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BuildingsNY & GreenBuildingsNY: Day 1

BuildingsNY &  GreenBuildingsNY: Day 1
Yesterday, we dropped by the Javits Center for a conference and trade show from BuildingsNY/Green BuildingsNY, attracting 385 exhibitors and top names from construction and green industries.
BuildingsNY &  GreenBuildingsNY: Day 1
Opening the two-day event with scissors and a smile: Associated Builders and Owners of Greater NY prez Jerome Belson and NYS Superintendent of Banks Richard Neiman, who also gave us an overview of the state's efforts, including renters’ mortgage protection and tightening criminal statutes for scammers. It's important that our industry adopt green and efficiency programs and form critical partnerships as we emerge from the crisis, he says. He also notes that, overall, banks are lending more than they have in past recessions.
BuildingsNY &  GreenBuildingsNY: Day 1
The US Green Building Council's VP of market development Doug Gatlin talked up LEED 2009, an updated version of the certification system, released on April 17. There are reasons for more aggressive greening, he says: buildings account for 40% of global CO2 emissions, people spend 90% or more of their time indoors, and workers have a 2-16% productivity increase when in green. LEED 2009's goal is to align and harmonize the different rating systems, tackle regional needs, and change point allocation based on importance of environmental issues.
BuildingsNY &  GreenBuildingsNY: Day 1
Transwestern's Allan Skodowski tackled the subject of retro-commissioning for Energy Star and LEED. A well-operated building runs at an average 78% of total energy dollars (Energy Star, 75% or less), he says, but as managers, owners, and staff change hands, energy numbers can creep up. Owners—stay on top of the building. They’re not design issues, he points out, but likely operational. Check things like space temperature and pressure, heating and cooling systems, and building envelopes for inefficiencies. Zero complaints from tenants translate into dollars.
BuildingsNY &  GreenBuildingsNY: Day 1
Humans weren't the only attendees. Meet Rocky, First Rate Exterminators' certified “Bed Bug Scent Detection Canine.” He's trained to detect the scent of live bed bugs and viable eggs and is more accurate at sniffing out pests than humans. Because of Rocky, the firm says that it's able to minimize the use of chemicals and prevent bed bugs from spreading. We think Rocky calls for a new Survivor song - “Nose of the Beagle.”
BuildingsNY &  GreenBuildingsNY: Day 1
Green building is not a value-added service, but a core competency, Turner Construction chief sustainability officer Michael Deane argues. Clients want the recognizable brand—LEED is the new Class A—and value to their bottom line. Since '04, Turner’s surveyed the market, and a recent study found that 75% of clients won't stop building green in the recession, and 80% of execs say they will seek LEED certification for green projects. A whopping 70% of projects under construction are aiming for Silver and Gold. However,perceptions of green, like costs, are not always accurate and education is critical, he says.
BuildingsNY &  GreenBuildingsNY: Day 1
Was the Secret Service on hand? No, that’s Securewatch24's Mobile Command Center. President Desmond Smyth shows off the van, which the company uses for event management. Hi-res videos from the buildings can be viewed as events are in progress, he says; its technology also allows videos to be viewed remotely. In his eight years as a detective and 20 as an officer, he says he never had a camera that worked properly, so he built the company on warranty-with-contract basis into one of the largest in the world.
BuildingsNY &  GreenBuildingsNY: Day 1
Every five feet, it seemed an exhibitor tried to sell us toilets, demonstrate lighting systems, or woo us with chocolate. U.S. Energy Group COO David Unger gave a demonstration of his company’s energy management software, USE Manager, which monitors an entire portfolio for boiler function and identifies inefficiencies, preventing wasteful overheating. Exhibitors ran the gamut from asbestos removal to appliances, energy services to engineering, and facilities management to fire safety.