Day 1 at GreenBuild 2014! By: greening homes

October 23, 2014
Community, Green Materials, Resource Efficiency


GH President Chris Phillips will be blogging daily about his experiences in New Orleans at the Greenbuild Conference.

Hello from New Orleans and GreenBuild 2014!

Once again, this conference — produced by the United States Green Building Council and the largest green building convention in North America — is enormous, with almost 40 aisles of exhibits, hundreds of seminars, a film festival, and an opening plenary that took place tonight in the 60,000+ seat Superdome (of Hurricane Katrina fame). My three days here are very full and it’s impossible to see everything. Here’s a very quick photo blog of some highlights…

This year is the first time GreenBuild has included a residential-focused seminar track and I’ll be attending several of these over the next few days. Here’s a pic of the GreenBuild Living Home, part of the new residential pavilion showcasing the latest in green design. It’s of modular construction and will be installed in the Hurricane Katrina-ravaged 9th Ward after the show (

GreenBuild LivingHome

Today’s seminars focused around the Passive House standard, including a crash course on Passive House techniques for builders, and a discussion about the challenges of the standard for sub-tropical climates (such as New Orleans). Below is a shot of a slide showing big changes to the current PH requirements in an attempt to make it more relevant to all climates and building sizes:

PH changes to come

The standard is moving away from ACH (air changes/hour) requirements, will recognise that primary energy demand should apply to a per person metric (to avoid monster homes), and will be climate specific (over insulation can cause enormous added heat loads in New Orleans…just from the occupants). And, really big news: construction cost optimization modelling will soon become a consideration of the Passive House standard!

Some interesting materials from the floor today:

Phase change materials for thermal storage ( These paraffin wax pockets can fit behind drywall or under a roof and literally absorb and remove heat from a building, changing from a solid to a liquid in the process. As the building cools, the heat is released…

BioPCM Phase Change Material

This is cool: frameless photovoltaic modules (made in Canada!) for use as a patio cover, as a car port, or over walkways (

Lumos Frameless PV Modules

A favourite of some high performance builders is this product, Zip Sheathing ( It’s a structural roof and wall OSB panel with an already integrated air barrier on one side. This product has the potential to create big labour/cost savings in installation time. Taping the panels at the seams gives you a quick and durable continuous air barrier and some panels have been combined with insulation…a nail base similar to what we used on our Beechwood project, but with the air barrier already in place:

Zip Sheathing 1

I purchased one of these ShowerStart valves ( out of interest to possibly introduce to our clients.  The valve, which is attached to your shower head, eliminates behavioural waste by shutting the shower off once hot water is sensed.  No water is wasted waiting for the shower to warm up. A quick pull of the tassle and the water starts up again — all pre-warmed:

Evolve ShowerStart Valve

That’s it for now: tomorrow’s morning sessions start in 4 hours!  Ack!