Going Green Expo 2009

So I’ve been researching A LOT about the current climate legislation, new energy sources and sustainability in general but last week, I kicked off my Tampa Bay radar by attending the Going Green Expo at USF. The event drew a whole ballroom full of green businesses, businesses dealing with green products and more LEED experts than I ever expected to meet. Going into the Expo I didn’t have too high of expectations; I expected it to be a lot of solar panel companies, car-conversions experts, etc. But the whole Expo was actually pretty cool… there were lots of businesses there that I had no idea had green products or offered green services.

For example, Xerox has a “green” printer. I know, your first reaction is WHAT?! But it’s true. Instead of using ink jet or toner cartridges that just get thrown away, the printer uses solid ink sticks that look like crayons (they actually write like crayons too!) that turn into a liquid when heated. The printer still prints as fast and with as good as quality… it was really quite amazing.

Maybe the most impressive aspect is that the product has a lower environmental impact than one of its counterparts. It has fewer CO2 emissions and uses less fuel in shipping because the solid ink packages are smaller and lighter, less energy is used to manufacture solid ink because of its simplicity and it is EnergyStar compliant.

And it would be a great way for a smaller business to cut a little bit of cost and be environmentally friendly.

Cobalt SkyyMaybe the most interesting “green” industry (that I never would have expected) is home remodeling. From recycled building materials to clay walls to awesome looking counter tops to “paper” wood, there is a “green” alternative for just about everything in the home. For example, there is a Tampa Bay business that installs Vetrazzo counter tops that are made from 85 percent recycled content, such as vodka Skyy bottles (pictured). They were gorgeous! According to their website, the material is made using only 100% waste glass in a resin-free cement binder.

I’m definitely excited about exploring the remodeling green industry- it’s interesting because it’s doesn’t require a huge change in lifestyle, it’s cool to look at and it’s eco-friendly.

Among other noteworthy exhibits were TBARTA, Why Not “green” boutique and Greenovation. More on these awesome companies/projects later.

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