GiveSolar and the Green Energy Movement

GiveSolar and the Green Energy Movement

Our first Net-Zero design came back in 2005. At the time Solar PV was expensive and rare for most of our projects. We focused on building energy-efficient to reduce energy usage, but Solar PV almost never got added. Then the price of solar thermal dropped and we starting seeing more interest in that technology. Today, things have switched drastically in the favor of Solar PV as panels are very affordable. As energy costs continue to rise renewable, “Green energy”, is rising in popularity. The switch to renewable energy seems like a no-brainer, there are several benefits to taking the plunge into a more environmentally conscious lifestyle, more specifically – solar power

Net zero house

GiveSolar is a non-profit that not only understands the benefits of solar power but is working towards installing panels for 20 Central Valley Habitat for Humanity households with twelve solar panels through their Solar Seed Fund. This project will not only make solar power more accessible but also promote green energy and the economic benefits of going solar. GiveSolar has been an active member of their communities since 2016, beginning with a solar barn-raising, since then they have been striving to eliminate poverty through green energy.

Solar power pulls energy from the sun that would otherwise show up on your utility bill, this form of energy reduces electricity bills, cuts down on carbon emissions, and can even increase property value! These panels save homeowners roughly $14,000.00 in a span of thirty years, panels not only work for you but work towards keeping our environment healthier. You might be asking yourself why doesn’t everyone switch to solar? There are common misconceptions that sway homeowners from going green, one of those being unpredictable weather, when in fact cloud coverage doesn’t significantly affect the power the panels absorb. Solar panels also don’t require warm weather in order to work, what’s stopping you from going green?

A world of No Design

Have you ever found just the perfect shirt? One the fits just right and makes you look and feel good? I recently found a nice short-sleeve button-down shirt that is a heavy enough fabric, cut right for my robust shape, and came in my favorite color – black. It is rare to find just the right article of clothing since they are designed for the “average” person, meaning they don’t fit right for a large majority. Most of us have never had clothes designed specifically for our desires, body type, and preferences. Most of us have not experienced design rather live in a world of “no design.”

no design space

In the construction industry, this is also very true. Design can change how you live, work, and play for the better. Yet, design is almost always cut out of the budget. You hear the phrase code minimum as a standard to achieve when it is actually the minimum quality allowed by law. The result is seen in projects that in no way are customized to meet your goals for living, working, or playing. Most of our buildings and outdoor spaces are not designed to enhance our lifestyle or business or family life, they instead rely on “no design.” In the United States, we largely have not experienced quality design. Our homes in many cases are built to the lowest possible quality and are generic, not designed for a specific lifestyle. Many of our commercial projects are also generic, maximum leasable space the site will allow without thought to what could be if time was spent on design thinking.

future design

How can we change the future if we don’t stop and design the future we want. We need to have skilled and trained designers creating our spaces where we live, work, and play. We need to raise the quality of our built environment to make intentional decisions about what is important for our collective future. Design matters and together we can build a better future through design. If we continue to move towards generic solutions for our built environment we will miss the opportunity to live the fullest life possible.

Architecture is frozen music

Architecture is frozen music

Our world is a better place because of music, art, and architecture. “Music is liquid architecture; architecture is frozen music” according to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. We work hard to deliver quality architecture and at supporting the music and art community. From our First Friday art openings to sponsoring the Shenandoah Valley Children’s Choir, we look for ways to promote art and music in our local community. So when we were approached about doing a renovation design for the stage at Natural Chimneys Park and Campground, we jumped at the opportunity.

Natural Chimney park and campground, located in Augusta County, is a beautiful place on its own, but it is also home to some of the best music we have ever experienced. Each year, the Red Wing Roots Music Festival takes over the campground for a weekend in July. This annual family-friendly event brings together amazing music and people. The existing stage on the campground was adequate, not designed for musical performances, and in need of a facelift. We came up with a bold scheme after meeting with the festival organizers and hearing their goals. We learned more about lighting, photography, and sound for a band performance in order to create the right type of space. Our goal was to make a performance venue that fit the surroundings, could be built for the desired budget and framed the performances. We wanted it to belong to the place, telling a story, inviting others into the space to create memories.

The result of our design work is this heavy timber structure built in collaboration with Herr and Company, Venture Builders, and Blue Ridge Timberwrights. This space, which was intentionally designed, has become one of our happy spaces in the valley.

“Music is liquid architecture; architecture is frozen music” according to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.