Go Green, Save Green Workshop a Success

The fifth annual Go Green, Save Green (GGSG) Workshop was held on March 20, 2014. The weather was kind, the presentations enlightening, and lunch was delicious. Many agreed the post-workshop happy hour held at Blue Stallion Brewing Company was an added bonus. The workshop, sponsored by LFUCG and organized by Bluegrass Greensource, aims to provide various types of Lexington businesses with information from experts in waste reduction, water, and energy efficiency. Learning how to be a greener business can result in cost savings through reducing landfill-bound waste, saving on water costs, and/or reducing energy bills. The workshop brought together over 105 members of Lexington’s business community. Industrial and small businesses, restaurants, churches, LEED professionals, apartments, and non-profits had specialized tracks based on their needs and specific interests. The event was held at BCTC’s Newtown Campus, the former site of Eastern State Hospital, in the beautiful Main Building. The LEED certified building was the perfect venue with its brand-spanking new technology, abundance of natural light, and friendly staff.

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Above: Clive Pohl delivers keynote address.

To start the day, Susan Plueger, Director of LFUCG’s Division of Environmental Policy, gave opening remarks and discussed the city’s green initiatives. Later, Susan also gave a presentation on low impact development guidelines for stormwater management. Clive Pohl, Architect at Pohl Rosa Pohl, delivered the lunchtime keynote address, “Accentuate the Positive,” putting into context the need for sustainable business practices. Businesses, says Pohl, can be more sustainable through Natural Capital Accounting. This form of accounting places economic value on nature and accounts for the negative externalities – the costs of industrialization, such as air pollution, which do not factor into most business calculations. Pohl concluded by saying, “it is up to us to recognize the economic imperative for conservation.”

Workshop LEED and sustainability highlights included Sy Safi of Louisville discussing building the first net-zero home in Kentucky. The home’s energy is provided by solar panels while the water is provided by a cistern which stores rainwater. No-VOC and low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) building materials were used to prevent off-gassing and air pollution. Energy Star appliances and recycled materials like old barn posts combined to make the home both eco-friendly and charmingly eclectic. Chris Zitelli from Ecos Materials and Services shared his expertise on HERS and the LEED process. Joan Pauly, Sustainability Coordinator for Berea College, educated workshop-goers on the STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System) framework and illustrated the process with examples from the college. Tim Darst from Louisville’s Interfaith Power and Light delivered the first ever session for a religious institutions GGSG workshop track and shared ideas on how one can “green” their house of worship. Greg Phipps from Big Ass Fans discussed the mechanics behind thermal energy and low-velocity, large-diameter fans in conditioned spaces.

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Above: Joan Pauly, Berea College

Waste and recycling issues specific to Lexington were discussed by Esther Moberly, LFUCG Recycling Program Specialist, and Ryan Farley, Environmental Educator for Bluegrass Greensource. Barry Prater, LFUCG Commodity Market Manager, discussed the details behind Lexington’s recycling program and complexities of selling recyclables on the global market. Harriet Dupree-Bradley presented her company’s journey to becoming a certified Green Restaurant (Dupree Catering was the first business in Kentucky to become a 2 Star Certified Green Restaurant Caterer). Lastly, Lexington-based non-profit Seedleaf was represented by Ryan Koch, who shared details on creating low-tech composting.

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