I sometimes envy landscape architects – they have some pretty clear problems to solve, and everyone likes plants. But one of the benefits of working at a large multidisciplinary design firm is that I can wander around the office and see what my colleagues are up to. Since we all speak the language of design we can usually talk pretty coherently across disciplines. I get to live the life of a landscape architect vicariously, but still escape at a moment’s notice when the going gets rough.
Gardening last year was pretty frustrating. Weeks of hot and dry weather stunted growth in most gardens in the area. A scorching summer was followed by ravenous grasshoppers that ravaged our fall greens. But, Spring is all about renewal and promise. The very same garden bed that was mowed flat by grasshoppers in the fall is now coated with surprise greens.
At any trade show, it’s usually worth it to barge in to a random event, feel awkward for a moment in exchange for a free drink and a chance to encounter new perspectives. So after a long day of seminars at Greenbuild, I found myself making small talk among a group of well dressed facilities managers involved in the LEED for Existing Buildings side of things. This is actually a very important part of the sustainability equation, since the operational energy of a commercial building will surpass the embodied energy used to make that building a few years after the building opens.
It's hard to tell now with a fresh blanket of snow on the ground, but this is garden planning season. Days are getting longer and the Spring Solstice is less than a month away. Farmers and gardeners, even rank amateurs like myself, are excitedly thumbing through seed catalogs and websites, anticipating that day when seedlings can brave the elements.
I have two pounds of sunchokes in my refrigerator and I'm scared of them.
Oh, I'm sure they will be delicious but the cleaning of them puts fear in my heart. Perhaps, like many things in life, if I just had a stiff drink before facing them with vegetable scrub brush in hand, it would go a lot easier.
Each November the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) holds its national conference and expo, known as Greenbuild, in a different city. The USGBC is the source for LEED certifications, a method for quantifying sustainability in buildings that has arguably transformed the building industry over the last 12 years. This past year in Phoenix, 27,000 fanatics and their suitors convened to share ideas, fears, successes and failures, working towards a greener, more sustainable built environment.
I’ll start where I left off in journalism class many years ago...
Who: Brett Frauenglass, husband, father, architect, LEED accredited professional, ski instructor and EcoDaddyo reader.
What: Blogging on the built environment for my friend Tim Fowler’s EcoDaddyo blog.
When: I hope about twice a month, but I also hope this gets easier with practice!
Where: Right here, right now. And for lack of a better option, most of my posts will be found under the Home and Office category, though buildings go far beyond those two realms.
Somedays homeownership feels more like home repair triage to me. Managing and completing our home improvement / maintenance projects can seem never-ending. Adding energy efficiency to our goals makes the task even more daunting. I've been considering a comprehensive home energy audit so I can better understand our energy use. Thankfully, I found a FREE! online tool for evaluating our home efficiency projects. Behold the Home Energy Saver.