Making it Easier to be Green
Green design includes energy conservation, but that's not what it's all about. It's about having good air quality both indoors and outdoors, making the environments in which we work, live, study and play healthier and more comfortable and conserving all of our natural resources.
This site will provide a balanced, holistic view that includes advice about saving energy, water and other natural resources, improving indoor air quality, using environmentally responsible design and construction techniques and minimizing waste.

I will be focusing on interiors for three reasons:

  • We spend about 90% of our time indoors.
  • Buildings in the United States annually consume about 30% of our total energy and 75% of our electricity.
  • As a New York State Certified Interior Designer and a LEED Accredited Professional, I want to share my knowledge and expertise with you.
Sustainable design and construction can be done in many different styles and using a wide variety of materials. There are examples of healthy, sustainable, comfortable and inviting interiors for commercial, not-for-profit and residential clients on the web site for Interior Design Solutions.
You can use the labels on the sidebar to locate entries that you want to read. For instance, most people might want to look at the entries for "Green Homes," but "Green Finance" would be of more interest to professionals involved in the design, construction, management, financing and marketing of buildings.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Green Jobs / Green New York Act

The State of New York is taking a significant step toward eliminating one of the roadblocks to energy efficiency retrofits. NYSERDA will establish a revolving loan program to provide up to $13,000 per residential customer to retrofit a home, and up to $26,000 to retrofit each qualifying business, and also conduct energy audits, program administration and a credit enhancement for critical private sector capital investments. The program will front the cost of the work, enabling property owners to afford energy efficient retrofits.

Although property owners will repay the full cost over time, their total energy usage will be reduced by 30-40%, and the loan payment on their energy bill will be less than what they saved, yielding a net saves to the property owner. The program will serve owners who surpass the income ceiling for the Weatherization Assistance Program but cannot afford retrofits on their own.
In partnership with the Department of Labor, NYSERDA will also create workforce training programs throughout the state to ensure that the state’s workforce is highly trained and in place to handle mass-scale retrofitting.

Local contractors, certified to perform the retrofits will be able to expand their crews, creating new and permanent jobs in green construction and additional jobs in local businesses and manufacturing that serve those new workers.
The program will be funded with revenue raised by the auction of carbon emission credits through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. This funding will be used to leverage private and federal investments. The bill allocates $112 million from these auctions to NYSERDA. Auctions of carbon emission credits over the last two years raised $126 million, with an estimated $75 million more expected in the next two auctions this year alone.

For additional information visit the following link for the New York State Senate:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Green vs. Greenwashing

A colleague of mine asked how I would define green. My knee-jerk impulse was to cite the usual “meet the needs of the present without jeopardizing those of the future,” but then I realized that she has probably heard that a thousand times. My second reaction would normally be to define green as it pertains to my own field of endeavor, design and construction, but such a definition would be too limiting. After a bit of thought, this is how I define green:

Green products and services are those for which the aggregate positive environmental effects far outweigh the negative ones and any environmental claims are specific, well-defined, relevant and substantiated by a reliable third-party certificate or easily accessible supporting information.

While working on my definition of what is green, I reviewed TerraChoice’s excellent, easily understandable definition of what is not green as presented in “The Seven Deadly Sins of Greenwashing.” For any of you not familiar with it, here’s a link: