Talking with companies that make spray foam, paints, roof coatings and even vinyl windows, I noticed a welcome shift. The people talking to me about sustainability are not just pretty faces from marketing offices in the glass towers of chicago. They're smart, wonky experts--chemists, engineers and researchers who most of time can handle even my tough questions.
For example, at the Milgard Windows booth, they wanted to show me a new system for painting vinyl windows with dark, rich colors. Apparently they've partnered with Behr paints to solve some of the longstanding problems with vinyl expansion--its coefficient of elasticity, if you will. They were able to field my concerns about how that paint would hold up under such stress.
Over at Bayer, (yes, they're much more than aspirin) I learned about a new program aimed at helping HVAC trades sell energy upgrades. I had an animated discussion with their new marketing person about the different ideological focus of builders, homeowners and architects--we both learned some useful information, I think.
My point--the industry is maturing in a very positive way, perhaps motivated by the economic disaster of the past year. Let's hope the former continues and the latter doesn't.