When I moved to Harrisonburg in 2009 I was worried that the green movement I was so involved in while in Charlottesville was not going to be vibrant here in the Valley. The only architectural firm that had LEED APs on staff was the one that only does large-scale projects, mostly in other cities. There was no USGBC chapter in town (still does not exist, wonder if there is interest??). Then my realtor scheduled a home inspection for me on the house I was going to purchase. When she told me who she scheduled, she said “I think you are going to like this guy“. Turns out, he, Benjamin Meredith, is the EarthCraft Rater in the area and one of the leading building scientist in the Valley. We talked about the need for better understanding of building science in the construction industry and in the general public. He told me that the local Home Builders association had just started a green building committee. I was relieved that I had found ‘my people’ in the Valley. Turns out the green movement is very strong here in the valley and there are many people working on the issues we face. Some of the voices that are opposed to energy efficiency and healthy indoor environments are louder voices, but they will not win out. Once the general public finds out they can spend less monthly on electric bills, live in healthier homes, and reduce their water bills, there will no longer be opposition. These issues are not political, these issues don’t reduce your rights, these issues don’t require sacrifice. It is time to look to common sense solutions that will benefit not only you, but also your next generation.
While in Charlottesville, I did a lot of work spreading the message that green = doing your job the best way possible. I helped start the JRGBC-CV branch, organized many education sessions for construction professionals, and scheduled many social events to bring like-minded people together. These networks are building in Harrisonburg now. The SVBA Green Building Committee holds education sessions for building industry professionals and social events for the general public. These social events, Green Drinks, are a great place to find experts, discuss issues, form committees to work on local issues. The conversation is happening and you can join in. Nobody has all the answers and to be truly sustainable, we need everybody involved. One good place to jump into the conversation is at Green Drinks – Harrisonburg.
Green Drinks is a very simple and unstructured event. These events are a force for the good of the community and is a way that we can find the best solutions.