2010 Green Building Seminar Series

(view more articles in SOS Tompkins Weekly)

Tompkins Weekly by Apollonya Porcelli

ITHACA, NY – February 22, 2010 – What makes the built environment sustainable and also comfortable and beautiful? How can we make our homes as functional as possible while using the most “green” materials available and still stay within budget? These are issues that plague anyone interested in green building. But, while they may make the process challenging, they should never force anyone to drop the initial dream.

By balancing the feasible with the ideal, green building confronts the status quo of traditional construction without forsaking practicality, comfort, and beauty. As the need for an environmentally conscious future is becoming increasingly significant, so is the role of green building as both a means of development and a framework for sustainable living. In its sixth year, the Green Building Seminar Series will explore some of the latest concepts in green building and give you the tools to wade through some of the most significant challenges to making your next project a fully sustainable and green one.

The Seminar Series will kick-off on March 2nd with an investigation into “Evaluating Green Products and Materials”. As “green” becomes mainstream, it’s becoming harder to assess how products and materials stack up. This presentation will include an overview of resources used by the pros to evaluate materials, life cycle assessment techniques, commercial programming tools for making design decisions, and other decision-making strategies. Whether you’re a homeowner, builder, or contractor this presentation will help you in choosing the materials that best fit your needs while meeting the “green” criteria most important to you.

On March 9th, “Designing for Change” will cover aging in place and functional design that can adapt to changing lifestyles and stages, as well as planning for additions—and how to make the most of your space without adding on.

Staff from Finger Lakes ReUse will cover strategies and local resources for reducing, reusing and recycling construction materials and confront the issues of on-site waste management in “Reducing Construction Waste” on March 16th. They will also discuss the basics of deconstruction and options in the community for salvaging usable building materials.

The line of attack for reducing energy consumption includes lifestyle, materials and design choices. While weatherization and conserving energy are critical, there are some approaches that take a radical look at reducing consumption. On March 23rd, a panel of local experts will present “Designing for Maximum Energy Efficiency”, a discussion of alternative designs including Passiv Haus, Net Zero Energy Building Design, and Climate Responsive Energy.

The Seminar Series continues on March 30th with a presentation by Ian Shapiro, President of Taitem Engineering, who will discuss a new approach he developed for looking at how we think about our built environment. “Designing from the Outside In” will delve into the importance of looking at the surrounding natural environment and its relationship to the inside environment.

The final seminar will be held on April 6th and cover “Green Building Theory and Reality”. Based on a collection of data-driven and anecdotal experiences, this presentation will look at how we’ve been doing with green building in the Tompkins County area—are our materials and methods achieving everything we expected of them?

It is through the continued regional support from citizens throughout Tompkins County and the surrounding area that the Seminar Series has been able to be so successful over the years. The goal of the series has always been to highlight topics that are pertinent to the public agenda while emphasizing new exciting concepts and processes. So, come with an open mind and eager participation!

The seminars run Tuesday evenings from 7 to 9, and will be held in the First Unitarian Church of Ithaca Annex (208 East Buffalo St., near the corner of Aurora St.). The series is presented by Tompkins County Cooperative Extension in partnership with the Ithaca Green Building Alliance, with support from the First Unitarian Church of Ithaca. Fee: $5/seminar or $25/series, scholarships available. Dates and topics are subject to change. For the latest information, contact Guillermo Metz at gm52@cornell.edu or 272-2292, x.185, or visit www.ccetompkins.org.

Apollonya Porcelli is a Cornell University senior who has worked with Cooperative Extension and IGBA on a variety of green building initiatives over the past couple of years, including helping to coordinate the Green Building Seminar Series and the Green Building Open House.

If you liked this article, you may want to check out our complete archives of SOS Tompkins Weekly articles

Tags: ,