Dulce Juarez rubbed a dab of thick, blue cream on her hands. "Wow! That feels so good," she said. She felt even better when she learned the body cream, sold by Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, is made from plants rather than petroleum.
As the 2008 GreenSummit Expo and Conference opened Friday at the Phoenix Convention Center, people learned about solar panels, compact fluorescent bulb recycling, carpets made from recycled materials and more.
Tiffany Feuerhelm and Alissa Franconi inspected a.k.a. Green of Scottsdale's countertop materials made from sunflower seeds, wheat, recycled glass and other environmentally friendly materials. Their firm, RSP Architects of Tempe, designs many "green" buildings, and they are always looking for materials.
"I love all of this stuff," Franconi said, holding up a sample tile made from sorghum stalks, which are usually waste products from making molasses.
GreenSummit, which ended Saturday, also included an Advancing Sustainability Conference sponsored by Arizona State University's Global Institute of Sustainability.
Now in its second year, GreenSummit grew out of a class project by Chris Samila, an ASU senior who organized this year's event.Samila said GreenSummit helps people who are interested in sustainability but don't know where to begin.
"I think it helps them understand," Samila said. "Everybody is told, 'Go green,' and that is actually our goal - to help them start that process."
The Advancing Sustainability Conference includes experts and professionals speaking on subjects such as how solar panels work, how people can minimize their carbon footprint and sustainable building techniques.
Patrice Rowan, a Scottsdale business consultant who recently relocated to the Valley, said she wants to help clients establish sustainable practices. She sat in on a session about solar energy and sustainable fuels.
"I came to learn how we integrate new technology into the old environment and how to start thinking outside the box and not just about the profits," Rowan said.
The session, conducted by George Maracas, an ASU electrical engineering professor, drew raves from James Hull, who wants his community of Maricopa to build on its current green practices such as curb-side recycling.
"I knew about wind power and solar power, but I was fascinated by the bacteria that can produce electricity," he said. "This shows what I've been missing."