I have finally made it out to the beautiful West coast of Michigan. Here, the people are friendly and innovative and I am very much enjoying the creative culture - especially at work.
I have not had a lot of time in the past few months because of the moving and all of the traveling I have been doing, but expect more updates soon.
In the meantime, check out Charter House - it is a wonderful company and I am excited to be starting here as an interior designer on their design team.
Last month, Michigan Energy Options was invited to speak on Moms Everyday with Kat Cooper about home energy efficiency and home energy assessments. We were able to share some tips on what homeowners can do to make their homes more efficient and discuss when a homeowner should seek a home energy audit.
Check it out here.
Michigan Energy Options has finally completed the performance period and documentation for LEED Existing Buildings, Operations & Maintenance. This 16 month process has taught our staff a lot about building performance and tenant impact on the environment.
It was especially a learning experience for myself, as this was my first LEED project that I've lead. A lot of the challenges came with staff turnover and being consistent with documenting for the performance period.
If you are not familiar with the EBOM process, you can find out more infomation here: http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=221
We are very excited to finally sign off on the documentation of our diligent work to follow LEED policy to create a truly sustainable environment. We will keep our fingers crossed, but hopefully we will know whether our Demonstration Center in East Lansing will be certified in the next several months.
Keep an eye on our website for updates about our progress and more information about our facility. Look for a case study on MEO's Demonstration Center soon.
There have been some very exciting developments recently at Michigan Energy Options.
We finally finished our grant with the Lansing School District for the 2010-2011 school year, teaching 2025 kids from 86 classrooms about composting and recycling. We are happy to report we will be repeating the same grant for the 2011-2012 school year.
Additionally, we are ramping up for the end of our performance period for LEED Existing Buildings Operations & Maintenance Certification. I can’t believe that it has almost been a whole year. We have the entire staff working diligently on tracking all of the 46 credits we are attempting (which will hopefully result in Platinum certification!). It is a considerable amount to organize, but an exciting challenge.
For the Heart of Michigan Branch, there will be a lunch and learn soon for construction management professionals focused on green building. I’ll keep you posted on that as more information becomes available. The lunch will most likely be in the Lansing area. You can also check back at http://www.usgbcwm.org/.
Hope everyone is having a great summer!
In the past few months I've started working with the United States Green Building Council West Michigan Chapter Heart of Michigan Branch in Lansing (or USGBC WMC HOMB...phew). After we started working on some of our marketing material we decided it would be a good idea to get going with the social media portion of it, which until this point has gone largely unused. I will also be in charge of the West Michigan Chapter social media outlets.
I'm mentioning this here because 1) You should join and follow us, and 2) I'd like to hear anything and everything you have to say about green building in Michigan. I have been involved in community development and revitalization in the Lansing area for over two years now, and I strongly believe that our ticket out of this economic mess is bright green. There is so much going on in Lansing and Michigan that no one has any idea about - and that's where I'd like to put my foot down and make some change.
So here's the HOMB facebook and Twitter. Join us, and lets start spreading the word.
The last LEED Interest Circle meeting was a great gathering. We talked about some of the more unique case studies from 2010, and heard from Ryan Kincaid from Kincaid Henry Builder Group who discussed the joining of LEED EB interests and our existing LEED NC group in the new year.
The consensus is that LEED EB provides an accessible form of sustainability that can apply to most projects and will be the future for operating standards in Lansing. Seeing as 90% of the structures that will be standing in 2050 are already built now, the key to true sustainability is altering our current procedures and policies to be more environmentally responsible. The effect is outstanding - businesses who have undertaken LEED Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance have saved tremendous amounts of money and noticed a statistical difference in employee productivity and satisfaction. The facts are there - now we wait for the rest of the construction world to catch up. For instance, St. James Square in Boston is projected to save over $63,000 a year with a LEED EB Gold certification. To see the case study, click here.
I'm looking forward to a new year full of educating business owners and tenants on the importance of forming more sustainable habits. Economically speaking, it might be the key to saving Lansing.
In other news, I am now in charge of the social media with regards to the West Michigan USGBC chapter (to which the Heart Of Michigan Branch in Lansing belongs). Follow us now on Twitter.
See you next year...have a safe and happy holiday.
The next LEED NC Interest Circle meeting will be at the Christman Building On December 15th, from 3-4:30pm. Besides myself there are two other speakers also from the USGBC Heart Of Michigan Branch who will be presenting various LEED projects from 2010 as we celebrate the great accomplishments of the greenbuilding industry this past year (did you hear that USGBC has hit 1 BILLION square feet of commercial space certified by LEED? Pretty amazing).
Everyone is welcome to attend, and we encourage you to come join in the conversation.
Also, if you're a LEED AP and need to work on your continuing education credits, CEPalooza is going on December 10 in Grand Rapids through the USGBC West Michigan Chapter. Check it out.
The topic of the week being food and drink (of course) brings to mind some of the great gatherings that are (forgive the pun) brewing in the mid-Michigan/west-Michigan area on Thursdays. Green Drinks is a casual networking group that encourages a combination of two of my favorite things: talking about sustainable development and drinking fine brews.
There's one for nearly every big city in Michigan, and even some of the smaller ones. Since I'm currently in East Lansing, I've attended Green Drinks Lansing, but I also took a trip out to Founders last week for Green Drinks Grand Rapids. I have a great time at these gatherings. I've found that people who are interested in sustainable development are really open minded and outgoing, so it's really easy to fall into good conversation there.
The next Green Drinks Lansing is December 9, 2010 at The Tin Can, from 5-7pm. Hopefully we'll see you there! If you're interested in coming but can't make it this time, make sure to sign up for the mailing list.
In the meantime, have a safe and happy thanksgiving.
Thanks to everyone who came out to Michigan Energy Options last night for an evening of discussion on Green Remodeling! With about 40 individuals of varying backgrounds and degrees of knowledge on sustainable development, I think it's safe to say that everyone learned something from the session.
Also, thanks to Becky Jo Farrington and Dave Muely for presenting with me and making it a fun event! The energy specialists from Home Depot also had a lot of valuable information on small ideas to make a big difference on energy costs in your home. Check out their eco-options website, which shows you what products they recommend to save you money.
If you missed it, or want to know more, or want to know more, feel free to email me. I'd be more than happy to send you the presentation I did along with the helpful resources.
I've recently had the pleasure to work with the wonderful staff at Michigan Energy Options to help them attempt LEED Existing Buildings, Maintenance and Operations (EBOM) and generate ideas to optimize their Demonstration Center interiors.
On Wednesday, I was invited to be a speaker at their Green Remodeling Workshop, which is being held at their Demonstration Center in East Lansing. I'm looking forward to teaching (and learning!) a bit about Green Design and meeting other professionals in the sustainable development business.
For more information on location and time, check out their website: http://www.michiganenergyoptions.org/newsevents/news/372-green-remodeling-workshop
I hope to see you there!
Jennifer Allen, LEED AP ID+C