VA Dept. of Education’s New 17th Career Cluster: Energy (Podcast)

The Virginia Department of Education is introducing a 17th Career Cluster in July: Energy!

The energy industry is a vital part of Virginia’s economy and the new 17th cluster introduces students to the industry, provides information on job opportunities needed to meet growing workforce demands and develops a talent pipeline for the energy industry. The goal is to allow students to become interested in and aware of career opportunities in the industry and provide core skills which easily translate to industries such as architecture, construction, and manufacturing, increasing a student’s options for post-secondary education and career pathways. To learn more about Virginia’s 17th Career Cluster, click here.

The Henrico Career & Technical Education Center is releasing a series of podcast episodes related to the new 17th Career Cluster. For the first one, Viridiant’s Executive Director, KC Bleile, along with Henrico County’s Energy Manager, Carrie Webster, and Community Housing Partners’ Director of Utility Programs, Chase Counts,  were invited to contribute to the conversation around energy efficiency careers. The episode discusses how each organization is contributing to the efficiency and sustainability of energy resources in the state of Virginia and what students can look for in an energy related career.

Listen below and hear how the energy career field is growing and vital in working towards true sustainability. Huge thanks to Henrico CTE for including Viridiant’s work in this important discussion and producing this great resource for students, parents, and anyone interested in the exciting career field of energy!

EarthCraft Home Featured in Williamsburg Yorktown Daily

WYDaily.com recently featured an EarthCraft home built in 2010 by Joe Terrell, which is still proving to be comfortable, durable, and energy efficient. The homeowners, Mary Rogers and Ron Shafer, wanted an environmentally-friendly, cost-efficient house. They are “constantly in awe of the quietness of their home — no loud air handler noises or creaky windows or doors when there’s heavy wind or rain. It’s as tight as a clam”. They also enjoyed the experience working with Viridiant and the EarthCraft House certification program. Rogers said, “it was an interesting process. Inspectors came out in all stages of the building process to make sure it was meeting the green building standards. Everything from the insulation to the ENERGY STAR appliances and flooring”.

Read the full article to learn more about the sustainable features of this home and gain insight into the experiences of an EarthCraft builder and homeowners.

If You Can’t Reuse It, Refuse It

June 5th is World Environment Day. This is the United Nation’s main way to raise worldwide awareness and encourage action for the protection of our environment. It’s a day to celebrate the natural environment and focus on issues that affect the global community and our posterity. Now more than ever it is important to recognize the environmental issues we must mitigate and take action.

This year’s theme is Beat Plastic Pollution. It is a call to action for all of us to come together to combat one of the great environmental challenges of our time. By 2050 there could be more plastic in the oceans than fish! 50% of our plastic waste is made up of single-use items. The theme invites us all to consider how we can make changes in our everyday lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on our natural places, our wildlife – and our own health. To change the future, we each need to play our part. Here are a few ways to participate in the celebration:

  • Carry out a plastic audit. How much disposable plastic do you use? Think about the single-use plastic that you use regularly, make a list and estimate how much plastic waste you create. Once you know your plastic footprint, set a goal to reduce it over time. It will be easier and have a greater impact if you challenge friends, family, or coworkers to work with you to reduce plastic use. Setting goals together will help you hold each other accountable.
  • Easy ways to reduce your single-use plastic waste include bringing your own shopping bags to supermarkets and other stores, refusing plastic straws and cutlery, picking up any plastic waste you see (especially at the beach), and encouraging your favorite restaurants and businesses to switch to non-plastic packaging.
  • Participate in or organize a clean up. UN Environment has teamed up with Litterati, a data science company that has created a powerful tool to help people to clean up the planet. As you pick up trash and recycling, use the Litterati app to record plastic items and brands you find. They will use the crowdsourced data to develop a ranking of most commonly found plastic products and brands.
  • Support environmental organizations. Consider making a donation to Viridiant or another nonprofit that is committed to advancing sustainability.
  • Join the global #BeatPlasticPollution game of tag. Invite friends and colleagues to take a selfie with their canvas shopping bag, metal straw or any other reusable product and tag five friends, telling them to do the same. The person tagged should post a photo with their reusable item within 24 hours.

Remember that every day matters. June 5th is World Environment Day, but the movement doesn’t stop there. Take steps everyday to lower your resource waste, stay involved in the conversation, and keep beating plastic pollution!


For more resources and information on World Environment Day or Beat Plastic Pollution visit worldenvironmentday.global/en

Media credits: World Environment Day & UN environment

RVA Environmental Film Festival

February 5 – 18, 2018 (times & locations varies, see below for full schedule)

The Enrichmond Foundation, the Sierra Club – Falls of the James Group, the Capital Region Land Conservancy, and Viridiant will partner to present the Eighth Annual RVA Environmental Film Festival, which brings community awareness of environmental issues through the medium of film. The festival takes place at locations across Richmond. The week long event showcases local and national films that raise awareness of environmental issues relevant to the Richmond region, our nation, and our planet.

Viridiant’s staff recommends that you don’t miss “Happening: A Green Energy Revolution” on Sunday, February 18th at the Byrd Theatre. The film highlights innovators and entrepreneurs in communities across the country. It follows Jamie Redford on a journey to discover the current state of clean energy and see what lies on the horizon. The film reveals pioneering renewable-energy solutions that are making the potential future brighter than ever before, while underscoring notions of human resilience and social justice. This film is a great opportunity to learn more about the green energy movement to which EarthCraft builders, developers, and residents are supporting! Explore the full schedule of 2018 films below. Don’t forget to mark your calendars!

 

[trx_accordion style=”1″ counter=”off” initial=”1″ icon_closed=”icon-angle-double-down” icon_opened=”icon-video-1″] [trx_accordion_item title=”Monday, Feb. 5, 6:30-8:00 PM at the Science Museum of Virginia”]Films: “A Ghosting in the Making” & “America Wild: The National Parks Adventure”[/trx_accordion_item] [trx_accordion_item title=”Tuesday, Feb. 6, 3:30-5:30 PM at VCU Student Commons Theatre”]Film: “Jane”, plus short film[/trx_accordion_item] [trx_accordion_item title=”Tuesday, Feb. 6, 6:30-8:30 PM at the Richmond Main Library on E Franklin Street”]Films: “For the Birds” & “Inhabit (The Art of Permaculture)”[/trx_accordion_item] [trx_accordion_item title=”Wednesday, Feb. 7, 6:30-8:30 PM at N Courthouse Rd. Library, Chesterfield Co”]Films: “A Blooming Business” & “Local Flowers, Local Farmers, A Growing American Movement”[/trx_accordion_item] [trx_accordion_item title=”Thursday, Feb. 8, 5:00-8:00 PM at University of Richmond Ukrop Auditorium”]Film: “Here’s to Flint”[/trx_accordion_item] [trx_accordion_item title=”Friday, Feb. 9, 6:00-9:00 PM at WCVE Studio, N. Chesterfield”]Films: “RARE” & “Person of the Forest”[/trx_accordion_item] [trx_accordion_item title=”Saturday, Feb. 10, 10:00 AM – 6:30 PM at the Byrd Theatre”]Films: “The Lorax”, “Meet the Real Wolf”, “My Haggen Dream”, “The Penguin Counters”, “The Age of Consequences”, “Chasing Coral”, “Awake: A Dream from Standing Rock”, “Adaptation”, & “Tidewater”[/trx_accordion_item] [trx_accordion_item title=”Sunday, Feb. 11, 1:30-6:30 PM at the Byrd Theatre”]Films: “In Pursuit of Silence”, “Jane”, & RVA EFF Film Contest Awards[/trx_accordion_item] [trx_accordion_item title=”Monday, Feb. 12, 6:30-9:30 PM at the VCU Grace Street Theatre”]Films: Submitted Films[/trx_accordion_item] [trx_accordion_item title=”Thursday, Feb. 15, 6:30-9:30 PM at the VCU Grace Street Theatre”]Films: “The Nuclear Waste Problem” & “The New Fire”[/trx_accordion_item] [trx_accordion_item title=”Sunday, Feb. 18, 1:30-4:00 PM at the Byrd Theatre”]Film: “Happening: A Green Energy Revolution” & an Electric Vehicle display from 12:30 to 1:30 PM[/trx_accordion_item] [/trx_accordion]

 

 


For more festival details, film trailers, and information on panel discussions and speakers, visit rvaeff.org.

Photo credits: RVA Environmental Film Festival and all associated films

Apply Now for the 2017 Virginia Energy Efficiency Leadership Awards

The Virginia Energy Efficiency Council is holding their second annual Virginia Energy Efficiency Leadership Awards ceremony on November 2nd in conjunction with their Fall Meeting in Richmond at the University of Richmond Jepson Alumni Center. The awards are a chance to showcase how energy efficiency champions across the Commonwealth are helping businesses, governments, homeowners, and schools save money on energy bills while reducing energy consumption – all while stimulating job growth and our economy.

The application period closes Friday, September 22nd. A sample application, score card, FAQs, and the application link can be found at vaeec.org/events/awards/

We hope you take the time to nominate your energy-efficient project or program. Contact info@vaeec.org with any questions related to the application process or awards ceremony. Best of luck!

Viridiant’s Latest Feature in the Housing Interpreter

Explore the September issue of ‘s The Housing Interpreter to learn more about Chesterfield’s rehab tax abatement, Richmond’s transit future, and our very own feature Diving Deeper into Green which takes a closer look at a recently certified EarthCraft home in the Richmond area.

Viridiant Recognized in Top 15 Sustainable Companies in Virginia

Viridiant was recently recognized in L’Autre Couleur’s Top Sustainable Companies series. This campaign is raising awareness for sustainability efforts and development by recognizing the top 15 sustainable organizations in all 50 states plus each Canadian province. Viridiant was included in Virginia’s top 15 due to our work in the sustainable building industry. You can find out more about Viridiant’s lasting environmental, economic, and structurally sustainable impacts by downloading our 2016 annual report.

Visit L’Autre Couleur to check out the complete list of Virginia companies as well as some of our neighbors including Washington, D.C. and Maryland.

Top 15 Sustainable Companies in Virginia

[trx_accordion style=”2″ counter=”off” initial=”1″] [trx_accordion_item title=”Viridiant”]Viridiant is a non-profit organization committed to supporting sustainable building processes through education, consultation, and certification. Through certification programs, including EarthCraft and Viridiant Net-Zero™, Viridiant helps to set a path for sustainable, affordable, energy-efficient construction. Viridiant’s technical experts work as a trusted third party to keep construction on track toward improved efficiency and durability, while making sure your home or development is completed with minimal waste and environmental impact. With the development of new innovative services such as energy monitoring and assessment tools, unbiased consultation on emerging energy topics, and more, Viridiant continues to educate and promote energy efficiency.[/trx_accordion_item] [trx_accordion_item title=”Rivanna Natural Designs”]Rivanna Natural Designs creates awards, plaques, and gifts. They respect natural systems and accept responsibility for the effects of their actions on the environment. They strive to continually improve their understanding of environmental issues and minimize their footprint through responsible forestry, eco-friendly materials, and sustainable business practices. Rivanna produces Viridiant’s EarthCraft plaques. To learn more about Rivanna or purchase an EarthCraft plaque for your certified project, visit www.rivannadesigns.com[/trx_accordion_item] [trx_accordion_item title=”Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture”]Arcadia is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a more equitable and sustainable local food system in the Washington, DC area. Based on the historic grounds of Woodlawn Estate in Alexandria, Virginia, thanks to a landmark partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Arcadia manages four distinct program areas that address a specific need in the community, while collectively engaging consumers, farmers, schools, and institutions. Visit www.arcadiafood.org for more information.[/trx_accordion_item] [trx_accordion_item title=”Conservation Fund”]The Conservation Fund creates solutions that make national environmental and economic sense. It redefines conservation to prove its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, they have worked in all 50 states to protect more than 7.8 million acres of land since 1985. In Virginia alone, the Conservation Fund protects 65,326 acres of land. Visit www.conservationfund.org to learn more.[/trx_accordion_item] [trx_accordion_item title=”Conservation International”]​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​For nearly 30 years, Conservation International (CI) has been protecting nature for the benefit of all​. We know that human beings are totally dependent on nature — and that by saving nature, we’re saving ourselves. To that end, CI is helping to build a healthier, more prosperous and more productive planet. They do this through science, policy, and partnerships with countries, communities and companies. Over the years, CI has helped support 1,200 protected areas and interventions across 77 countries, safeguarding more than 601 million hectares of land, marine and coastal areas.​​ Visit www.conservation.org for more information.[/trx_accordion_item] [trx_accordion_item title=”Montfair Resort Farm”]Montfair Resort Farm is a family opened and operated resort in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Their goal is to offer a comfortable environment for those interested in the recreational resources of a place rich in Virginia cultural heritage. They are a relaxed, pet and eco-friendly favorite for locals, travelers and wedding parties looking to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and recreational activities of Albemarle County. They encourage their guests to share their passion for environmental responsibility. This creates a strong community that preserves the natural landscape of their site. Learn more about their green practices at www.montfairresortfarm.com[/trx_accordion_item] [trx_accordion_item title=”eWaste Tech Systems”]eWaste Tech Systems is an environmentally-conscious technology company offering complete IT Asset Lifecycle solutions, data destruction, recycling and refurbishing in a safe and secure manner while creating sustainable jobs and providing high quality training for individuals in challenged communities. Learn more about recycling tech equipment and electronic waste by visiting www.ewastetech.com[/trx_accordion_item] [trx_accordion_item title=”Lumen”]Lumen is at the forefront of changing how people think of and use energy. By working to understand how buildings perform, and the difference that even small changes make, is at the core of Lumen’s mission. Whether incorporating solar power or increasing efficiency through utility conservation programs, Lumen is a pioneer in developing smarter energy choices. Visit www.lumenenergy.com to learn more.[/trx_accordion_item] [trx_accordion_item title=”Above Green”]Above Green works with developers, architects and contractors from all over the United States to achieve sustainable building. A healthy environment and healthy buildings go hand in hand. Check out this environmental consultant’s work across the country by visiting www.abovegreen.com[/trx_accordion_item] [trx_accordion_item title=”Natural Organic Process Enterprises”]Natural Organic Process Enterprises (NOPE) works with companies and institutions throughout central and eastern Virginia to develop food scrap and organics recycling programs. NOPE facilitates the collection and transportation of organic materials to a proper Virginia DEQ permitted composting facility. Learn more at www.nopeva.com[/trx_accordion_item] [trx_accordion_item title=”GreenBlue”]GreenBlue is an environmental nonprofit dedicated to the sustainable use of materials in society. They bring together a diversity of stakeholders to encourage innovation and best practices to promote the creation of a more sustainable materials economy. Learn more at www.greenblue.org[/trx_accordion_item] [trx_accordion_item title=”Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center”]The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center inspires conservation of the marine environment through education, research, and sustainable practices. The Center is a collaboration between the City of Virginia Beach and the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Foundation. The aquarium welcomes over 650,000 guests annually and engages over 50,000 students in marine science activities per year. Learn more at www.virginiaaquarium.com[/trx_accordion_item] [trx_accordion_item title=”Plugless Power”]Plugless Power’s mission is to provide high-power wireless charging products that delight customers through superior convenience and simplicity. Their innovative technology wirelessly energizes your car in about eight hours, which has helped accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles. Visit www.pluglesspower.com to learn more.[/trx_accordion_item] [trx_accordion_item title=”Virginia Living Museum”]The Virginia Living Museum showcases Virginia’s natural and living resources to encourage understanding and protection of our natural world. It is home to more than 250 species of animals found in Virginia including reptiles, mammals, birds and fish. They provide a sanctuary for orphaned, non-releasable or injured animals. Their sustainable practices have certified them as a Virginia Green attraction. Learn more at www.thevlm.org[/trx_accordion_item] [trx_accordion_item title=”SustainFloyd”]SustainFloyd works to leverage and preserve Floyd County’s existing assets and traditional strengths in agriculture and craftsmanship to help build a resilient rural local economy. Project areas focus on localizing their economy, enhancing natural and cultural resources, and advancing issues related to food systems, energy independence, transportation, waste and recycling, and education. Learn more at www.sustainfloyd.org[/trx_accordion_item] [/trx_accordion]

L’Autre Couleur is a responsible content marketing & design agency that represents companies making a difference in positive impact & sustainability. They offer end-to-end full service in digital marketing services, ranging from content writing & web design, to social media and campaign management.

New VCU Report Shows Opportunity to Better Locate Affordable Housing & Businesses

A new report issued by the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at VCU found that affordable housing in the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area is not located near available jobs. The study observed the geographic location of jobs generally available for people living in low-cost housing. The lead researcher, Tom Jacobson said, “This is the first time this pattern has been analyzed, and it documents a metropolitan problem. Affordable housing and available jobs are not located in close proximity.”

The report revealed that there are 67,000 more modest-wage jobs than low-cost housing units in the suburban ring around the city. Retail and service jobs are intensely located in the surrounding counties, but affordable housing is concentrated in the city’s Southside and East End, close-in suburban neighborhoods, and rural towns on the peripheral of the metropolitan area. The study also found that the GRTC Transit System only provides access to 52 percent of the region’s low-cost housing and 45 percent of modest-wage jobs are within one-quarter mile of a bus stop.

According to Jacobson, “A well-planned metro area is a community of short distances…households should have the ability to choose to live close to their job. This is especially critical for lower income households with no or one car.”

The second part of the study addressed neighborhood opposition against affordable housing construction. The report analyzed six higher density affordable housing projects and their surrounding neighborhoods in the metropolitan area before and after construction. No notable long-term impact was found on crime rates, property values, and property sales. This shows that fears around high density affordable housing are typically baseless.

The report provides a guide for future affordable housing and business locations, public transport expansion, and sidewalk construction, as well as strong support for mixed income projects. Jacobson hopes this study will be considered when siting new affordable housing units and in economic development strategies used by the city and surrounding localities.

Read more about the study: Wilder School News

Read the full report: Understanding the Jobs–Affordable Housing Balance in the Richmond Region

Featured image source: Jeff Auth, Wikimedia

EarthCraft Site Visit & Summer Social

Yesterday we kicked off our June building science lecture with a site visit at a home recently EarthCraft certified by Bain-Waring Builders. We were joined by Tim Dunkum, Home Building Association of Richmond’s EarthCraft Builders Council Chair, as well as Mark Waring of Bain-Waring Builders. Mark, Tim, and Viridiant Executive Director KC Bleile welcomed attendees. After providing a little background information on our Building Science Lecture Series, the home, and the EarthCraft Builders Council, attendees were invited to visit stations throughout the home.

Home Details:

  • 11500 Grey Oaks Estates Run
  • EarthCraft Certified May 2017
  • HERS Index Score of 52
  • Conditioned crawlspace
  • R-5 structurally insulated sheathing (SIS)
  • High efficiency furnace
  • Tankless gas water heating
  • Tight building envelope & ductwork
  • 2.5 ACH50
  • Less than 6% total duct leakage
  • Less than 3% duct leakage to the outside

 

Attendees were able to view a diagnostic testing demonstration, learn about the home’s mechanical ventilation, talk to the home’s realtor Brittany Valentine, or check out the home’s energy monitoring system. Shout out to folks from Virginia Energy Efficiency Council who enjoyed the event and shared some photos from the testing demonstration! Everyone stuck around for the fun Summer Solstice Social immediately following the lecture.

Reconnecting You to Nature

On June 5th every year we celebrate World Environment Day. This is the United Nation’s main way to raise worldwide awareness and encourage action for the protection of our environment. Today we celebrate the natural environment and focus on issues that affect the global community and our posterity. Now more than ever it is important to recognize the environmental issues we must mitigate and take action.

This year’s theme is Connecting People to Nature. If you have the opportunity, go outside and be with nature. Appreciate the beautiful planet we inhabit. Think about the impact that nature has on your life and the impact that your life has on nature. Is it an even trade? We can all do more to protect and nurture the environment.

Here are a few ways to participate in the celebration:

  1. Picture all the places that matter – Share a photo or video of your favorite place in nature using #WorldEnvironmentDay or #WithNature and let us know why it is special to you. The United Nations headquarters might even feature your post at their headquarters!
  2. Ask your local government to act – Is there an environmental issue that you want your local officials to address? Get in touch with your elected representatives and ask them to take on that issue. Let them know these issues matter to their constituents.
  3. Travel smart – Leave the car at home and try a more sustainable mode of transportation like cycling, walking, public transportation, or carpooling.
  4. Buy local – Think about where your food and products come from. Make the choice to support look businesses and buy local produce.
  5. Green your home – Educate yourself on the small steps and bigger investments that you can make to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Take our Home Energy Pledge to receive a helpful checklist and guidebook.
  6. Support environmental organizations – Consider making a donation to Viridiant or another nonprofit that is committed to advancing sustainability. Volunteer with organizations like the Sierra Club or the National Parks Service.
  7. Every day matters – June 5th may be World Environment Day, but the movement doesn’t stop there. Take steps everyday to lower your resource waste, stay involved in the conversation, and keep reconnecting with nature!

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