For anyone looking for a shot of hopeful adrenaline as winter draws near and days grow shorter, let me recommend attending the annual Greenbuild International Expo and Conference as a reliable mood lifter. And I say that not as an employee of Informa, which runs the show for the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), but as an older, cynical trade journalist who often feels like he’s seen or heard it all before.
It’s funny, but when I started at ENR magazine in Manhattan some 30 years ago, I used to come out of our weekly editorial meetings amused at how hard it was to excite the veteran editors with any new story idea. “English Channel tunnel? Didn’t we write about that before?”
But now, I realize that time, itself, has turned me into just that sort of curmudgeon.
Even so, my inner cynic was flat-out overwhelmed last month by the sheer enthusiasm on display at the sprawling Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Despite the daily onslaught of dreary and dysfunctional political and celebrity news outside the show, more than 15,000 incurably upbeat green vendors, presenters, engineers, architects, specifiers, students, startups and more remained focused inside on growing the change that is already here.
Competing to outdo each other with whichever new products can perform the most efficiently, save the most energy, or conserve the most resources, it was possible to view the bustling trade show floor as that once-mythical, odd couple marriage of do-gooders and bottom-liners. Indeed, green capitalism has kicked in and there now seems to be an endless stream of genuinely new product innovations, improvements and updates rolling out monthly, incorporating new technologies that measure, monitor and generate the big data necessary to justify greater capital investment.
In Boston, it was impossible to resist the youthful exuberance on display, even from seasoned industry veterans, who seemed genuinely optimistic about their products, projects, and the business climate ahead, irregardless of political uncertainty. At Greenbuild and since the show, we have been inundated with new product announcements and positive industry reports and forecasts, some of which appear in our print edition or on our website.
Beyond those news items, I encourage you to read our own guest forecast story for 2018 by sustainability expert Larry Clark, a longtime editorial contributor and member of HPAC Engineering’s editorial advisory board. Fellow board member Ron Wilkinson, creator of our popular Johnny Tundra illustrated series, also contributed to this issue, dusting off his square-jawed hero for one last ride into the sunset. In between, we also launch an important and detailed series on cybersecurity issues for engineers, and focus separately on controlling humidity in historically significant structures. (NOTE: Most of these stories will be posted separately, but they can also be viewed now within our digital edition.)
In all, as you read our digital issue, we hope you’ll pick up on the same encouraging signs that we continue to see here about the creativity and resiliency of this market.
Even for an old hand like me, it’s impressive to see.