Green Building Festival 2007 - Atlantis Pavilions

Sustainable City - Green Building Festival Review

Last week I had a chance to attend the 2-day Green Building Festival held at the Atlantis Pavilions at Ontario Place. I'm not sure if there was a prophetic message attached to their choice of venue, but I found it an odd place to host a trade show / conference. Anyways, I just finished studying sustainable architecture in a grad program, so I was quite keen to check out what the festival had to offer in comparison to the more broad Green Living Show.

Over 70 exhibitors set up booths ranging from consumer friendly outfits such as Zipcar and Tridel to more specialized outfits such as Waterloo Biofilter Systems Inc. and Aesthetic Earthworks. Needless to say there was a little something for everyone. My favourite booths were the ones organized by the Forest Stewardship Council and Bullfrog Power.

More on the trade show, and a mini slide show, after the jump.

The Forest Stewardship Council was promoting sustainable forest management through a certification program they have put in place to identify environmentally friendly wood and paper products. One vendor they were promoting was North On Sixty, a furniture manufacturer that uses reclaimed wood products in their designs. I'm a total sucker for the rustic appeal of well-worn wood furniture and the shelving unit they had on display was gorgeous.

Bullfrog Power has intrigued me for awhile. I just bought a house a few months ago, and once I figure out what my heating bills will be during the winter, I'm probably going to sign up in the spring. The way it works is once I sign up with Bullfrog Power I continue to get electricity from Toronto Hydro, with no special hookups or service calls from either company. Toronto Hydro then tells Bullfrog how much power I use each month and then Bullfrog then has to put that amount of green energy back into the electricity grid. Here's the green part. Bullfrog charges me a small premium (they say about $1/day for the average home) for the amount of energy I've used and they fund new renewable energy projects with the proceeds. Right now, 20% of this energy comes from wind farms in Ontario and the rest comes from certified low-impact hydroelectric plants. I would sure rather put my money towards clean and renewable energy rather than paying for coal or nuclear power. Wouldn't you?

Sustainable City is a weekly column that explores current events and environmental issues in Toronto that impact the health and well being of urban dwellers.

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