Claude Goguen, P.E. LEED AP, NPCA’s director of Technical Services, is staffing the NPCA exhibit at Greenbuild, the U.S. Green Building Council’s annual trade show for sustainable construction. Here are his impressions of the biggest annual event in green:
NPCA is once again extolling the virtues of precast concrete at Greenbuild, the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to sustainable building. This year, we are in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. As of yesterday, there were 22,000 registrants with attendance expected to top 30,000 before it’s all over on Saturday (Nov. 23). We are in a sea of 700 vendors representing construction and material companies ranging from United Technologies to Home Depot.
NPCA is located in the Concrete Solutions Pavilion – booth 3642. We had some good traffic the first two days. Lots of architects stopped by, some more familiar than others on the wide variety uses of precast concrete and the associated sustainable benefits.
One architect told me the only precast concrete sustainable attribute she was aware of was the use of supplementary cementitious materials such as fly ash. While that is certainly a benefit, I explained to her how precast concrete can contribute to energy savings in buildings with its inherent thermal mass. We also discussed the substantial reduction in site impact when using precast.
A student from Pakistan dropped by. She is studying at University of Oregon and will be returning to Pakistan to design buildings. She mentioned some specific concerns about seismic design, especially after the devastating earthquake in Pakistan in 2005. I explained that precast concrete structures can be designed to not only withstand seismic related stresses but stand up to many natural disasters due to its resiliency.
Another gentleman from Singapore dropped by our booth and told me they use precast concrete quite a bit for building construction. They love it for its speed of installation and quality, he said, adding that aesthetically, though, it just looked “like precast.” I showed him some beautiful photographs from Precast Solutions of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas. He was surprised that this type of facade was precast concrete and impressed by its amazing versatility.
We continued to spread the gospel of precast concrete until the expo floor closed. Hillary Clinton delivered the keynote address later in the evening, followed by a performance from Bon Jovi. Yes, celebrities abound. Even Austin Powers took a minute to stop by!