Observations from Greenbuild 2019

Posted on 12/3/2019 10:11:47 AM By Paul Bertram

Although in my last blog, I announced that I would address vertical walls, I decided to report on the recent Greenbuild show as related to adhesives and sealants.

I was able to attend Greenbuild 2019 in Atlanta and made a number of observations relative to the Adhesives and Sealants industries, especially to the construction segments including vertical walls, roofs and below grade waterproofing.

This is in alignment with the recent  ASC Growth Program –“Grow the Vertical” ‘Voice of the Customer’ Research

Some of the stated Greenbuild Sustainability Objectives relative to ASC members included:

  • Move toward zero waste management
  • Advanced Stakeholder Education and Engagement
  • Improving Sustainable Sourcing
  • Reduce Green House Gas Emissions

I am always interested to find what the new “Buzz” words or focus is introduced at Greenbuild.

Here are some of the common themes that emerged this year:

  • Offsetting your carbon footprint while attending Greenbuild to support Global GHG reduction
  • Move to Zero
  • Decarbonization – specific to construction materials
  • Material embodied energy
  • Catalyzing Well-being for all
  • Future Ready Resilient & sustainable buildings and materials
  • Safe and Circular Building Materials
  • How manufacturers can achieve transparency in Social Justice
  • Carbon, materials and circularity as related to low carbon walls, roofs and foundations

These are just a few of the central themes that were addressed at Greenbuild

In previous blogs, I have discussed Lifecycle thinking and this plays to the theme of material circularity in low carbon walls, roofs and foundations

In that I represent manufacturer’s perspectives, I found participation by building product suppliers significantly down this year. The exhibit hall barely filled the bottom level of the convention center. I remember when all three levels had exhibitors. However, I did find some of the manufacturers Education Labs interesting.

Topics included:

  • Sustainability, Resilience, Adaptability
  • Specific heath and carbon smart materials
  • Better IAQ low emitting materials
  • Owners perspectives in heathy and sustainable material selections
  • Life cycle analysis to scale (whole building LCA)

As an example, Architecture 2030 is an actionable framework for architects and designers to meet the 2030 challenge goals of carbon neutral by 2030.

Many of these themes also support AIA’s recent addition to their Code of Ethics by specifically addressing environmental priorities like water, energy, and climate change.

However, as an observation, Greenbuild might be a more attractive venue for manufacturers if building science and functional performance could be integrated in their scope. Issues such as lack of field quality control/assurance being a determent in delivering targeted energy efficiency healthy materials, and carbon reduction goals for LEED certifications. As related tolow carbon, high performance, vertical walls, roofs and below grade waterproofing,adhesives are critical building system components that are seldom discussed beyond VOC levels.

In contrast to Greenbuild, The National Institutes of Building Sciences (NIBS)  2020 Building Innovation Conference fills the void of singularly addressing Sustainability, Resilience, Adaptability by integrating the importance of building science “system” testing, functional performance, resilient code updates, future ready design for resilient high performance, energy efficient low carbon buildings.

As an example, in the ASC “Grow the Vertical” ‘Voice of the Customer’ Research it was stated that; “Using improper installation techniques or products that are not specified correctly when it comes to applying air barrier or sealants in humid air can result in humid air getting trapped and re-emulsifying the sealant which means the whole system needs to be replaced”

Another finding reported; “When liquid-applied WRBs are applied too thinly, due to disregard of meeting manufacturer’s minimum required thickness, can pose failure in water resistance barrier of wall surfaces.”

All of the current focus of USGBC and other Green Certifications impact members of the Adhesive and Sealants Council and should be evaluated in presenting respective their role in delivering high performance, energy efficient, low carbon buildings.

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