Celebrating Earth Day by Volunteering in our Community

April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day!

What better way to celebrate Earth Day than by volunteering for an event in the community you live.

Everyone has an expertise and what better way to benefit the Community in which you live than by volunteering that expertise to the benefit of others.  We have always believed that it is important to be engaged and active in your community.  We have had two opportunities recently to volunteer our time and talents.

Just this past Sunday, we organized Earth Day activities at our church.  Our church recently received Energy Star Certification and is one of 50 churches Nationwide who have received such designation.  Our church has also recently created a “Green” Team to focus on Energy Efficiency and Sustainability within our congregation.

All Saints conducted a $9,000 Level 2 energy audit in May, which with rebates from the program was free to the congregation.

Our activities for this past Sunday, included programs for both Children’s Sunday School and Adults.

Our Children’s Sunday School activities included talking about the Energy Star Certification (some of the kids were really well aware of what it means!), talking about where food comes from and planting cucumber seeds in peat pots for the kids to take home.

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For the Adults, we had a presentation and display set up between Church services from CSG (Conservation Services Group) who administers both Columbia Gas and AEP (American Electric Power) Energy Audits for residential customers.  These Audits identify areas in a home that could be improved upon from a air leakage standpoint (insulation or air sealing), systems (furnace and a/c), electrical (light bulbs) and plumbing fixtures (low flow faucet aerators).

CSG presentation

For two years now, we have volunteered to participate in Green Apple Day of Service.  Green Apple Day of Service is a National Event sponsored by the Green Schools program through the United States Green Building Council.  The Green Apple Day of Service gives parents, teachers, students, companies and local organizations the opportunity to transform all schools into healthy, safe and productive learning environments through local service projects.

We helped to implement a rain garden at a local Elementary School.

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AIA Ohio Affordable Green Home Design Competition presented at 2011 USGBC Greenbuild

February 7, 2012

In 2008 & 09, I had the great opportunity to develop and run a design competition for AIA Ohio that benefited habitat for humanity affiliates here in Ohio with more energy efficient and healthy homes.  The competition was a great effort by individuals throughout the state, as we worked with 3 affiliates which all received new designs as a result of the competition and have constructed them since the competition.

As a part of the competition we were able to pull in some great jury members such as Roger Beck who built the first LEED Platinum home in Ohio with high school students, Mandy Metcalf from Environmental Health Watch, Betsy Pettit from Building Science Corporation, Ed Mazria from Architecture 2030 as well as a few other Ohio architects.  What inspired me to organize this competition was some of the experiences that I had working with what was the Cleveland Green Building Coalition and Jim LaRue with my first official introduction into building science.  As well as my experience with volunteering my time to produce the construction documents and help build the LEED Platinum home in Columbus, Ohio.  I wanted to help provide this opportunity I had to others.  Then attending the 2008 AIA National Convention in Boston and listening to Millard Fuller tell us, “To you incredibly intelligent and talented and highly educated men and women, you have a huge responsibility. No city is so well off that it can afford to squander a part of the next generation, and when we don’t provide adequate shelter for families, we are consigning a large number of the next generation to prison, to a life of not living up to their potential.”  I knew I was doing the right thing.

So after two years and 3 successful construction projects, the competition resurfaced.  The overall competition winner, a co-organizer and one of the lucky habitat affiliates presented the competition at the 2011 USGBC GreenBuild Expo in Toronto.  So I would like for you to enjoy the presentation that was given and hear about the competition and the experiences gained by not only the competition winner but the habitat for humanity affiliate.

 

Greenbuild 2011 Special Set – Re-inventing Habitat for Humanity from U.S. Green Building Council on Vimeo.

Panelist at the 2011 AIA Ohio Valley Region Convention

September 19, 2011

Over the weekend I had the great pleasure of attending the 2011 AIA Ohio Valley Region Convention in Dayton, Ohio as a panelist for the topic “Alternative Career Paths in Architecture”.  I represented myself as part of the home performance industry, performing home energy audits and quality control/quality assurance inspections. As a part of the panel,  I feel that I was the furthest outside of the box from being in the traditional architectural field.  Other fields or paths related to architecture that were represented were, specifications writing, historic preservation, university planning department, state architects office and web comics.  The panel was moderated by Lee W. Waldrep, Ph.D who wrote the book Becoming an Architect: A Guide to Careers in Design and moderated similar panels at other conventions such as the 2011 AIA National Convention.

 

The overall convention was invigorating.  It not only re-energized my spirits, but helped show me some directions that I can take my career.  I also had the opportunity to network and talk with some colleagues that I have not seen in the past year or so, as well as meet a couple of up and coming celebrities, the creators of the popular web comic Architexts.  Therefore, until next years convention I am looking forward to getting more involved in the architecture profession again, even if it is just participating in AIA events and meetings.

2010 AIA Ohio Convention Presentation

October 2, 2010

About this time last year I had the pleasure to introduce founder of Architecture 2030, Ed Mazria as one of the 2009 AIA Ohio Valley Regional Convention keynote speakers and observe him and our other jurors judge the final round of the 2009 AIA Ohio Affordable Green Home Design Competition.  I also presented about the competition and handed out the awards at the conventions awards banquet.

Last year the presentation was about the results of almost a year’s worth of planning and preparation with three different Habitat for Humanity affiliates throughout Ohio.  Giving our attendants the background of the competition as well as a more in depth look into some of our entrant’s submissions with incites from one of the participating habitat affiliates on how the competition would help them to move forward.

Again this year I was asked to present at the AIA Ohio Convention that was held these past couple of days in Toledo to provide a follow up to the results, as the intent was that each of the three category winning designs was to get built, and it is my pleasure to state that all 3 designs are getting built.  Two are well under construction, and one is awaiting a permit.  This year I was joined by one of our winning teams and habitat for humanity representative to discuss their experiences during and after the competition.  Because the intent of the competition was to give younger un-registered architect a chance to take hold of a project and work directly for a client and learn more about energy efficient design.  As well as provide habitat for humanity a new set of well designed prototypical homes that is more energy efficient and more aesthetically pleasing.  We had a good turn out with some good information being shared by our design team on how it helped them progress and learn as well as how the competition helped one habitat affiliate bring community members together as well as foster discussion with other habitat affiliates throughout the state.

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AIA Ohio Affordable Green Home Design Competition

May 22, 2009

Back in November I announced the AIA Ohio boards acceptance of a proposal to host a statewide design competition (here) that would be run by the AIA Ohio Committee On The Environment (COTE).  Well after 6 months of work we are wrapping things up and getting the word out to the AIA Ohio membership.  Registration for the competition is set to open on June 19th.

AIA OHIO AFFORDABLE GREEN HOME DESIGN COMPETITION

AIA OHIO AFFORDABLE GREEN HOME DESIGN COMPETITION

It has been a difficult but rewarding experience to organize and coordinate an event like this.  My only hope at this time is that we receive a good amount of submissions and that we can raise enough money to provide the stipends necessary for our winning design teams to produce final documents of their designs.

So I encourage you to visit the competition website at www.aiaohiogreenhome.com and consider entering if you are eligible.