Is this the only green trade show where you can use Google maps to help you to find your way around? After last year’s experience, I confidently expected a kilowatt peak of solar panel manufacturers, a bathfull of SuDs salespeople and a pallet of green material manufacturers.
Many people, myself among them, have a problem with the size of Ecobuild and the questionable green credentials of many of the companies that attend it. Many of them no longer make any attempt to demonstrate green credentials, they just turn up to do business.On balance perhaps it is better that they are there no matter how invisible or lame their green credentials are. Perhaps by just being there and hobnobbing with their more committed neighbours the environmental message is widened and not diluted. It might be so.
However, there are many reasons to be cheerful. Several innovation platforms are showcasing products in the early stages of development where attendees can vote for their favourite one. This seems to me to be in the original spirit of Ecobuild. (Young women wearing badged eye-catching attire seems less so.)
I spent one morning in a Green Deal event attended by an influential group with meaningful things to say on the subject. Not all the stands are up to the mark but anyone who is anyone in the UK environmental space is here and that makes it well worth the trek.
It was notable that there were very few contracting firms there on stands, and no investor or development organisations, which reflects the changing nature of the development world. Have they been fair-weather friends to the green movement?
Most of the influential people in the environmental space were on the Dixie Green boat on the Thames on the Wednesday night to celebrate the UKGBC’s 5th birthday. As one attendee remarked, ‘If George Osborne wants to get rid of a lot of his critics, he just has to sink this boat’. Fortunately he didn’t and the criticisms will continue.
There was an even more heavily international flavour this year, with national trade associations from Austria, Latvia, Canada, Italy and the Netherlands all there with large groups of companies.
HTA were on the ActiveHouse stand with fellow Alliance members for much of the event and it was a welcome opportunity to network with colleagues from across Europe.
EcoBuild has its disadvantages but these are outweighed by its advantages. It is the best environmental networking event there is, the seminars are excellent, the stands are comprehensive and the people are there in their thousands. I am looking forward to next year already.