New Paltz continued its green streak as the Hudson Valley Green Expo returned to campus last Wednesday, Oct. 14.
Hosted by the the Hudson Valley branch of the Upstate New York Chapter U.S. Green Building Council, the fourth annual event was held in the Student Union Building. It drew various groups from the local political, business, and environmental communities.
Rick Alfandre, owner of Sustainable Alfandre Architecture and the current chair of the Upstate New York chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, founded the expo in 2011, though he initially started a Green Lighting expo. After discovering the various green material manufacturers and service providers in the area, he decided to expand the lighting expo to include all green materials and services.
By 2013, Alfandre, a New Paltz alumni, had partnered up with Dr. Gerald Benjamin and Kathleen Tobin, directors of the Benjamin Center, formerly known as CRREO, and brought the expo to campus.
It’s proximity to the thruway and shared support of sustainability initiatives made SUNY the perfect location.
“The idea is to bring as many local and regional manufacturers together with each other but also with potential buyers,” said Alfandre. “Trying to get as many people in the SUB as possible to talk and learn from each other. To grow and encourage collaboration.”
With around 300 people in attendance the Multipurpose Room held over 30 different booths housing the exhibitioning green materials and services, including solar paneling, fireproof walls that help retain the heat in your home and specially modified concrete that decrease rainwater runoff.
The event also drew innovative manufacturers, like Excelsior Wood Products, who had returned for its second year at the expo. According to the company’s product specialist Christina Sauer the expo allowed her a platform to inform people about their lumber industry recycled wood, but also a place to make friends and acquire business contacts.
“Gathering like-minded people that are all here to be responsible citizens of the earth just makes this expo so unique,” Sauer said.
Like minded people like Solar Solutions LLC specialist Kevin O’Neill, who attended the event as a representative for his company, one of the many sponsors of the expo. Others included the Ulster County Economic Development and The Williams Lake Project. All of whom share the common goals of successful sustainability and growing the green economy.
According to O’Neill, new technology has changed the approach to solar paneling. They now employ a new component that places a small computer into each individual panel instead of just one for all of the panels, making the system run more smoothly and energy efficiently.
With the turnout growing every year, Alfandre hopes to continue expanding the expo.The event is always free to all students and even personally invited the masters level business sustainability students to attend and engage this year.
“People are interested in earning a living and doing the right thing,” Alfandre said “It gives people a multifaceted opportunity to learn a little bit about a lot of things.”