No, I do not refer to cap-and-trade systems for controlling industrial emissions. I speak of an ad I spotted last week for the eco-fabulous Richmond grocer Ellwood Thompson’s, which is offering customers 25 cents off their bills if they walk, bike or take the bus to the store. It’s called the EnviroCredit, and the company’s website hints at more such initiatives to come.
Know what? If you paint the concrete floor of a bus maintenance garage white, it will encourage workers to keep it clean. And you know what else? If you line the hallways of a school with vertical wood planks interspersed with full-length mirrors, it will make students feel like theyâ€™re walking in the woods.
Now hereâ€™s a truly cool project. A bunch of UVA students (in architecture and engineering) spent last Friday assembling, at the Cobham home of architecture prof John Quale, structures theyâ€™d designed to shelter two sleeping people. The rules were that the structures had to be made from recycled, reclaimed or natural materials; that materials had to be recycled after the project; and that each structure could take no more than two hours to assemble and cost no more than $10.
So far, we havenâ€™t seen any large-scale shift in American energy habits (the closest Iâ€™ve noticed are the stats about many drivers cutting down on their gas usage). But little changes are making news, like these two recent items about renewable energy coming to our area.
Back in the April issue of Abode, I wrote about a house Upstream Construction was building in Crozet for Brian and Joan Day. As I pointed out then, itâ€™s notable not only because itâ€™s a custom house with many green features, but because the Days are both environmental professionals who decided to open their house to the public during and after construction, so people could take a look and learn a thing or two. Well, Upstream recently wrapped up construction and the Days held a final open house event to show off their LEED-worthy dwelling.
Boy, am I excited to be introducing our brand-new blog, Green Scene. I see this as a chance to talk with all of you on a regular basis about things that interest me anyway: everything from figuring out how to set up a rain collection system at my house, to local debates between developers and preservationists.