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Ecobuild: the essential guide

Hattie Hartman highlights the top attractions and five best seminars at this year’s essential green expo

It’s almost Ecobuild time again. This year’s show runs from 2-4 March at Earls Court, and proves that the demand for green building is stronger than ever, with exhibitor numbers above 1,000, up from 850 in 2009. More and more companies plan their calendar year to launch new products at Ecobuild, and the show is a mini-networking scene for those on the forefront of green design. For the less green, the show can be daunting. Keen discernment is essential to find what you’re looking for.

This year, for the first time, BREEAM will announce its annual awards during the trade show. Although some grumble that BREEAM is more about chasing points than delivering exemplar green design, there is no question that the voluntary environmental rating system has moved practice forward.

It’s worth studying the seminar guide (below) before deciding which day to attend. Many seminars take place on stands, in addition to the official programme. New this year is Ecobuild Fringe, which includes seminars by environmental charity Bioregional and an AECB workshop where you can examine a Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery (MVHR) unit, essential for any PassivHaus project.

Cityscape’s green wall ‘cube’, will display installations by Biotecture (source of David Morley’s green wall, AJ 04.09.08), Mobilane, Aldingbourne and MMA’s stainless steel wire, rod and mesh systems by Swiss manufacturer Jakob. It’s a good opportunity to compare these delicate technologies.

Solar will be particularly big this year with the announcement of the government’s feed-in tariffs. Solar Century’s Solar Hub will feature both photovoltaic and solar thermal products. You can see C21e solar electric roof tiles in action – as specified for BPTW’s Gallon Close – and Sanyo’s high-efficiency monocrystalline modules.

One of the main attractions is HOUSE (Home Optimising the Use of Solar Energy) designed by students from the University of Nottingham’s Department of the Built Environment, with support from Saint-Gobain, for the Solar Decathlon Europe in Madrid, June 2010. You can follow thier progress, and read my own postings from Ecobuild at my blog, Footprint.

BREEAM awards

The 2010 BREEAM awards will be announced on 3 March at 6pm and consultation for BREEAM 2011 will be launched at Ecobuild. Pictured in the slideshow above is the BREEAM 2008 winner, Scott Brownrigg’s Cardiff Bay office block

Cityscape green wall cube

The indoor green wall pictured in the above slideshow in the Anthropologie store on London’s Regent Street is by Biotecture. The firm is one of four green wall manufacturers at Cityscape’s Green Cube, designed by RHS Chelsea Flower Show gold medallist Patrick Collins with Capita Lovejoy.

Five seminars not to miss at Ecobuild 2010

Austrian Trade Commission stand
Tuesday 2 March, 2-4.30pm
Georg Reinberg of Reinberg Architects on school design; Michael Zangerl of Rhomberg Bau on Hermann Kaufmann’s LifeCycle Tower – an energy-generating 20-storey modular timber high rise; and Günter Lang of IG Passivhaus Österreich on refurbishing to Passivhaus standard.

Designing for flooding
Tuesday 2 March, 2.30-6pm
Baca Architects and others will discuss best practice in the UK and the Netherlands. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet with other flood professionals from both countries.

Biomimicry in Design
Wednesday 3 March, 4.30-6pm
Michael Pawlyn of Exploration Architecture and Jerry Tate of Jerry Tate Architects will discuss nature as a design inspiration.

Solar Century’s Solar Hub
Tuesday 2 and Wednesday 3 March various times
Seminars will be held throughout both days. Topics include PV, solar thermal and the clean energy cashback scheme.

WRAP seminar
Tuesday 2 March, 2.30pm
Hear more about WRAP’s Halving Waste to Landfill campaign, which boasts Grimshaw and Will Alsop/RMJM as the latest architect signatories.

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