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AltBuild Brings Green Construction Down to Earth  

By Lookout Staff

May 6, 2011-- What do “de-construction,” urban farming and backyard sheds have in common? They're all going to be on the agenda at this weekend's AltBuild convention at Santa Monica's Civic Auditorium.

Described as a “cutting-edge, serious business” event by promoters, the expo will feature State Senator Fran Pavley and Green Building Program Advisor to Santa Monica's Office of Sustainability and the Environment Brenden McEneaney, as well as a raft of well-known architects and sustainability experts from around the country.

“We’re very pleased to have the scope and caliber of speakers and presenters for the Expo,” said McEneaney. “The professional community has come forward with a huge range of talents to share their knowledge with Expo guests, peers, trade and consumer visitors.

“We want visitors to know that all the speakers are there to demystify, promote and at times even challenge aspects of environmentally sustainable architecture, building and design practices,” McEneaney said.

Practical and sustainable “cool designs” in an urban setting will be the topic of the keynote address Friday by Bill Worthen Resource Architect at the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Russell Ackerman, water resources specialist for the City of Santa Monica, will chair a water conference Friday and Saturday, “Designing for No Irrigation,” for professionals and landscape architects.

Pavley and Howard Choy of the Los Angeles County Office of Sustainability will explain the intricacies of green building financing and the new statewide energy efficiency incentive program, Energy Upgrade on Friday.

And “redesigning the local food system” – urban farming, that is – will be explored Saturday by a panel led by Freya Bardell of AIA’s Committee of Architects on the Environment. The discussion will be followed by a panel on urban ecology.

AltBuild also features “Thinking Outside the Boxes,” a competition in which designers build structures with recycled shipping containers.

And visitors can explore the “ReUse Haus – not your grandfather’s backyard shed.” In addition to its traditional uses for storing lawn mowers and tools, it can be adapted to do duty as an office, guest room, or art studio.

Expo guests will be able to browse more than 150 exhibitions of green building and design materials, energy efficiency and alternative energy technologies, water conservation and environmental plumbing applications, and more.

“The Expo speakers and panels capture the awakening and emergence of sensible—and beautiful—cost-saving green building technologies and products,” McEneaney said. “We’re now coming fully into the mainstream.”

AltBuild Expo takes place Friday and Saturday, May 6th and 7th, from10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, located at 1855 Main Street, Santa Monica. The Expo is free and open to the public and features free bike valet parking; automobile parking is $9. For a full conference schedule please visit


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