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October « 2011 « leadingleed.com
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Archive for October, 2011

Revolutionizing Plastic Recycling

Greetings, my name is Bo Wen, and as a Civil Engineering Student, I am interested in how modern civilization operate at both the micro and macro level, from processing of materials to construction of mega-structures.

It is sometimes easy to forget the complexity of materials when you are dealing with large structures. Plastic, being quite versatile in its material properties, can disguise itself in many forms, in every corner of the earth. It’s appearances and abilities are so impressive and practical, that we cannot spend a day without touching and using one.

Plastic Mountain

As you know, plastic, behind it’s glorious presence in our life, outside of our lives, its production and disposal are not pretty by any extend. So recycling them is a hot topic for many and a progressive agenda for some.

While it is important to recycle for the purpose of landfill diversion, do you know what it really means? Is 10% recyclable plastic a satisfactory performance for the world of recycling? It certainly isn’t comparing to the 90% rate for metal recycling.

Mike Biddle, calling himself a garbage man, is the President and founder at MBA Polymers, Inc.. He has devoted his entire life into maximizing the potential of plastic recycling. And with more plastic consumed around the world every year, the need for an efficient plastic recycling process is increasing.

As the plastic waste piled up, many first world nations started to transport them to third world nations, thus creating a string of health risks to local residents who ended up making a living off of “garbage”.

While many see plastics garbage as waste, Mike sees it as natural capital. The process of recycling is not only sustainable, it can be economically sound. Want to know how he made plastic recycling possible, check out his TedTalk below:

[youtube width=560 height=315]RD07GkmM2fc[/youtube]
If we can recycle plastic so efficiently, what else can we recycle in our life? Many. And that is what the LEED’s materials and resources credits all about — closing the loop by reduce, reuse and recycle, and Mike had definitely made the process of recycling more feasible and effective.


I hope you enjoyed the story about plastic recycling, let us know if you have any cool recycling stories!

Green School in Bali TED

GreenBuild – The Expo Hall

GreenBuild is the largest convention for any person or company even remotely related to the sustainable and ‘green’ building industry.  To put it in perspective for those who could not attend; the book which help the names of all the exhibitors was thicker than many of my textbooks.

Here is a link for you to see for yourself: http://s36.a2zinc.net/clients/usgbc2011/usgbc2011/public/Content.aspx?ID=64&sortMenu=105000

The expo hall housed Green consultants, Developers, Contractors, Engineering Firms, Architecture firms, Third Party Reviewers and was dominated by an enormous assortment of manufacturers and suppliers.

Although I was amazed by some of the technology that the suppliers were showing, I was not interested in purchasing anything in bulk. Thus, in the interest of time, I stuck to gaining knowledge on how different firms and developers had plans to be LEED and improve internal LEED training.

A few exhibitors which really made an impression on me included:

Lend Lease – www.lendlease.com

I conversed with Lend Lease`s Sustainability Manager. We discussed the internal LEED training program they had put in place. Just as major Accounting Firms internally train their employers to become Chartered Accountants, now Building/Design firms can do the same! In the past decade, Lende Lease has completed over 2500 projects, including the:

Academic Joint Use Facility

Ocean Campus, City College of San Francisco, California


I was also pleasantly surprised to see LEEDuser as an exhibitor at the show.

LEEDuser is a great resource for anyone in the LEED industry and has many answers to all LEED credit related questions. www.LEEDuser.com is a partner of www.building-green.com 




The Living Building Challenge: Oregon Sustainability Center

Hello! I’m Amanda, and I’ve recently met Lorne and hopped on board Leading Leed. I’m majoring in Infrastructural Engineering at U of T, which shouldn’t surprise you. Anyway, as Lorne promised, we’re going to talk a bit about some things that came up at the Greenbuild Conference. One of the talks was about the Oregon Sustainability Center in Portland, Oregon, which is designed to become one of the most sustainable buildings ever. I believe they just finished designing it this summer, and construction is scheduled to begin early 2012. So why Portland, Oregon? Well, Oregon’s been known for supporting green energy initiatives, and Portland was the first US city to enact a carbon emissions-reducing strategy. (You can read more on their official website.) So when organizations in the state looked to build an impressive structure that would meet the Living Building Challenge guidelines (as green a standard as you can think of) when it was released back in 2007, and found out that Portland had happened to be looking into constructing a new center for sustainability research, the two got together and created this beauty:

The first ‘Triple Net-Zero’  high-rise: all waste, water and energy is generated, utilized and recycled on site. For example, greywater (from hand-washing, for example) could be reused in toilets and to cool mechanical equipment. Features include solar panels, regenerative turbines, green roofs, and geothermal heat pumps. Read more in the executive summary. I hope I’ll get a chance to see this building some day- it’s definitely setting a new standard for sustainable infrastructure.   Cheers, A



GreenBuild – A Sustainable Conference


Greenbuild is, no doubt, the largest conference/expo dedicated to green and sustainable building practices in the globe. At LeadingLEED, we were fortunate enough to have it hosted in our own backyard in 2011, Toronto. Anyone remotely interested in this industry could not afford to miss such a great opportunity and see so many interesting and diverse products and services being offered in the world. There was no bias of people in the crowd, as all countries involved in green practices were properly represented at the expo.

Greenbuild reached nearly 25000 attendees. Over the next week, LeadingLEED will review our time spent at Greenbuild. From the 700 companies in the expo hall to the key note speakers and Maroon 5.