Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rainy Days

Rainy days are perfect for musing about home improvement projects. Sitting by the window with a strong cup of tea and a notepad, I've begun sketching out my plans for spring improvements. New screening shrubs along the west side, a deciduous shade tree strategically located for future shade, and an expanded kitchen garden. Before too long I'll be getting seeds started using one of those handy plastic kits with the tray and clear cover, available at most local hardware stores. My neighbor stopped by yesterday- the rain has reminded her that she could use a drainage system in her yard, and wanted to discuss a design contract.

Glancing over my shoulder, my fiancee reminds me that there are plenty of things we could work on inside the house, well before the ground begins to dry out. New low-VOC paint for the back bedroom, cork flooring in the office, and of course the new sustainable kitchen cabinets she's been wanting. She even has a book of color swatches that she borrowed from Green Sacramento. After discussing for a few minutes we decide to take care of the painting and the floor now, and wait until the spring for the cabinets since we can start cooking more on the barbecue while the cabinets are being installed.

She joins me for another cup of tea, and we stand at the window looking out at the rain. I'm looking forward to this year- new beginnings and finally taking care of projects we've been putting off for a while. Here's to a rainy day, and plans for the future.

-Ed Chandler is the owner of Loftgardens Landscape Architecture, co-located in the Green Living Center, 919 20th Street in Midtown Sacramento.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Decade Past/Future of Green Building

Green Sacramento opened five years ago when green building was still a fringe movement. There were a handful of green building stores around the country at that time focused in cities like Seattle, Portland, Boulder, Austin and San Rafael, all politically progressive hotbeds. I would go to events and many people in the Sacramento area thought that we were crazy for opening our store. A few people got the idea, but they were definitely the minority. Then Al Gore came out with his movie An Inconvenient Truth and everything changed, not radically, but there was definitely a shift in the dialogue. The green or sustainability conversation changed from why to why not. Even if people didn’t agree with the concepts of climate change they began to think that it wouldn’t hurt to try to reduce our consumption of materials and energy.

Green Sacramento and the green movement quickly went from fringe to fashionable with a trend that I don’t see going away any time soon. Concepts of sustainability and conservation are going to continue to grow. The economic and social arguments have become more persuasive. Green is a great long-term investment that continues to give back. From the perspective of innovation and job growth they sky is the limit as long as we have leadership that sees that potential and helps facilitate the social and economic changes that are required to foster that development. The Obama administration is currently showing that foresight and leadership by putting more investment and incentive in green building and other green tech industries. In the next year I am confident that we will see very strong incentives from Federal, state and local governments to make our homes more energy efficient and green.

So these last several years have been about creating a buzz and finding some direction. In the next ten years I am predicting that we will see many of those plans begin coming to fruition creating a much strong and greener economy. I really hope my predictions come through… and I hope the Green Sacramento and the other members of The Green Living Center can help facilitate that growth in our neighborhood and region.


Josh Daniels

Green Sacramento