At PCBC, looking ahead to sustainability

San Francisco -- Builders, architects and their suppliers gathered here June 22 for the PCBC conference, a three-day event whose theme this year -- "Forget the Rear View Mirror" -- reflected the ongoing changes that continue to reshape the building industry. Green building, for example, has evolved into "sealing the building envelope," and many vendors showed products that promise to create airtight, energy-efficient building.

Hayward Lumber, a chain of lumberyards along the California coast, sponsored a booth this year where it offered three products to sustainable-minded builders. One was a flooring system built at its Santa Maria component plant; another was Zehnder Comfosystems, a state-of-the-art, Swiss-designed ventilation system; and lastly UniLux Windows, made in Germany and more energy efficient than anything manufacturered in in the United States, according to president and CEO Bill Hayward.

Jacob Atalla, director of sustainability initiatives at KB Home, was interviewed by Home Channel News in the Boral booth, where he spoke about the "smog-eating tile" his company has successfully tested on a model home in Lancaster, Calif. The surface of the roofing tile naturally reacts with nitrogen oxides (a component of smog) and converts them into a harmless substance. The smog tiles also act as solar reflectors.

KB Home has been installing the tiles in several projects, and is also working on rolling out a "net zero" energy home in several states, also based on a success test model, Atalla said.

The conference continues today with a keynote address by Gov. Edmund G. Brown.

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