Nicholas Cekine of Halfen explains to an attendee how the company can help achieve sustainability.
Nicholas Cekine of Halfen explains to an attendee how the company can help achieve sustainability.

It’s not easy being green—or is it? New standards, regulations and technologies have pushed building products to higher levels of performance and now, it seems like there is nothing that isn’t “green.”

But exhibitors with whom we spoke at this year’s Greenbuild show in Washington, D.C., said a show like this is absolutely necessary and a key part of their marketing budgets, despite an overall increase in sustainable products at industry-specific shows.

For UL Environment, marketing director Maria Rutland said this show is the “Super Bowl” for them. The company helps others put the contents of their products in “context,” Rutland explained.

“Glass manufacturers are struggling with HPDs content,” she said. “They could be on a hazard list somewhere,” so UL representatives utilize this show in particular to reach out to manufacturers of anything from glass to toilet paper, helping them communicate their products’ ingredients.

Oliver Holleber, managing director of Halfen USA, said companies exhibiting at Greenbuild are making a bold, positive statement.

“I would still ask the question, ‘are we really green?’” he said. “There’s still a little bit of a lack there … This show is important. More and more companies are adding to their [green] products and I think people are proud of that.”

More than one exhibitor said this and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Show were their big shows for the year, as their main customers are architects. Many said Greenbuild was slightly more important for them, however, considering it “has more floor time.”

Rafael Rivero, vice president of sales at CPI Daylighting Inc., said even though companies exhibit at Greenbuild, they’re not necessarily “green.”

“I think, unfortunately, there are a lot of people rebranding their products as green and they’re not,” he said. “Some companies have no business being here.”

David Gregory, estimating manager at CPI, echoed Rivero and said companies exhibiting at this show should be “vetted.”

“I’d love for there to be parameters to prove our products were green to exhibit here,” he said, such as how “green” the product would be 20 years from creation, the life span of the product, etc.

Stephen Sudeth, creative director at Glaspro, explained that because of increased overall performance in the industry, it’s getting harder to sell products as “green.”

“There is a heightened consciousness of sustainability,” he said. “That has lessened the ability to market it. It’s implied now, especially in glass.”