I went to the down:2:earth Boston's Sustainable Living Expo yesterday afternoon--someone was handing out free tickets on Boylston Street in front of the Pru. So I went for it, and honestly it was an interesting, a small, conference expo, and I love walking through and seeing conference exhibits. Working in the field of housing development, and living in a world where everyone is drinking the "Green Building" cool-aid, peeping inside the exhibit hall was halfway work related--can I count it as overtime? So there were some interesting local groups, from local bicycle groups to small start-ups that will outfit your home with very cool gardens, etc. I can post links, don't worry. But there was, of course, the industry reps, from window manufacturers, bath and kitchen surface reps, and appliance reps.
My big beef right now is to say that vinyl, despite calling it "Virgin Vinyl," is not sustainable. I don't care what sort of energy rating those new vinyl windows gets, they are still vinyl, and it is still toxic in how its made (if you disagree go build your dream house NEXT to a chemical plant producing PVC, then call me and tell me to eat your ass), and most especially if your home is ever on fire, and then in 20 years when you want new ones, it means more vinyl in a landfill. Vinyl works for many because it's cheap, and they can spray it clean with their (vinyl?) garden hose, leading many to believe it's maintenance free. As someone who has replaced my far share of windows here on the job, I can say that vinyl windows are the cheapest replacement windows, and that you get what you pay for, so beware. And I'm not hating anyone for using them, but I do get quite annoyed when I go to a "Green" expo and find a room of industry schmucks pushing vinyl "renewal" crap to the crowd.