Last week, thousands of industry professionals congregated at the 2022 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in San Francisco, the largest annual event for green building professionals worldwide.

More than 200 exhibitors showcased their offerings on the Expo floor. Interestingly, this year’s Greenbuild took place for the first time in collaboration with the Industrialized Wood Based Construction Conference (IWBC). Between the two events, attendees had the opportunity to participate in 150+ education sessions and immersive learning experiences.

To mark the 20th anniversary of the show, Greenbuild invited attendees and exhibitors to expand on what it means to “build green,” including reimagining a holistic sustainability, and going beyond buildings to create greener communities, better workplaces, equitable programs and new solutions.

Following are just a few of the products and solutions that captured the attention of the K&A team.

Fantastic Prefabs

Modular and offsite construction continues to gain ground, as evidenced by the number of companies showcasing their modular solutions.

Focused on improving building efficiency while also addressing the growing affordable housing crisis, Preflex aims to disrupt the homebuilding industry with its high-performance, sustainable housing solutions. The company’s Preflex Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) for walls, floors and roofs incorporate framing, insulation, wire conduits and sheathing in a single component, making it easy to achieve airtight, energy-efficient structures. Compared to traditional building methods, the company’s offsite fabrication approach uses 65 percent less timber, generates 90 percent less onsite waste, includes no harmful chemicals, and reduces average building times by half.

Guerdon Modular Buildings utilizes innovative modular technology to combine onsite construction with precise offsite factory assembly line production — resulting in an award-winning hybrid approach. The company designs and engineers modular units for large commercial and multi-family housing projects, which are constructed in Guerdon’s Boise, Idaho plant. Site work and foundation construction are completed at the same time — significantly increasing building efficiency while offering greater control over project quality, schedule and the bottom line.

Growing Greenscapes

“Green” solutions took on new meaning with several innovative offerings.

Taiga from Biome is a turnkey living wall solution for work or home that requires no plumbing or soil, and can be installed in just 30 minutes, very similar to a whiteboard. The self-sustaining system includes 34 hydroponic plants along with automated grow lights based on circadian cycles, and the ability to automatically deliver nutrients and send reminders when the plants need more water. These smart living walls actively filter indoor air pollution while creating a connection with the outdoors in interior spaces — helping to foster occupant well-being.

A service targeted to landscaping contractors, Mowbot by Robin Autopilot replaces large, loud, emissions-spewing commercial lawnmowers with zero-emission, quiet and cheaper-to-operate robotic lawnmowers. Mowbot’s subscription-based service allows landscaping pros to operate and maintain an entire fleet of autonomous, robotic lawnmowers that can be deployed at customer sites. Similar to robotic vacuums cleaners, the robotic mowers monitor and mow lawns as they grow for better-looking lawns that require less fertilizer and less dependence on irrigation while also being less costly to maintain.

Clever Cladding

When it comes to cladding and surfacing solutions, several products were standouts.

TAJO™ Natural Clay Cladding from Imetco is a ceramic ventilated façade system that — in comparison to typical façade systems — is lighter, easier to install and safer for buildings with no contribution to fire risk, while also being highly customizable. It’s available in a wide variety of colors and finishes, and can be combined with various materials or seamlessly integrated into Imetco’s IntelliScreen rainscreen systems. An internal chamber provides additional strength while increasing the thermal and acoustic insulation of buildings for enhanced temperature and sound control along with better energy efficiency.

A sustainable alternative to traditional concrete siding options, Smooth® and CARVE® from StoneCoat is a proprietary blend of limestone and other natural stone and minerals, that can be handcrafted to mimic the appearance of stucco, brick or stone. Available as split block stone, dry stack-style versetta stone or precision chiseled blocks, StoneCoat Carve’s carved block panels install easily with no need for metal lathe or additional footings. StoneCoat Smooth can be applied to subsurfaces such as concrete or brick without additional bonding agents – and also to wood, metal cladding, painted brick or existing stucco. All StoneCoat products are 90 percent more climate-friendly than traditional cement-based products and feature a carbon negative application and curing process.

Inspired by the Moroccan tradition of Tadelakt, a wall surfacing technique composed of lime plaster and black soap made from olives, Tradilakt lime plaster by ecostucco® is a natural mineral plaster for interior and exterior walls made from high-grade hydrated lime, hydraulic binders and fine aggregates. It arrives ready to mix with water and is easy to apply. In interior applications, vapor permeability, a high PH and the absence of harmful substances helps to preserve indoor air quality. Ecostucco plaster finishes are also well-suited for exterior applications, yielding a smooth stucco finish that is resilient and withstands the elements.

Going With the Flow

With water shortages top of mind in many parts of the country, we give kudos to Helvex, which showcased its new waterless urinals. The Waterless Urinal with patented TDS (Total Drain and Seal) system uses two mechanical seals to ensure complete drainage, while protecting from odors at the same time. An additional hydraulic seal prevents back pressure and keeps the system intact during periods of non-use. Constructed using recyclable plastics, the product requires no special chemicals or refills, reducing maintenance requirements to only periodic cleanings.

The K&A team participates at numerous trade shows each year to experience the “latest and greatest” and do a deep dive into industry trends. We’re always inspired by the many innovations that continue to move the building industry forward, and look forward to being together with all of our industry friends and channel influencers early next year at IBS/KBIS.