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Ecobuild 2011

If you wanted proof that green building can lead to employment, look no further than the numbers of staff at Ecobuild 2011.If you happened to get lost in the massive arena of solar panels, demonstrations and lectures, each guest may well have been outnumbered by three to one in terms of the helpful staff.

One man in particular had the job of making sure people chose the right side of a staircase depending on whether they were ascending or descending. And when I say a staircase I mean three steps. So if that many staff can be employed to help at an event like Ecobuild, the panel of speakers weren’t wrong when they talked about green growth as being crucial to future employment.

Paul King of the UKGBC was anxious to point out that in five years the event has grown from 900 visitors five years ago to an expected 50,000 for this year’s conference.Promoted by organisers as the ‘world’s biggest event for sustainable design, construction and the built environment,’ aside from a few grumbles about the location in London’s docklands (this year’s event was moved from the previous location at Earl’s Court), the event seems to be attracting the great and the good from the green world.

Among the speakers today were energy minister Greg Barker, chief construction adviser Paul Morrell and the guy from that TV ad, you know, John Prescott.And while Paul Morrell advocated the industry working together to make low carbon construction work, guests mingled and chatted and men in suits stared intensely at product demonstrations.

The sheer scale of exhibitors (more than 1,000 organisations) shows the level of interest in sustainability but also shows what UK companies are doing in terms of providing renewable and sustainably sourced materials.A common complaint among housebuilders is that they don’t understand the green agenda and why it’s of benefit.A visit to Ecobuild ought to give a better indication.

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