showcase. "We want to lift people’s awareness of what’s out there and what’s possible, as well as [get them to] re-think what green building is all about in terms of materials, practices and cost savings."

Also See:

Stop Waste... Before It Starts

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