Wednesday, 4 March 2009

like a kid in a sweetie shop...

Today was a good day, an educational day, an inspirational day but a tiring one. I got to catch up with people I knew, got to meet people face to face that I had previously only talked to via email but got battered by crowds of teenagers on jollies trying to get as much free stuff as they could. Where did we go?

We went to Ecobuild.

Ecobuild is hailed as 'the world's biggest annual event for sustainability and innovation in design, construction and the built environment' Wow. That's quite a claim, and true to it's word, the two adjoined Earl's Court exhibition centres were packed almost to the rafters with some amazing eco toys.
For me, it was like a child being given free run of the Cadbury's factory.

Where to start? What to see? What seminars shall we go to? It was very mind boggling the amount of stuff we had to stuff into the small window given to us by our uber cheap 'super off peak but miss your window and you are stuffed' train ticket.

We started at the 'Green Shoots' area, and saw our chums from BioTecture and Quercus. After having a good old cynical chat about some of the suited and booted stall holders in the 'big boys' area (our term, not the official one) we ran round the smaller section of the exhibition halls and grabbed a load of interesting bits of info and wee samples. Found SureSet (recycled glass permeable paving as seen in our last show garden), and had another nice chat.
Heading into the larger of the two exhibition halls we turned the corner straight into the wonderful SCIN area. Here we met a very interesting company at the other end of East Sussex to us who recycle glass bottles from along the stretch of coast between us into tiles, worksurfaces and other sexy bits. Next door was Smile Plastics, and it was great to finally meet Colin, who I have spoken to on the phone and email but never seen. Face and name connected, we had another chinwag about the big boys, but also about the cool stuff in the smaller sections.

I then realised we were running late for the seminar I wanted to attend, 'Outdoors insight: sustainable public spaces'. Dr Bill Addis was brilliant with his seminar on 'Materials: selection, recycling and reducing waste'. Lots of talk about reducing the use of virgin aggregates, adopting a closed loop mentality and utilising local materials - right up my street. It was incredibly encouraging to see that the seminar was massively oversubscribed, with people standing up and sitting on the floor.

Grabbed a glass of organic carrot and apple juice (my favourite and bloody nice), then whizzed around the remainder of the show, chattering to people about recycled paper insulation, zero carbon prefab houses and wildflower carpets grown on waste fibers from the British textile industry.

By the time we arrived back at BioTecture to say toodaloo we were knackered. Even though the show is brilliant, there are only so many ground source heat pumps, heat exchangers, triple glazed units, composting loos and biomass boilers you can look at without feeling glazed yourself.

But if you have ANY sort of interest in the sustainable built environment, go next year, and in the meantime, visit the website which has a great list of all the exhibitors.

Back to Brighton within the afore mentioned window (just) and fell asleep on train.

Even jollies can be tiring. Jolly? Sorry, meant market research (just feels like a jolly... hee hee...)

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