Thursday, March 15, 2007

NESEA Building Energy 07

I took some time this afternoon to attend the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association's Buildingenergy 07 trade show and expo at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston. I have attended this event for a few years, as a visitor back in 2003 (I think), when it was held at BU and then as a member of Beacon Power in 2004. Since then, I have managed to make it to some part of the event to reconnect with people I know from the sustainable business world and keep myself abreast of sustainable technologies.

In 2004, there were few carpets in the booths, and I believe the pathways between the booths were bare concrete. There was also a great deal of empty space in the hall, indicating the small number of companies in attendance (though I am sure it was more than 2003)relative to the capacity of the hall. The event had a distinctly different feel this year. Not only was the hall more populated, but the overall quality of presentation had been stepped up a notch. Displays appeared better organized and well planned. Whether we like it or not, the "earthy crunchy" image of anything remotely green limits the audience sustainable technologies appeal to. Continuing to polish the show will help the general public, business people, and investors take the businesses and technologies more seriously.

When there is an attractive model discussing the merits of Toyota's hybrids instead of a former hippie and Wal*Mart has a booth, you know something has changed.

I particularly liked the unveiling of the PowerPod (see photo above) by Powerhouse Enterprises. I met Quincy Vale, the founder of Powerhouse, a few years ago at a renewable energy event. I loved their concept of modular, hip, versatile, aesthetically pleasing, and "green" shelter. The PowerPod appears to be the realization of that vision. They are also currently based in Lawrence, MA, helping bring jobs and economic development to a distressed area of the commonwealth. I did not get a chance to speak with Quincy as he was too busy being interviewed by some sort of reporter and conducting tours of the very popular Pod. Now that my wife and I are finally looking for a home, maybe we will buy some land and install a few Pods! By the way, Powerhouse was featured in a recent issue of Wired Magazine covering new housing technologies

I managed to reconnect with members of the AltWheels team that I was part of from 2003-2005. That event has come a long way and I am sorry that I missed it last year. It will again grace the bricks of City Hall Plaza with everything new in alternatively fueled vehicles in September of 2007.

It was refreshing to see the show so well attended, with aisles full of visitors and many energetic conversations happening. It is a good sign for the future of sustainable and clean technologies.

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