This is only a potential action, but I have joined the Board of Directors and Building Committee of our artists’ coop and was surprised to learn that the committee had been convinced by consultants that green options were too expensive and difficult to replace our antique boiler and pipes. Of course, gas is not so very terrible, but it seems to me we haven’t really opened up. This is typical of the “business as usual” scenarios we frustratingly encounter in our daily lives. I hope to use some of the excellent resources from local organizations (which Laurie Dougherty has helped me find) to begin to pry open this window of opportunity. Cost really is an issue for us – that’s one of the reasons we exist at all – and artists tend very progressive. Suggestions are welcome, though I won’t check in to this every day.
Another possibility is a local show focused on the environment, but I seem to have my fear and procrastination hat on about it. Several local artists have done excellent work on this.
It seems to me there’s a real need for an online – and very active, and with archives – “Ask Umbra”-equivalent, for greening buildings. One of the reasons (other than general procrastination) that I’ve put off adding more insulation to my house, is that there isn’t a clear path forward on how to do it. (What kind of insulation to use, in an attic that’s half rock wool and half fiberglass? How do I keep from blocking the edge vents? Where can I find reasonably priced relatively-environmentally-nontoxic insulation? Does it really make sense to rip out the existing fiberglass insulation? that kind of thing.)
Actually, it’s an old brick mill building (ca. 1900, 6 floors, 72,000 square feet). We have pipes that are supposed to deliver steam but actually deliver hot water, and my idea is to put solar out to heat the top floors. Wind might also be possible. Also, some people could use window solar to heat their hot water. It’s a scale issue. We have a model; a new building that is all green down the street (Artists for Humanity, a great organization), but not the financing.
Insulation is out of the scope of the group at this point, but heating must be replaced and I think it’s a shame not to take advantage of progress in solar for the top floors which are hard to reach from the ground. I hope that engineers who tend to go with the familiar can be persuaded to be more open-minded as well, which might have a ripple effect.
Earlier today I’d said –
> It seems to me there’s a real need for an online – and very active, and with archives – “Ask Umbra”-equivalent, for greening buildings.
Just now I found this Grist article on Sierra Club’s Green Home venture – “Sierra Club experts have created an extensive library of information—on everything from “eco-friendly furniture” to geothermal heat pumps—in a smartly designed package of articles, interactive widgets and video.”
…which “was born of Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope’s frustration at trying to green his own home. Some high net-worth Sierra Club donors had a similar experience… “
” the City of Toronto has big, walkable plans for the hundreds of dreary high rise towers that house many of its residents. Right now, these buildings are energy inefficient, and exist in empty plots of land with little transportation and few businesses.
All that is about to change, though because the City plans on retrofitting the buildings with a slew of energy saving measures – improved insulation, better heating and cooling, solar panels, solar hot water… you name it. It’s estimated that these retrofits will cost a fraction of what it would cost to actually tear down the buildings and build new ones. …”
…it’s called the Mayor’s Tower Renewal project – http://www.towerrenewal.ca
“This website outlines our vision and principles, shows how energy efficiency can be a means to community revitalization, and explains why we must act now. It will track our progress, and share what we have learned. …”