5 Favorite Things from Design and Construction Week

It’s hard to believe but it’s already been a couple weeks since Design & Construction Week (“DCW”) in Orlando. From late nights catching up with friends and colleagues around the country, to early morning press events, the week was very productive for me. And after logging almost 60,000 steps (or 27 miles) over 3 days I have now had some time to reflect on some of the conversations I had as well as the products and concepts I was introduced to.

Arriving a day prior to the start of DCW, I had the privilege of photographing the Sustainability Symposium 2017 put on by Green Builder Media. The event conveyed a refreshing optimism regarding the future of sustainability. Speakers included multiple mayors, a former White House Resiliency Advisor, a female race car driver, reps from the product manufacturing space, and a Cousteau. I’m looking forward to hearing about the continued dialogue attendees have and how collaboration will move agendas forward.

It was a little difficult choosing the following list but these are my top 5 favorite interactions from  the few days at DCW:

1. FutureHAUS is a project spearheaded by Virginia Tech that involves their College of Architecture and Urban Studies, Department of Computer Science, School of Architecture + Design, and the School of Visual Arts. This panelized home prototype is an example of where I think homebuilding is headed. The continued lack of skilled trade labor, in addition to the rise of innovative technology and desire to make homes more “flexible” is going to continue to drive change in the building industry. The home utilizes SIPs in the walls, uses a continuous vapor barrier designed by a Virginia Tech chemist and DuPont, and contains a ton of cool technology. Each room is designed to be shipped as a “cartridge” and a whole home should be able to be put together in less than a day. 

Virginia Tech's FutureHAUS kitchen concept. [Photo courtesy Virginia Tech]

Virginia Tech's FutureHAUS kitchen concept. [Photo courtesy Virginia Tech]

2. Urban Cultivator is a Canadian company who found success on the Canuck version of Shark Tank, Dragons’ Den. They have created an indoor gardening system (residential and commercial versions are available) that fits into your kitchen design and gives you easy access to organic veggies, herbs and microgreens. Coining the term “Zero Mile Diet,” product grown in an Urban Cultivator is ready to harvest in 1-2 weeks. It utilizes a flood and drain system and uses about 31 kw/hr (about a $2/month energy bill). I love this product because it allows both homeowners and apartment dwellers alike to have access to fresh grown greens.

3. I had a great conversation with John Courson at the Home Builders Institute. Their mission is to “advance and provide education, career development, training and placement of men and women serving the building industry.” HBI is currently active in 42 states, in 300 locations and work with high schools, prisoners, and veterans who are in some state of homelessness or suffering from PTSD. With an 86% placement rate they train students in carpentry, plumbing, electric, HVAC, masonry, painting, landscape, and winterization.

4. Disaster mitigation and resilient housing has been a personal passion of mine for many years. Although slowly, I believe we are collectively moving towards the understanding that true mitigation in our communities has to include resiliency. Being “green” is no longer enough. The lifecycle of a home is playing a bigger part in sustainable messaging...if your home can’t withstand a weather event, what does it matter if all the products are green? I had some great conversations with reps from Huber Engineered Woods, BASF and the Federal Alliance for Safe Housing about a project they are all involved with in Breezy Point that is set to open later in 2017. I’ll be covering that story so stay tuned!

5. Poor Millennials. They are the center of a lot of conversation these days...and some of it not always positive. Enter Will Kimmerle. A 29-year old from Ohio who recognized a problem and fixed it by creating a product called Artis Wall - a sustainable DIY product that helps you change the look of the space you live in. The wood product is made from reclaimed barns and structures from around the country. Originally designed for apartments, I witnessed designers going absolutely crazy for this innovative product during DCW. It utilizes a patented install process that allows you to remove the wood from your walls without the adhesive pulling off your drywall or paint. Make sure you check it out!

Artis Wall- a DIY reclaimed product that allows you revamp your space without wrecking your walls. [Photo courtesy Artis Wall]

Artis Wall- a DIY reclaimed product that allows you revamp your space without wrecking your walls. [Photo courtesy Artis Wall]

That’s my quick recap. I had so many more interesting conversations with people - most of which I will blog about at some point. Make sure you subscribe to the Brand H Marketing blog (subscribe at the bottom of the page) so you don’t miss any news!