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Transitioning markets

News | November 1, 2009 | By:

Another theme at Expo 2009: tools and expert advice on manufacturing and markets to help drive business growth in 2010.

Architects and manufacturers meet under sustainable shading

In a session led by John Gant, shade market development manager with Glen Raven Inc., several experts spoke of the importance of correctly understanding sustainable practices and how to integrate these into a business. Gant began by defining the use of awnings for solar protection and how they could benefit home owners with reduced energy costs.

Daylighting expert and consultant M. Susan Ubbelohde, AIA, LEED AP, principal of Loisos +Ubbelohde Architects/Cool Shadow of Berkeley, Calif., outlined basic concepts of daylighting. Design considerations, she explained, can lead to energy savings, increased delight in one’s indoor spaces for work or leisure and controlled daylighting (with the assistance of fabric shading elements) that can improve worker productivity.

Two industry experts presented case studies of projects that incorporate fabric shading devices. Kevin A. Mayer, vice president of business development for Birdair Inc., first defined the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) system of rating sustainable building performance, then presented two LEED projects that displayed sustainable design practices using fabric elements, including the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Penn. that incorporates fabric shading elements and fabric ductwork to make it LEED gold.

Roy Chism, CEO of The Chism Co. presented a case study of the University Federal Credit Union in Austin, Texas, with its white fabric shade awnings (more shelf-like than awning) at both the roof cornice and midpoint on the all-glass façade. The building received a Five Star rating from the Austin Energy Green Building (AEGB) association, and is LEED certified. Design criteria for the project, Chism emphasized, was influenced by LEED and driven by code compliance and public policy that is tied to the desired energy performance set by the AEGB.

Architect and sustainable design consultant Douglas Kot, AIA, LEED AP, closed the session by challenging architects and shade manufacturers to reach beyond the comfortable positions each has traditionally maintained, and seek more integrated and measurable results with sustainable design and more sustainably manufactured products.

Thinking globally

The ‘Global Textile Markets’ symposium offered varied perspectives on textile markets on each continent. Rodrigo García-Verdú from Mexico’s Ministry of Economics outlined ‘Mexico Fits,’ a strategy to reposition Mexico’s textile and apparel industries in North America. Designed by NANAINTEX, Mexico’s textile industry trade association, the effort is also government sponsored and supported. With a strong domestic market (more than 100 million consumers generating an increasing demand for fashion products), a well-capitalized financial sector and a dozen free trade agreements providing access to 44 countries, Mexico is positioning itself for growth in the world textile and apparel markets.

Guest speakers from Egypt, Australia, Germany and China shared the view that the economy will soon begin to show signs of a recovery, although it is expected to be slow. With that expectation, the speakers invited attendees to research further and then make a personal visit to begin establishing important contacts and business relationships.

Sustainable? Can you prove that?

“Sustainable printing is the future,” said Don Carli, senior research fellow, the Institute for Sustainable Communication. Calling it a “crisis of opportunity,” Carli noted that sustainability is profitable and consumers want it.

‘Sustainable Printing—Ensuring our Future’ presenters agreed that all business practices should reflect a commitment to sustainability—practices illustrated in case studies presented by Scott Campbell, president, Rainier Industries; Andy Graham, president, Portland Color; and Pat Hayes, CPP, chairman of the board, Fabric Images. Marci Kinter, vice president of government and business information, Specialty Graphics Imaging Association (SGIA), stressed the importance of validating sustainable practices, and urged attendees to consider certification standards.

“Print buyers want green printing, but don’t know what it means,” she said. Printers can start by establishing a pathway to start showcasing accomplishments, a track record of compliance with regulatory programs and a policy that is a transparent, public and a ‘living’ document.

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