Resilience

GVGBC October 11th Luncheon: Energy Actions

Join us on October 11th for the Green Building Luncheon in downtown Charlottesville:

Energy Actions – Moving People to Action

clipboard01In honor of Energy Action Month, USGBC Greater Virginia is pleased to welcome Susan Elliott from the City of Charlottesville and Nate McFarland of Generation 180.  Our speakers will present on energy actions and moving people to action, including trends seen in the local Energize!Charlottesville campaign and our local community and region, as well as efforts and methods to shift everyday people to make clean energy choices.

For additional information: City of Charlottesville, Climate Protection Program (www.charlottesville.org/emissionsenergizecville.org) and Generation180

This luncheon will be held at City Space, 100 5th St. NE, on the Downtown Mall, Charlottesville, VA. Doors open at 11:45 and the Seminar begins at 12:00. Luncheons are open to the public. Lunch is provided, attendance is free for GVGBC members and $10 for non members. Register Here:

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Resilient Virginia’s Annual Meeting

Join us for Resilient Virginia‘s Annual Meeting and find out more about all of the statewide efforts to make our communities stronger and how you can be a part of the positive change!

Date: Thursday, June 30, 2016
Location: City Space, On Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall
100 5th St. NE, Charlottesville, VA 22902
Schedule:
Noon–3:00 PM: Resilient Virginia Annual Meeting for Members, Partners and Friends

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Building a Garden on top of Rotting Logs

raised-garden-bed-monthWhile in college my friends and I built a garden on top of a giant rotting tree stump outside of our rental house. That small 4’x2′ garden produced more cucumbers and tomatoes than the four of us could eat without much watering. We didn’t have a clue that we had built a garden system called hugelkultur, but it worked better than we could have imagined. If you have piles of rotting wood laying around (or know someone that does) put them to use under a garden!

We’re trying this out! We’re trying it on a slope that was grassy and eroding, and now is basically a little terrace. Here’s what we did:

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1. Dig a trench that followed the existing contour of the site. We are building a swale as well as burying logs, so that we will also capture rainwater as it flows down the slope.

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2. Fill the trench with logs and sizable branches that have been accumulating from all of the storms we have around here.

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3. Cover the logs with dirt that was excavated earlier. Be careful and fill in all of the holes between the logs which is tricky if you have clay like we do around here, if you don’t I imagine that the mound will sink over time. Check out the water pooling during a big storm in the trench (called a swale) behind the new mound of earth (called a berm); it’s already working! Don’t worry, that water disappears quickly into the soil after the rain stops, though if it doesn’t, add more mulch and build the soil so that it can hold more water.

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4. To keep erosion down we gathered rocks from a field that was plowed too deep and built the terrace edge. On top of the new mound of dirt we planted blueberries, strawberries, thyme, lavender and some flowers. Local pine mulch was put down on top as well to keep the weeds out and cover the bare soil. Now we wait until next season!

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Local Furniture

Have you bought furniture lately? The first problem is finding something that will last a long time. The second problem is finding something that hasn’t traveled around the world twice. A lot of furniture and cabinetry is made halfway across the world, and to make things worse, some of that wood comes from forests right here! There are still local carpenters making amazing pieces and it doesn’t need to be a dying art; there is plenty of demand. I have spent a lot of time talking with Thomas Johnson about how we need to bring carpentry back as a respected craft. The best way to do that is to support your local artisans with your business instead of the big box stores, but he wants to do more. He has a vision of creating a wood products manufacturing school called Mayflower Landing and rekindle the interest of young people to become masters of this timeless craft.

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This is the custom table and bench that Thomas Johnson built just for us. It is solid oak, crafted and finished beautifully, as well as costing less than furniture of comparable quality from overseas.

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Underground Housing and Earthworks classes

Two great classes are coming up in the charlottesville area, both are donation funded and located at the Ivy Creek natural area. The first is an introduction to Underground Housing on Sunday, April 20, 2014 from 11am – 7pm. If you’d like to get a little background before you go, look up Malcolm Wells in google!

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The second is an introduction on shaping the landscape to build soil, improve fertility, and make food for yourself! Sunday, May 4, 2014 from 11am – 7pm in the Ivy Creek Natural Area Educational Building. If you’d like to get a little background before you go, look up Permaculture Earthworks in google!

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Ecovillage Presentation

This is a presentation which gives a rough introduction to the Ecovillage Charlottesville project.  It was built to be an introduction for UVA’s “Engineering Students Without Borders” student group

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Turning Straw Into Buildings

Strawbales are an excellent insulation material and because of their density, are also excellent thermal mass. They are also a rapidly renewable resource. Up to this point, however, they have been on the fringes of building technology because of the time it takes to build with the material. ModCell has come up with a viable way to turn stawbales into super-insulated building panels for commercial and residential use. They claim that these panels are zero carbon or better to create, which is infinitely better than rigid insulation can even think to claim. Brilliant!

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Solar Powered Portable Stove

The gosun stove is the best thought out simple solar food cooker I’ve seen! It looks like this is going to be a reality soon as they got 5 times the funding they were looking for to get it started. Campouts, tailgates, off the grid parties, third world countries and greenies everywhere will love this.

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Local Charlottesville Green Resource: Better World Betty

Better World Betty is a local grassroots organization dedicated to empowering people and business with the tools they need to be sustainable. They have really helpful information about how to recycle tricky items, find greener options, and make your everyday life more earth friendly. They also keep tabs on everything effecting the environment in the Charlottesville area and can answer any green questions that you may have!

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Environmental Product Declarations

Have you ever wondered about what kind of energy goes into making the common things that you use everyday? I’d be willing to bet that you might change some of the things that you purchase if you knew how bad that some of them are for the environment.

Wouldn’t it be empowering if products had to display something similar to a “nutritional information label” that instead detailed the environmental impact of the product? Enter a new type of product label: “Environmental Product Declarations” or EPD’s. Right now, they are a voluntary way for companies to let you know that they care about the impact of their products, but let’s start demanding them. The rules of the game would change dramatically if they were required.

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Architecture 2030 has come up with a challenge for products to reduce their impact; help support their efforts by paying attention to the impact of products and letting it influence your decisions.

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