I am freshly back from the Greenbuild convention in Philadelphia, where I talked to lots of passionate and informed people. I found some great materials for our project, and walked on past many others. I learned a lot about the mechanics and biology of waste water management, sometimes even discussed over lunch!
I saw some strong differences of opinion about what can be described as sustainable, and what materials are suitable. I heard a man on the stall for the plastics industry describing the people who say PVC is harmful as the 'bleeding edge'. I am sure that was not intended as a compliment. I also saw a stand offering decorative boards made from MDF, which is made from wood pulp bonded together with some very nasty chemicals, the dust of which is very dangerous for those who work with it.
However, I came away inspired and encouraged. If the path to creating a home that costs the planet nothing, in terms of water supply and usage, is a kilometer long, then I have taken two more steps. It was great to see many large companies and large numbers of individuals, all of whom recognize how important the building industry is to creating a sustainable relationship between humans and the planet.
Separately, last Monday, I was honored and privileged to speak about our project to the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, along with our contractor, and an architect from another Living Building Challenge project in new Jersey. It was super to see more than forty architects interested to learn about this building standard.