Friday, October 14, 2011

week 55_Toronto, Canada

If you're wondering where I've been recently...
Taipei > Oklahoma > Toronto > Oklahoma > Taipei. Whew! And I'm exhausted!

I spent last week attending the Greenbuild Conference & Expo in Toronto, Canada - and stopped through Oklahoma to visit the family on the way to and from the conference. It was a whirlwind trip, as always, but I loved getting to see everyone and I really enjoyed attending the conference.

My colleagues are awesome, and I think we all had a great time
It's nice to know we work together professionally,
but we can still have a little fun too

Greenbuild is an industry trade show for building professionals interested in or working with sustainability. I have always been interested in the show (and also attended with my previous firm in 2009), but now that I am working full time as a sustainability consultant in Taipei it was more relevant than ever. I especially enjoyed being so in-the-know, learning more about the latest environmental trends, attending classes (yes, I just love class - what can I say?), and the various entertainment events as a part of the conference (Maroon 5, live concert). I appreciate that Greenbuild is a combination of learning and fun - I think the organizers really work to provide a sense of community and positive encouragement for all of the green professionals trying to make a difference out there in the world. :)

Maroon 5 performance at the Opening Plenary
I did learn a lot, and I enjoyed the conference - classes in a traditional setting, lectures, panel discussions and off site educational tours. Greenbuild is always looking for more ways to "green the conference". They recycle the attendee bags, badges, handouts etc... but they also purchase energy offsets, provide organic locally grown meals, encourage attendees to use public transportation, etc, etc [the list of conference "green" strategies is actually very long so I won't list them all but I think you get the picture]. The theme of this year's conference was 'NEXT' - What's NEXT for Green Building?

Taking a pedi-cab (walking cab) tour downtown
Free rides provided by one of the exhibitors: Sloan
For one of my educational sessions, I toured the an underground water station for Toronto's deep lake water cooling system. The city takes advantage of the naturally cool Great Lake water temperatures combined with an engineered heat exchange to provide hot and cool water to some of the downtown business district high rise buildings. It was very interested to hear about and see first hand. This system uses less energy and less water than conventional rooftop chiller systems.

Water supply & return pipes feeding heat exchangers
When I wasn't taking notes and name cards, I took every opportunity to get out of the convention center for a taste of the city. There was plenty to see, and the weather was gorgeous for my entire visit. Toronto showed me it's best weather and friendly people.

The CN Tower reflected in downtown windows
We toured the CN Tower observatory one night, great views!
After 11 days away... it is time to get back to life in Taipei, and back to my Chinese lessons! Off to study... :)

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