St. John’s Prep Science and Technology Club at Green Build Expo

Members of the Prep's Science and Technology Club explored the latest developments in green building technologies during a fascinating trip to the Green Build Expo. Organized by the U.S. Green Building Council, the expo brought professionals, practitioners, students, teachers together in November at the Boston Convention and Exposition Center.


The Prep students and teachers fanned out across the giant expo center to cover as much ground and take in as much information as possible, according to Mr. Gary Smith, Science Department Chair, who led the Prep contingent's visit to the expo with fellow science teacher Ms. Kristine Erwin.


Many of the exhibits of that caught the imagination of the group came from the world of net-zero energy. A good-sized portion of the exhibit hall was powered by renewable energy that was set up on-site, said Mr. Smith. Among the providers was Charge Point in Porter Square, Cambridge, which set up a charging station, and Cambridge EnerTech, which demonstrated state-of-the-art battery storage. "That's the missing link between solar, wind and 24x7 power," said Mr. Smith.


Technologies being developed to meet the demand for clean water also caught the attention of students. "Access to clean and plentiful water is one of the biggest challenges facing communities in the U.S. and around the world face," said Mr. Smith. "Climate change means larger extremes of dry and wet, and these technologies offer a straightforward way of meeting the demands of cities and homes for this most important resource. Companies like Orenco and Rainwater Management have technologies that can trap and clean water that is usually thrown away. Many car washes use technology like this, but American cities are increasingly interested in saving water so that it can be used more than once. Invisible Structures makes several products that can turn a water-shedding parking lot into a water-trapping space, and they can do it on a large scale."


After immersing themselves in this exciting world of new ideas and new technologies, students came back to campus eager to try some of their own initiatives—from wind turbines to green walls and even a tiny home conversion van, according to Mr. Smith. "All of us got more ideas for how we could improve recycling, composting, or the natural beauty of campus. It was pretty inspiring!"


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