It’s hard to get simpler in conception and execution than Green-Zip Tape. The product is a substitute for the joint-compound tape that has been used between gypsum board panels since the introduction of prefabricated plasterboard in the early 1930s. The product impressed all three jurors.

Cristobal Correa noted that the product is one step in a new process that allows for the reuse of drywall—creating demountable partitions. In fact, builders can reuse the metal studs, tracks, and screws as well. A releasable adhesive is applied to the middle studs, while screws are used only to attach the edges of the boards. Green-Zip Tape is applied—much like ordinary tape—with joint compound float applied over it. But Green-Zip Tape is extended 3 inches beyond the bottom of the panel and can be hidden under the carpet or behind a base. When it’s time to demount the wall, you simply expose the end of the tape and peel it off—exposing the board’s edges and screws for simple disassembly. The only material that can’t be reused is the joint compound.

Green-Zip Tape has already been deployed in Chevron Corp.’s Houston headquarters, where a three-month payback on investment is expected. The innovation could have ramifications for green building in general: Executive Order #13514 requires federal buildings to deter 50 percent of construction waste from landfills using recycling or reuse by 2015. Green-Zip Tape could be a significant boon to building owners trying to meet this requirement.

But its use isn’t limited to construction and recycling. Moving HVAC services around a building can be accomplished without messy and time-consuming cutting and patching, if the builder has used the attachment system in the building.

“It’s kind of a banal thing, but smart,” Frank Barkow said. “If you think about the square meters of this stuff that has to be moved every day, it’s huge.” Jenny Wu noted, in “a simple way, it’s trying to do something.”