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Green expo opens with big crowd

By Erin Ailworth
Globe Staff / November 20, 2008
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More than 26,000 people packed the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center yesterday for the first day of the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, according to organizers.

The trade show, which ends tomorrow, is sponsored by the nonprofit US Green Building Council and highlights environmentally friendly businesses and services.

"We maxed out the conference hall, and with how big the BCEC is that shows something, and that is that people are getting it," said Kimberly Lewis, the council's vice president of events.More than 800 companies are represented at the show, she said.

Lewis said the Greenbuild conference began in Texas in 2002 with about 4,000 people attending. Last year's show in Chicago attracted more than 22,000.

A focus of the 2008 conference is social equity and encouraging everyone to participate in the "green" movement, she said, no matter where they live or what their income. In keeping with the equity theme, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa delivered the opening remarks. "We talk about buildings, buildings, buildings, but at the end of the day, it's about the people in the buildings," Lewis said.

Yesterday, participants browsed displays featuring products that ranged from solar-tube lighting systems to ecofriendly toilets. At the Waste Management Inc. exhibit, Joe Laur demonstrated the networking website greenopolis.com. Laur likened the site, which is funded by Waste Management, to "Facebook on green steroids."

Erin Ailworth can be reached at eailworth@globe.com.

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