Update: it has come to our attention that the U.S. Department of Energy is no longer supporting this Google Earth layer. We've created a Google Documents link where you can download the KMZ file for use in Google Earth.

Sometimes it's hard to suspend disbelief enough to make an unbiased judgement about a product, particularly when it's from an industry with a history of charlatanry, if not outright chicanery. For instance, chemical-free water treatment—which most people associate with sticking a speaker magnet on a pipe under the kitchen sink. The systems I'm talking about, though, are industrial-sized... used for cooling towers, boilers in big buildings, even large fountains.

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I had an interesting conversation while waiting for Robert Murray's presentation on the construction outlook. A senior associate from one of the leading architectural firms pointed out that the concept of integrating sustainable design into a plan has, until now, been initiated largely by the designer/architect. One client of theirs, a box store, required a payback of three years or less, and that's what's held them back. Tough, I would imagine.

A very interesting lunchtime presentation at Build Boston by Robert Murray, Vice President, Economic Affairs at McGraw-Hill. Some notes of interest related to the sustainable building, green building, and building trends/predictions in general: Green building as a part of construction trends is starting to effect the macroeconomic picture. This earned a few slides in the Powerpoint. Great to hear!
Mark posted earlier about David Eisenberg and his organization, DCAT, getting USGBC's Organization Excellence Leadership Award at Greenbuild 2007. David has certainly been a great friend and mentor to many of us here at BuildingGreen.

In a brilliantly cruel stroke of scheduling irony, the morning after our party with the GreenSource folks at the Funky Buddha, we held a breakfast for our BuildingGreen Suite firm-wide subscribers: organizations that have an account for every person in their operation.

I haven't yet posted from Greenbuild, mostly because this was my first time at the conference, and it took most of my mental energy just to sort through the experience of 22,000 people and all of the information I was taking in. Not posting, however, has given me some space to start thinking about some of the big-picture themes of the conference. The most striking is the influence of social justice and social movements on green building, and vice versa.

While there were lots of highlights at Greenbuild, the only way I can really be productive at such a big conference is to narrow my focus. I'm researching water conservation and water efficiency for an upcoming EBN feature article, and I made great progress on that in Chicago.

I wrote earlier today about grumbling at a Greenbuild session on life-cycle assessment, and I assigned the blame to bad news delivered by Stanley Rhodes of Scientific Certification Systems.

Based on some of the audience Q&A I think that much of the audience left grumbling after Thursday's session, "Demystifying Sustainability: A Life-Cycle Perspective," convened by the energetic Meredith Elbaum of Sasaki, with Stanley Rhodes of Scientific Certification Systems speaking along with Nancy Harrod of Sasaki and Melissa Vernon of InterfaceFlor.

Though Greenbuild '07 wraps up soon (and checkout time at my hotel is at noon), I've still got a number of things to report. There will be additional Greenbuild-related posts in the coming days about products, happenings, and a probably a slight meander about social and professional hierarchies. It will be nice to have a little more time to think—a little less immediacy, a little more research, a little more sleep, a little less frenzy—but I've had a blast this week.