Green Building on the Vineyard, a beginning

by Kerry on April 24, 2009

Reuse, recycle fallen treesHow green is my Vineyard? The full picture is elusive, but I know that we have to start somewhere. As we proceed with the development of the first LEED certified residential home in Oak Bluffs, the enthusiasm and well wishes are heart warming. And the reality of building a green house in the middle of a neighborhood of established older family homes is complex. I’m sure we will talk more about this issue as we progress.

The Vineyard has always prided itself on being a community of earth loving humanitarians. We are exposed to diverse and environmentally sensitive habitats and wildlife, and we have commissions that are manned by very passionate volunteers. But like everywhere else, we still wear blinders to the impact of our existence on the environment. Global warming, our carbon footprints, the oil crisis and the age of consumerism leading up to the present economic crisis are all puzzle pieces. There is also ignorance as to how to begin on something that seems so overwhelming.  A feeling that one person can’t make a difference.

First thing I just want to take this opportunity to remind you all of whom won the election in January this year, if you have any sense that one man cannot make a difference, then that man has most certainly proven you wrong. Next, when my husband and I bought the land on Green Ave. (that’s right, Green on Green!), we had not planned on going in this direction, owning it for as long as we have, and worrying about the real estate market’s effect on us and our future. We now see this as an opportunity to learn  and educate. We have met and are working with some of the most well informed green building consultants available in New England.  When we decided to build a LEED certified house, we knew it was the right thing to do for our company, the environment and our daughter.

The team at Squash Meadow Construction has been nothing short of enthusiastic and open minded, despite this being a new avenue for them to grow into. I’ve been away all week and was excited to get back to the island to be a part of this project and share in the enthusiasm. I went to the site to document the beginning of the excavation process.  When I arrived a neighbor had stopped over and was loading his car up with some trees that had been cleared. He was going to use them in his fireplace for heat next winter.  Reduce, reuse, recycle and recover… the 4 R’s of sustainability. A great place to start.

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