Celebrating Earth Day by Volunteering in our Community

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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UNLESS Someone Like You Cares A Whole Awful Lot….

Today I took my kids to see the new animated movie “The Lorax” based off of the classic book by Dr. Seuss to kick off earth month.  “UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not”.   An influential statement that was published in 1971, it still holds true today with the same powerful meaning.  This is something that we teach our kids daily, TO CARE.   I am a true believer that you should practice what you preach.  We as a family do that daily as my wife blogs about a greener lifestyle at Saving Family Green and my commitment to home performance and conservation outside of my job by entering our home into the 1000 Home Challenge.

You may be asking how does The Lorax fit anywhere within what I do or have previously posted, I say how does it not.  The Lorax was originally published in 1971, one year after the EPA opened its doors to respond to environmental issues such as the Cuyahoga River catching on fire in 1969, which is mentioned in the first addition of the children’s book.  The author known as Dr. Seuss never had the intention of having an ethical message in mind.  However he saw the blatant disregard of our natural resources and the over consumerism at the time.

Again, “UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not”.  However there are a lot of professionals out there that do care, and go beyond what the job requires.  For some of us, it is a way of life and a mindset.  We want to be mindful of the resources we use now and in the future by using energy conservation strategies with any work we do.  We are also mindful of the materials that we select for any project that will be long lasting and not create unhealthy conditions.  So on your next home remodel project, consider what you really need and want, as well as think of how the impact can be reduced and your you can easily have your overall lifestyle improved.

Something that I believe in

I just happen to come across this post and it just struck a cord with me.  With all my work on an affordable LEED Home and the AIA Ohio Affordable Green Home Design Competition, what this architect writes about is exactly what I believe in and want to advocate as my professional career progresses.

The Case for Affordable Housing & A National Energy Standard
They must go hand-in-hand. ( October 2009 )

Certain items are needed for all people to live a decent (modern) life: decent housing, decent (safe) food, clear (safe) water & air; fair wage/job; access to health care.  All other things are possible (for a people) from there.

Making a (high end designer) commodity of any of the aforementioned, makes those items inaccessible by lower income people and the poor, and now we see, inaccessible to even the middle class in America.

Behind affordable health care, Affordable Housing is the largest problem facing our nation.  When jobs are harder to get, it makes it that much harder to maintain one’s health, and to maintain a decent place to live.  Basic, decent housing, healthcare and  food are a human right.

Continue reading the article at ShantyWorld

Looking to drop the title "Intern"

For most of us in the architectural profession, this past year has been painful.  Many have lost their jobs, and a good amount of us have had pay cuts, which is equally stressful with the amount of strain it puts on our families.  However I have taken the attitude that even though the time is difficult, you just need to push through it.  Because even with the few jobs that are out there, the competition is fierce.  I interviewed for a new job a couple of weeks ago to try and get my salary back to normal just to be able to provide for my family better, and I was up against 15 other people.  That was just how many they interviewed, who knows how many resumes they actually received.  Because I think the latest statistic that I heard was that close to 30% of the architectural profession is without a job.

I also believe you need to prepare for the worst.  Now for a lot of us, stashing money in a savings account is not an option.  But there are other things that can be done.  My local AIA chapter (AIA Columbus) recently held a seminar for the recently unemployed on various issues to consider if you decide to work for yourself.  Believe it or not, a lot of architectural firms get their start during a recession (article).  Attend AIA meetings and other events and start networking with colleagues.  Let them know who you are and what you are up to.  Even though they may not have work to take you on at that time, keeping an open line of communication with others will put you in the loop when new jobs are available and that personal connection may help you get your foot in the door.  Because it truly is not always what you know, but who you know.

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Follow me on twitter

twitter

So I have joined the world of twitter and have been exploring the vast amounts of instant information and dinner ideas for the past couple of weeks.  What I have learned on my short time with twitter, it is a good way to receive massive amounts of up to date information as long as you are following the right people and or organizations.  Two organizations that I obviously follow are AIA (@AIANational) and the USGBC (@usgbc).  They tweet on a fairly regular basis about recent press releases, articles, and other random pieces of information related to the design & construction field.  However you can receive equal amounts of useless information such as “homemade eggplant parm, steamed artichoke with sherry vinaigrette, and a mediterranean cucumber and tomato salad…rainy Saturday dinner“.  But as I learned by listening in to a social media webinar by @LewisHowes & @SeanMalarkey, social media is exactly what it is called, it is another means of socializing with hundreds if not thousands of people and letting them know what you are doing.  So it is a little more personalized to let people know more about you as a person rather than a company.

In this social media webinar that I attended they were presenting ways for the user to generate business and/or job leads for almost any company.  But not just by using twitter, they also discussed other online networking sites such as LinkedIn and briefly touched upon facebook, which I am a user of all three.  With the exception of facebook, I can see how these can be very effective marketing tools if you are active users of these two sites.  However it could be difficult as an employee of a larger firm to use social media for marketing purposes.  Although you do see some architectural firms creating their own twitter accounts.  On the other hand, as an employee it is a great way to brand yourself and get your information out to others and try to have yourself seen as an expert, which can prove to be useful in these slower times if you happen to be job hunting.  So I would like to offer my opinion on the different social networking sites.

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