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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Crozet Pocket Neighborhood

Crozet, Virginia is becoming a vibrant, bustling, livable and walkable center. Within walking distance of all the amenities that this growing town has to offer in the heart of an existing neighborhood is the possibility of a community that shifts the focus away from the personal automobile to personal interaction. Click here to see the full design.

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If you want to live here, invest in the concept, or help make it a reality please contact us.

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Ecovillage Charlottesville Updates

Check out the latest and greatest plans for the buildings of Ecovillage Charlottesville designed in collaboration with Øesch Environmental Design featuring compact, energy efficient living spaces in the form of flats and townhouses with a large indoor/outdoor shared kitchen and dining area spaces on the rooftop and the utmost attention to livability, natural light, privacy, energy efficiency, and functionality.

See the latest designs here:

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GVGBC March 8th Luncheon: Pemeable Pavers

Join us downtown next Tuesday, March 8th downtown Charlottesville for the monthly seminar on green building.

This month’s luncheon gets into the nuts and bolts of permeable paving. We will learn how to utilize interlocking pavers to turn impervious surfaces into stormwater management tools, improving the area’s waterways.

The 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. Register Here

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GVGBC Luncheon: Save the Bay!

watershedJoin us at City Space in downtown Charlottesville at noon on January 12th to learn more about what local organizations are doing to help reduce the amount of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay through credits for reducing stormwater runoff and education.

Please read more and register for the event at GVGBC.org

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GVGBC Green Spaces Design Competition 2015

Check out the winning design of the Greater Virginia Green Building Council‘s 10th Green Spaces Design Competition. Each year the competition focuses team’s creativity on a forgotten space or building to reuse it in a new, sustainable and exciting way. This year’s competition focused on a beautiful historic high school building and grounds in Clifton Forge, Virginia.

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North Country Natural Swimming Pool Project

Natural swimming pools are somewhat of a magical unicorn in the United States. Luckily that is beginning to change as people begin to re-evaluate the chemical processes that we have become accustomed to.

Here is upworthy’s article on this great swimming pool project that is challenging the industrial swimming pool.

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I wonder how this is the first of its kind, and it seems like there are very few professionals who understand this type of plant based system. If you’re wondering what to study in college, it is plant based alternatives to industrial processes and mechanical systems (yes, conventional swimming pools are an industrial process).

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Bamboo Deck String Lights

Humans are predictable creatures. For some reason we feel more comfortable in places that are the right proportions and scale for the activity that occurs there. If you have found this post, then you are probably looking to make your deck more intimate, romantic, or inviting for reading, dining or talking. Lighting has long been used to “enclose” outdoor rooms to make the great outdoors feel more comfortable, and string lights have become a very inexpensive and effective way to do this.

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Bamboo Uprights

In order to get the deck lighting high enough to create a “roof” over a deck, the lighting needs to be 8 to 10 feet above the floor. Most decks have railing between 3 and 4 feet tall, so extra height will be needed to make the desired effect work. Bamboo is a very strong, extremely fast-growing grass that can grow in a large variety of climates, so it is a low-impact and in a lot of cases free choice for making the uprights (ie posts) that will hold the lights up. Above and beyond being very strong, renewable, and cheap, bamboo’s characteristic shape offers a few extra features that can reduce the amount of mechanical fasteners that you need to use.

Sourcing and Preparing the Bamboo

Do not plant your own Bamboo: the plant is not native in most locations and will quickly take over your yard and spread to your neighbors’. Look around where you live for a bamboo patch, chances are that the people whose property it is on will be more than happy to let you have a few twigs. If you are a bit shy, some garden centers may have it in stock.

Look for pieces that are between 10 and 14 feet tall, so that when the small top branches are cut, you will be left with a roughly 8 to 10 feet pole between ½” to 1” in diameter. On a deck, the number of uprights will either be the number of deck railing posts or every 6 to 8 feet. Cut the bamboo down close to the ground, then trim off all of the branches. When trimming the branches, leave ½” to 1” of the base of the branch attached to the pole, these branches sticking out just a little bit are how the string lights will be attached.

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Attaching the Bamboo Uprights to the deck

The way that the bamboo uprights are attached to the deck will vary based on the deck construction but the concept is the same for all decks. The pole needs two points of attachment to the deck to make it stable and sturdy. Special brackets (think tiki torches) are available for just this task, but they will probably cost more than the string lights themselves. If you do go this route make sure that they are made to withstand the outdoors or they will break or rust all over the place.

In my case the deck railing overhangs the railing posts by an inch, so a simple bracket would not work anyway. two 3” long pieces of notched 2” x 2” treated lumber per bamboo upright did the trick nicely. Drill a hole to allow for a zip tie to grab the bamboo and use two exterior deck screws to attach the pieces of lumber to the outside of the railing post. Attaching the bamboo is as easy as tightening the zip ties because the natural bulge every 8 to 12 inches along the bamboo upright will act as a positive stop and keep the upright from slipping downward with gravity.

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Choosing String Lights

There is now a huge variety of string lights available. When using bamboo uprights, the huge commercial bulbs with thick cords will look too large, so pick ones that have thinner cords and smaller bulbs. Incandescent bulbs are a waste of energy so luckily LED technology has come a long way in the past few years.

The first thing to consider is how bright do you want the lights to be. There are really only two choices: mood lighting and illumination. If you are just looking to make the deck a more inviting place, then mood lighting is all that you need, and if you only need mood lighting, then solar powered string lights are a great way to go. They always turn on at dusk, don’t require any outdoor electrical plugs, don’t cost anything to operate, plus they still allow for stargazing and watching fireflies. Outdoor lamps can be used to supplement the lighting in the areas and times that it is needed.

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If you must have more light, then you need to look into plug-in LED string lights. When looking for LED string lights, look for reviews online to make sure that they do not strobe; cheaper sets often flicker at 60 hz, which can drive your eyes insane and will completely ruin the effect of calm. Make sure they are rated for continuous outdoor use.

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The second thing to consider is the color of the light from the bulbs. LEDs are available in any color imaginable, so if you really want purple lights, go for it. I personally like the warm white type of lights (2700K) which produce a glow similar to incandescent bulbs.

Attaching the String Lights to the Bamboo Uprights

This is by far the easiest part of the process. Be gentle when hanging the string lights, especially with the solar powered ones. Pick a height on the bamboo uprights that looks right (start with 8 feet if you can’t decide), and wrap the string lights one turn around each bamboo upright above the closest branch to the desired height, then push the loop down to the branch and notice that the bamboo branch provides a stop so that the lights can’t slide down the upright.

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If you want your string lights to hover above the deck and attach the your house you have to get a little creative. Is it best not to drill any more holes in your house than there already are, and coincidentally most houses have attachments on the side like gutters or radon pipes that can be used to attach the lights to. Pay attention to any sharp objects that could cut the light string so use things like spring links (carabiners) to make the attachment to the house less straining.

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I hope that this has given you some more ideas about how to create an outdoor room that invites you to enjoy the outdoors.

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Ecovillage Charlottesville Design Survey

We are trying to understand how to best shape Ecovillage Charlottesville with the community (you) in mind. It would help us out so much if you could fill out our survey about what you would like to see in the community. Thank you so much.

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River at Risk: The Environmental Health of the James River

River at Risk: The Environmental Health of the James River

Tuesday, January 13th,  2015  — 12:00-1:00 PM

Located at CitySpace, on the downtown mall in Charlottesville

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The GVGBC is pleased to welcome Pat Calvert, The Upper James River Keeper for the James River Association  who will present on the environmental threats to the James River.

The James River Association (JRA) is kicking off its “Our River at Risk” advocacy campaign throughout the James River basin to bring awareness to potential threats to the James River, a significant source of drinking water for Virginians.

Due to several recent incidents, to include the chemical spill on the Elk River in West Virginia, the coal ash spill on the Dan River in North Carolina and the train derailment and oil spill in Lynchburg, JRA has been researching the issues of crude-by-rail, toxic chemical storage and coal ash in the watershed.

Bill Street, Chief Executive Officer for the James River Association  says “Our River at Risk” is designed to inform and engage the public in a conversation about the ongoing threats to the James.

“The James River Association is calling on industry and government to recognize and address the risks that are facing the river in light of the recent toxic incidents in the region. JRA has identified important goals in regards to potential policies to address each issue of concern and is seeking to engage the broader community, government agencies and industry representatives in an effort to achieve the results that are needed to safeguard the James River.”

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. Advance registration requested at GVGBC.ORG  

 

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