I’ll admit it.
I didn’t want to go.
Where, I hear you ask?
Nothing against sustainable construction, mind you. It’s just I’m not a huge fan of the ExCeL centre, or – and I hate to say it – trade shows in general.
I was pleasantly surprised. Dare I say it, I even enjoyed myself.
This year’s event was HUGE. Bigger than I anticipated, even though I did check out the website and peep some of the vendors sites before I went. There were more than 1,300 exhibitors from the fields of design, construction and what Ecobuild calls “the built environment”. Still not sure what that is. Seems a bit vague….but I think they mean people who sell and install things for inside your building…floors, toilets, plumbing, windows, etc.
So, why did I enjoy it?
1. I got to know a very cool company – REC Solar.
2. I was thrilled to see what a huge presence solar was at the show. Despite concerns around the government’s planned review of feed in tariff policy and what this could mean for the UK solar industry – all the big players were out in force. Go team.
3. I got to get back in touch with my techie roots and play with phase change materials (PCMs for the uninitiated) – check out BASF and DuPont. There was a great little demo centre called the Cool Workspace, which showed how PCMs can be used to create a more sustainable office environment by storing both heating and cooling, reducing the carbon footprint of buildings by up to 30%.
4. The people. Yes, that old chestnut. I was genuinely impressed with the huge range of people that were drawn in. From the big corporate sales guys, to students, to apprentice builders, to eco-conscious consumers, to, er… models dressed as Canadian mounties (see below). While most of the attendees were indeed more of the corporate ilk, it was refreshing to see that there was a noticeable representation from a huge range of people.
As nice as it would be to preserve all the green space left in the world, that’s never going to happen. Construction and physical development is a reality. Even here on our little island, we’re expected to increase our population to from 61 million to 70 million in about 15 years. Whether that growth is sustainable from a resources point of view or not is a different blog post, but that’s a lot of new housing, schools and hospitals. Let’s hope they’re built in a way that takes a lesson from Ecobuild.