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VILLAGE GREEN May-June, 2010

Community Assets page 4

Volume 2, Issue 1 FREE

FGBC “Inspire...Don’t Require!”

Her Earthship

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FLORIDAECONET.NET THE VILLAGE GREEN IS A PROJECT OF THE FLORIDA ECONET

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T he Village Green

Volume 1, Issue 8

Honesty Is a Treasure Let’s be honest. This living sustainable thing can be downright confusing. There are so many changes and new trends and so much new information. How are we supposed to figure out which choices are the most sustainable? And what about what’s available in our local area? Well. We’re going to make it easy for you: Use The Village Green to ask your neighbors—local experts and do-it-yourselfers who can answer your questions because they’ve done it themselves. (Isn’t it nicer when someone talks from experience?) The Florida EcoNet is your community resource. And speaking of useful information, we’ve hit the jackpot this issue. We’ve got the answers to the tough questions—like, what exactly is “green architecture?” Are green roofs and living walls practical in Florida—and affordable? We’ve got the inside scoop on the Florida Green Building Coalition (GO LOCAL!). Fresh Greens writer Joel Tippens gives us a practical use for those open and vacant lots we pass so often, especially following the collapse of the construction industry. Gripe is Gripe. And we have a delicious salad recipe from one of your neighbors. It’s all in here! Now isn’t it nice to know we’ve got your back?

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Shannon and Ciana PS: Don’t forget to become a fan of the Florida EcoNet on Facebook.

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T he Village Green

Volume 1, Issue 8

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Gripe the Green Guru

Green Gems

WHICH ROOF?

FGBC – “Inspire...Don’t Require!”

This is a common question these days as many of us are building new homes from recycled materials, or replacing older materials with more eco-friendly alternatives—but which should you choose? Well, I would like say, “You’ve come to the right place,” but truthfully, there are so many options that I can only say the decision really is a personal one. Common practical thoughts on eco-roofing include making sure your roof is a light color (especially in Florida), which can lower your cooling costs considerably; flat roofs that are made to hold heavy weight add the convenience needed for a roof-top garden, which not only shades your home with carbon reducing features, but also allows you the opportunity to stretch your food budget by growing edible plants like fruits and vegetables; and then of course there is always the green roof. Yeah! Love the green roof! Truth is, though, green roofs (where the entire rooftop surface becomes growing vegetation) have their own pros and cons that must be considered before making a decision. The pros, of course, include offsetting your carbon footprint, an awesome insulation system, and added gardening space, but the cons have many of us rolling our eyes in annoyance. Green roofs can be very expensive to install, take considerable maintenance, and if the wrong seed likes the healthy soil on top of your house, you might wake up to find some tree roots growing through your ceiling—you get the picture? Still, for the brave among you, more information on green roofs can be obtained at www.greenroofs.com. So here’s my advice: Contact your local FGBC consultant and ask them to guide you through the process, because when it all comes down to it, you really need to choose the option that best fits your lifestyle and needs. I mean come on, you’re the one who lives there!

Next Village Green themes: • •

• sustainable transit, making going green affordable, • social justice in the garden, the economics of growing food, and • independence from oil.

Be sure to send your themed based questions to Gripe at floridaeconet@gmail.com

by Stephanie Thomas-Rees FGBC (Florida Green Building Coalition) was conceived and designed specifically for Florida’s hot, humid, frequently hurricane stricken, often scorched by forest fires and cyclical flood drenched environment. It certifies buildings, governments (operational practices), and developments (the horizontal landscape), keeping our microclimate and constituents tangibles and intangibles in mind. Started from somewhat of a grassroots organization, I am here to tell you from my past 3 years experience as a volunteer board member (alongside my 24 colleague board members) FGBC has evolved into a synergistic and vastly diversified team. The organization has seen a small decline in membership and involvement, but that is the ebb and flow of an economy devastated by the construction downfall. As a building science consultant in the built environment I am frequently asked if my work load has decreased in this industry with the economic down turn and fewer construction starts. Fortunately I am busier than ever because consumers are more careful about where they spend their money. Contractors finally have

“...responds climatically to (Florida’s) ecoeco-culture.” time to listen to and unfortunately (and fortunately) for them, have time to learn the advantages of sustainable building practices. As a 5th generation Floridian (and I am older than 30) I take extreme pride in our much debatable “fragile” eco-environment. That’s why I truly believe FGBC is the best “Green” program for FLORIDA in that it responds climatically to its eco-culture. This article will not explain the pros and/or cons to drilling for oil off our coasts, nor will it side with or against SJWMD’s (St. Johns Water Management District) proposals to pipe water from rivers to utilities. It will, however, tell you a little about the FGBC and its members’ mission “to lead and promote sustainability with environmental, economic, and social benefits through regional education and certification programs." The FGBC has over 1300 members, 24 board members and only 1 paid staff member. There are five standards FGBC uses to certify or 3rd party, validate projects. Most of you are familiar with or have heard of LEED Continued on page 6


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T he Village Green

A May Flower Bouquet

Volume 1, Issue 8

Fresh Greens NO VACANCY

by Debra Parsons, CDA Opening minds with open spaces

A wonderful way to brighten someone's day on the first of May and all summer long. This is a project for all ages. You will need: scrap paper (any colors) stapler with adult supervision glue flowers - fresh, dried, silk, or cut from scrap paper string or twine or strong raffia hole punch Choose a large piece of paper any color or design. If you want the cone to have a theme, you may color, draw, write, or paint one side of your paper before you roll it into a cone. Overlap and roll opposite corners together to create a cone. Be sure to put your artwork on the outside of the cone. You may place glue on the inside flap to hold the cone shape (be sure to let the glue dry before filling), or you may staple the open end. This is the fun part. Make any variety of flowers you like in any colors. If you are making paper flowers be sure to add a stem. A stem could be a pipe cleaner, a twig from the yard, or cardboard. If you want your bouquet to be a permanent design, you may carefully glue them into the cone in just the right arrangement. If you want to reuse your cone, you may place the flowers loosely in the cone. To hang your bouquet, simply punch a hole 1/2 inch from the edge of your paper at the top of your cone on one side and then across from that hole on the other side. Attach a piece of string or twine from one hole to the other – this will create a basket. The length will depend on where you want the bouquet to hang. It could be a centerpiece upright in a vase or horizontally on your table. The finished bouquets may be given to friends and families for May Day (the first of May.) Continued on page 8

by Joel Tippens What do you see when you look at a vacant lot? No one would be surprised to hear me say that the first thing I notice is whether there is adequate sunlight for a community garden! Most people agree that transforming unused vacant lots into food gardens is a great idea. But how it is done determines whether or not your community garden is growing community. Seeing Weeds Center city neighborhoods are generally associated with negative images of needy, problematic, and deficient neighborhoods populated by needy, problematic, and deficient people. This negative image is then translated into top-down strategies to address the many needs through deficiency-oriented policies and programs delivered by public and private outside agencies. Residents in turn begin to accept this negative reality and begin to see themselves as clients with special needs that can only be met by the services provided by outsiders; they risk becoming consumers of services with no incentive to be producers. To attract additional resources for needs-based programs, local leadership is forced to further denigrate the community, highlighting problems and deficiencies and ignoring capacities and strengths. This method underlines the perception that only outside experts can provide help. Tragically, the vital support relationships for residents are no longer those inside the community, neighbor to neighbor, but rather those that involve the expert, the social worker, the service provider, and the funder. The fabric of the community unravels and the continual practice of needs-based top-down development ensures the perpetual cycle of dependence will turn again and again. This orientation cannot bring lasting change and is a major cause of the hopelessness pervading many discussions about the future of low-income neighborhoods. When the best one can hope for is maintaining the provision of services from outside providers, investments in the future of the center city rarely receive serious consideration. Seeing Gardens The alternative to this deficiency model is an approach based on identifying the capacities, skills, and assets of the residents and their community rather continued on next page‌


T he Village Green

Volume 1, Issue 8

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Fresh Greens continued from page 4 than what is lacking, what is problematic, or what the community needs. The asset-based approach is internally focused, concentrating on the agenda building and problem solving capacities of community members, rather than dependence on experts outside the community. Most importantly, it is relationship driven, strengthening the idea that neighbors can count on their neighbors and neighborhood resources for support.

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Historic evidence proves that significant community development takes place only when local residents invest themselves and their resources in the effort. The key to revitalizing the center city is to recognize that even the poorest of neighborhoods is a community where individuals and local networks represent a unique combination of resources upon which to build. Besides, the pervasive negative image of the center city makes the prospect of significant outside invest-

…neighbors can count on their neighbors and neighborhood resources for support. ment bleak at best. Outside investment also brings the risk of beginning a gentrification process that forces longtime low-incom0e residents out. Asset-based community-driven development does not naively assume or imply that low-income neighborhoods do not need outside assistance. The emphasis is on an increasing sense of ownership and that additional outside resources are most effectively used if the local community is fully mobilized and invested and can define the agenda for how resources are used. To grow community with community garden projects involves a lot more than a vacant lot. For more information on growing community, please visit wedigfairshare.org

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T he Village Green

Green Gems Continued from page 3 (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and frequently ask how FGBC compares to LEED? The short answer is LEED is a national program and FGBC is a Florida program. Not to focus too much on the differences between the two, but to put the rating programs in perspective, LEED and FGBC’s green rating certifications function very similarly with a different point and fee structure. The common goal is parallel—recognizing buildings that are better than the “norm” without compromising the environment, human health, or comfort. FGBC has 3 certifications for buildings: Green Homes (new and existing homes), Green High Rise (residential above 3 stories), and Green Commercial (less than 30,000 square feet). As of January there were over 2,270 buildings certified by the FGBC standards.

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term value and most importantly, are pleasant to live in. The standard is achievable by everyone who is willing to make an effort; and yet stringent enough to be recognized as a statewide standard for the industry. FGBC has a magazine, newsletters, conferences and a great arena for networking with other like minded businesses, organizations and public at large. If you’d like to learn more about FGBC or how to get involved, please visit the website at www.floridagreenbuilding.org. Stephanie Thomas-Rees received her Masters Degree in Architecture/ Energy Efficient Design from Oxford Brooks University in the UK. She is a Research Architect in the Buildings Research Division at the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), where she has been involved with high performance buildings research since 2001. She currently is a member of the Building America Industrialized Housing Partnership, sponsored by the US Department of Energy, where she conducts research and provides technical

… local governments can show … they are walking the talk. Additionally, FGBC has a Green Local Government Standard that is unique to all other “green” rating programs as it is the only certification program of its kind that local governments can show their constituents that they are “walking the talk.” To encourage sustainability, Palm Coast’s City Manager says, “Inspire … Don’t Require.” FGBC Green Local Government Certification designates cities and counties for outstanding environmental stewardship within their day to day operations. For example, it awards points based on carbon reduction in fleet management, water and sewer departments’ policies and regulations on conservation and waste water management; encourages recycling programs and even things as small as department-wide double-sided printing policies to reduce paper and ink use (which further reduces overhead). It recognizes a local government’s commitment to function in a more efficient manner through better internal communication, cost reductions, and effective risk and asset. As of January, 45 local governments have participated n the program and over 14 are certified as Green Local Governments. The last standard FGBC administrates is the Green Land Development Standard. This standard is intended to recognize developers that have chosen to reduce the burden on the environment and add value to the horizontal landscape of a development project. It focuses more on the infrastructure, utilities, future planning guidelines and preparations for future “green” buildings. The standard and reference guide available from the FGBC provides the tools and guidance necessary to assist the design team through the process of selecting green features that benefit the environment, are affordable to operate, provide long

assistance to the home building industry to improve the environmental performance. She is a board member of the Florida Green Building Coalition and Green Home Certifying Agent. Her past project involved the development and monitoring of an energy performance enhanced relocatable classroom, which demonstrated energy savings of 30-50% in side by side comparisons. Mrs. Rees is the co-author of EcoHouse: A Design Strategy, which is in its 3rd Edition of printing. Before joining FSEC, Mrs. Rees worked for Columbia County, GA securing land for permanent preservation, which included a landmark acquisition that protected one of the largest granite outcrops in the Eastern United States. Mrs. Rees has also taught building science and environmental subjects at the University and has worked for private architectural firms as a project architect. To contact her please email sthomas@fsec.ucf.edu


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Volume 1, Issue 8

Little Green Apples HER EARTHSHIP by Dana R. Thomas “An earthship?” you ask – and well you might. Sounds pretty spacey, huh? But I’ve seen one myself. My mother-in -law built it—a radically sustainable home called an earthship made from recycled materials (typically tires and aluminum cans)—and, no, you can’t see the tires or cans at all once the house is finished. Here is what you need to know. Insulation Versus Thermal Mass Current housing designs are built around the idea of insulation. Just like a cooler, the purpose is to maintain the chosen interior temperature as efficiently as possible through the use of a barrier of insulation surrounding the interior. Thermal mass is totally different. Have you ever walked pass a cinder block wall on a cool evening after a fairly warm day. You can feel the warmth that was absorbed over the course of the day being released from the blocks. An earthship employs the same method. Most earthships are south facing and lined with windows along the front of the house so that during the colder months, sun light can be absorbed by the walls during the day to keep the house warm at night. Tire Walls Thermal mass is accomplished by using tires for the weight bearing wall. The recycled tires are put in place and then packed with dirt until they are approximately 300 pound brick and laid like cinder blocks—a feat that accomplishes several goals. My motherin-law's house saved more than 3000 tires from going to the dump. The company that donated them was glad to deliver them as there is a significant cost for dumping that many tires. Using tires instead of other materials that don’t last as long will allow this house to stand long after most houses built today are gone. Finally, by using thermal mass and other such options (berms, convection venting), the house can regulate its own temperature. For example, this was one of the coldest winters ever in Florida, and we only used the heat twice. Aluminum Can Walls This is pretty simple, but really fun. Aluminum cans, uncrushed and on their sides, are used to create a honeycomb pattern for all non-weight bearing walls. The fun part

is is

that you are not restricted to lumber lengths or right angles. The honeycomb is one of the strongest designs that exist. The air in the cans also acts as insulation. The tire walls and can walls are then covered, typically with stucco. Building a Legacy Most people today do not think about building homes that will last through the ages—but earthships will do just that. They are built according to the premise that what we build today will affect the next generation. Earthships last longer, use less energy, and can be designed to be completely self-contained. That sounds like legacy material to me. As with a lot of people interested in alternative housing options, Dana and his wife are passionate in a wide range of alternatives that life offers such as health food, home birth, and home schooling. Most recently Dana designed a website to blog about just such subjects. To start they have been blogging about a 30 day raw food journey, which includes recipes, reviews, and a green smoothie guide. (www.wholelifeadventure.com)


FLORIDAECONET.NET THE VILLAGE GREEN IS A PROJECT OF THE FLORIDA ECONET

Contact

Little Green Apples MUKIMAME SALAD WITH CHICKEN

Editor: Shannon McLeish McEditing.com smcleish@mcediting.com 386-672-5028 Publisher: Ciana Maglio Green Halloween® Coordinator 386-676-0011 Florida EcoNet Coordinator: Nicole Miller nicmillerole@gmail.com (561) 843-3948

by Sara Hope Parsons Grilled chicken, approx. 4 oz per person Peaches, approx. 1/2 peach per person 1 cup Mukimame, steamed Spring greens, approx. 1 cup per person ½ cup craisins ½ cup cashews In a large bowl, add spring greens, craisins, Mukimame, and cashews. Toss together. Add warm chicken and peaches. Fold gently. Top with poppyseed dressing. Serve immediately or chill for one hour to serve salad cold. Share a Little Green Apples recipe by sending your 100 to 150 word submission to floridaeconet@gmail.com

continued from page 4 Debra Parsons is the director of WHOLE (Wise Holistic Observations of our Living Environment), empowering families on the journey of edification. The class focuses on positive Interaction and conscientious stewardship. For more information, call (386) 675-8907.

“Love Letters” COVER ART by Michelle Davidson

Residing in Daytona Beach, Michelle has been active in the region's art societies, museum programs, and fine art shows. As a mixed media artist, she works with various mediums such as collage, acrylics, oil pastels, watercolor, ink, and beeswax. Michelle uses experimental techniques and avant garde styles, often. Her latest work is ink on aluminum. She has included several glass pieces into her new work to add a three dimensional effect. In addition to Michelle’s artwork, she makes contemporary fused glass and found object jewelry. Each piece she creates is a wearable work of art. Michelle likes

to create found object jewelry because every piece she makes has a story to tell. Through the found objects, and the vintage copyright free images, each character she creates has a whimsical life that's waiting to be discovered by someone. Michelle’s new line of jewelry is made with found objects. She finds vintage pins, earrings and assorted pieces at markets and antique stores and combines them with eclectic bottle caps, computer parts, watch parts, and other unique items. The pieces are combined using cold connections with rivets, brads, and wire, then they are sealed with resin and varnish. Her work can be found at art shows around the state, Muse’s Corner in Jacksonville, Pasta Art Gallery in St. Augustine, Emmon’s Cottage in Ormond Beach, and always on her website http://michelle-davidson.fineartamerica.com/


Village Green May-June 2010 edition