Ecobuild is a trade show featuring sustainable design and construction products and services, with "hundreds of exhibitors showing thousands of 'green' products". In an effort to come to grips with this new, huge and confusing sector, this Treehugger ventured into the fray. Things started off well; at the first stop, the booth for Sustain' Magazine, the woman recognised my Treehugger badge and commented on what a good web magazine it was. Then, on to second nature—home insulation made out of British sheep's wool (pictured). Not only does it look cute and cozy, it is "breathable" (sic) and keeps the house warm in winter and cool in summer. Or maybe you would rather have hemp and waste cotton fibre insulation... Also accessible was Amazon Nails—a not for profit social enterprise, experienced in designing strawbale and sustainable buildings. They use natural materials, including foundations which contain little or no cement or plastic, to create magical country houses. DalNaturel natural rubber flooring seemed interesting—it has over 90% natural ingredients with all the rubber content being natural.
Then the trouble started. Being related to an architect doesn't help: wandering around with no technical knowledge makes it impossible to tell which companies are legitimate and which are spouting "greenwash". There were half a dozen companies flogging green roof products, all making claims to be "the ultimate eco-friendly roof", lots of consultants and lots of wind turbines. Auro paint is "the most successful and best known natural paint" and Chamois kitchens sounded like they really were providing recycled timber cabinets at affordable prices. This layman's conclusion: some really exciting things going on in the industry, but look before you leap. :: Ecobuild