The fifth annual Alternative Building Materials and Design Expo will return Saturday and Sunday, April 25th and 26th, at a new location, Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.

Organizers peg the event by the City of Santa Monica as the largest and most cohesive green-building expo in Southern California.

It also brings together the public and the building community, which includes architects, designers, contractors, retail buyers and government representatives.

The ultimate goal is to learn about and promote green building, alternative energy and sustainability technologies and practices.

The expo will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days, with the trade being the focus on Friday and the public on Saturday.

Special features include “ecological footprint chartering,” a demonstration area, Jewish World Watch’s Darfur Solar Cooker Project, a Livinggreen Bookstore with author signings, Global Green’s “Blueprint for Greening Affordable Housing” book signing, the Southern California Gas Sustainability pavilion, a sustainable cafÈ, a bike valet, and “A Tribute to Bamboo” with the Martini Kings.

Green Cities of California (GCC) will make its first official presentation at 1 p.m. Friday about a variety of environmental and social issues. The Green Cities of California collective includes Berkeley, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica and the County of Marin.

Saturday’s keynote speakers are the Energy Coalition’s Craig Perkins, LEEP AP’s Victoria Johnston, California Energy Commission’s Panama Bartholomy and the World Council for Renewable Energy’s Angelina Galiteva.

Also on Saturday there will be various panels on topics such as the water crisis, healthy and sustainable aspects of design and construction, housing and living alternatives, sustainable landscape, building fireproof and permaculture.

In addition, the City of Santa Monica is hosting the 2008 Green Building tour in conjunction with the AltBuild Expo on Sunday, April 27th, from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Civic Auditorium is at 1855 Main St. Admission is free.

Information, (310) 390-2930 and www.altbuildexpo.com/.

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