Gaines Group Architects
Renew Rocktown

Community means helping each other without expectation of anything in return

I have heard that true service is when you help someone who can never help you in return. It is a call to action to reach out a helping hand to others. It is the Rotary calling card – service above self. It drives us to support one another without worry of labels, politics, or greed. This has become a main focus for my design work through my career. I want to build a better and stronger community through design. This means designing houses for clients that are energy-efficient. This means reducing overall demand on our power grid and our impacts on climate change through fossil fuel consumption reduction. This means capturing rain water to reduce erosion and flooding downstream. This means designing apartment communities in ways that bring neighbors together to meet each other. Design can solve a lot of problems, and it can also build good. To me, this is why I design. As Sam Mockbee said “everyone, rich or poor, deserves a shelter for the soul.” This comes in all forms of service and community work. It comes as drawings of a new project. It also comes in the form of sharing advice on how to improve your building to reduce your utility costs. It comes from teaching young people the value of design. It comes through service to my community. To me community means helping each other without expectation of anything in return.

A story of impact from design

Renew Rocktown arranged for Our Community Place to get a free energy audit through the Sustainable Building Coalition in Harrisonburg. Energy Audits is a service our firm is able to provide in partnership with equipment provided to us by HEC. We offer residential audits in Harrisonburg through HEC and outside of Harrisonburg through our firm. We can also help non-profits and small businesses by providing free energy audits.
Renew Rocktown Renew Rocktown
 
The energy audit provided a list of strategies to help this community organization reduce their energy consumption.
 
OCP then partnered with volunteers to install LED bulbs in their building, the fastest return on investment we identified. Then Renew Rocktown, through the efforts of Jeff Heie helped them get a grant to solarize their roof. This could provide 70% of their energy needs through a clean energy source. For a non-profit, reducing utilities bills allows them to better serve their community. This work that started with an energy audit, then volunteers working on lights, then solar pv on the roof will have a ripple effect in our community for years to come. This is my community! 
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Dairy Queen

Project Update: Dairy Queen

It seems like just last week that we wrote about the ground breaking on our sweetest project. (click her for previous update). Now the new Dairy Queen on 42 North in Harrisonburg has a foundation, slab, and walls.Dairy Queen

We have been busy processing questions from the general contractor, attending site meetings, and coordinating between various parties involved in the project.

Dairy Queen Dairy Queen

This Dairy Queen is moving out of the shopping center where it has been serving ice cream treats for many years to provide easier drive thru access and breakfast. The new store will have more seating available both inside and outside. We are really looking forward the grand opening in December 2015. This is similar to the final product.

Dairy Queen

Dairy Queen prototype