Green building innovators awarded at conference

The 17th Municipal Green Building Conference and Expo hosted more than 650 attendees.

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The 17th Municipal Green Building Conference and Expo (MGBCE) hosted more than 650 attendees from across 88 Southern California cities on April 19 at the Southern California Gas Co.'s (SoCalGas’) Energy Resource Center in Downey, California. The attendees gained insight into ideas, tools, processes and policies to help them integrate sustainability into municipal action. Some new ideas presented at the conference included the winning technologies from startup companies that entered the First Sustainable Cities Tech Challenge, a global competition and joint effort between the U.S. Green Building Council’s Los Angeles chapter (USGBC LA), which produces MGBCE, and the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI).

NEXT Energy Technologies Inc, Santa Barbara, California, was announced as the grand-prize winner, as well as the winner in the Smart Infrastructure category. Additional winners included BlueBox Air, Hermosa Beach, California, for the Energy & Water Efficiency category and Infinite Cooling for the Waste category.

NEXT Energy Technologies, which won $15,000 in addition to other opportunities, transforms glass facades and windows into producers of low-cost, on-site renewable solar energy for buildings.

"NEXT Energy is honored to be part of this year's Municipal Green Building Conference Expo,” NEXT Energy Manager of Special Projects Bruno Caputo says. “Our vision at NEXT Energy is a world in which buildings will power themselves, and in receiving this recognition, we are truly inspired by the industry's validation of our technology and approach to transforming the built environment and having significant impact on the carbon footprint of buildings."

The two additional category winners each won $3,000. These include BlueBox Air LLC, a company that cleans and sanitizes the coils in an HVAC system through its foam injection coil-cleaning technology.

Infinite Cooling, which addresses massive water consumption in the water-energy nexus, says its technology’s goal is to enable water-sustainable thermoelectric power using significantly less water by capturing water from cooling tower plumes.

Prior to the afternoon announcement, MGBCE offered 27 panels and three keynotes that shared usable ideas and processes across the green building sector, touching upon community projects and residential and commercial properties. From resilience to microgrids, zero waste to STEM outreach to the NextGen, the conference’s theme of “Innovative Cities Leading the Way to a Sustainable Future” crossed all sectors.

During the day, an announcement from USGBC was also shared stating that new projects built to California's strong energy and green building codes (CALGreen) are preapproved for streamlining of fundamental LEED requirements.

“The LEED streamlining announcement today is welcome news for local governments and LEED practitioners in California,” USGBC-LA Executive Director Dominique Hargreaves says. “Recognizing the work it takes to meet CALGreen and streamlining the LEED energy prerequisites and credits will reduce costs and allow teams to pursue higher levels of LEED. The timing of this announcement today, during our conference, could not have been better.”

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the third-party green building certification system from USGBC.

USGBC-LA worked again this year with the Zero Waste Co. to further encourage zero waste practices at MGBCE. The 2018 MGBCE achieved an 84 percent diversion rate, with the event generating less waste to divert than in 2017.