Getting the word out, green building vs local media

by Kerry on August 20, 2009

Since deciding to proceed with our Green Building project against all odds (recession, new building codes, lack of movement in the real estate market) we have been trying to get the attention of local media to gain some exposure and allow the opportunity to educate the general public on green building issues. Our company is the first in New England to have developed a LEED Certified modular home that is affordable. Environmentally friendly, socially responsible, the prototype is the first of its kind on the Vineyard and has been an amazingly popular with the local communityGreen on Green martha's Vineyard LEED

You would think that on an tiny island with 12-15 thousand year-round residents that contributing to the local economy maintaining a business profile in a time when many are out of work would be of interest to the local papers. Apparently not. Over the past couple of months I have read articles on budget cuts, real estate stagnation, the impoverished town systems and how to make due in hard times. These articles are followed by more of the same…construction is way down, foreclosures and bankruptcy on the rise. All of this is true and certainly newsworthy if a little redundant… And it’s only part of the story.

Knowing that life on the Vineyard is multi-dimensional and requires a creative living plan, there are those who will continue to forge ahead no matter the risks. If you are a year-round Islander, then you know that it is easy to be overwhelmed and want to quit. To leave the inflated prices and unattainable housing costs, and to go back to “America” and do just fine thank you.

Being true to your beliefs and moving ahead with your dreams requires more than just the brains and financial backing to persevere. It requires determination, faith and community support. We need to know that we are valued as members of this small community, and that our efforts will be noted. Even if we could get a scathing criticism going, it would be better that being completely ignored. The opportunity to debate the criticism would be preferable to the silence.

Since the inception of our LEED Certified house project, we have not heard a peep from the local media. Oh hang on, that’s not entirely true. We were pursued by the local TV station (Plum TV) to get us on their program…for many thousands of dollars. We determined that they do not write content on anything other than advertised products. In other words, they would be happy to have you on the show if you pay for your spot. They don’t report news.

I have sent press releases to both of our local papers, as well as invitations to view the property and come to a “green Building Forum”. I have sent a feedback letter to the editor looking for some insight, and I have spent money advertising in the papers. Not a single call or letter of interest. Even the local East Chop column, where the project has been under construction for 3 months, has mysteriously avoided any mention. Is there an elephant in the room? It is certainly starting to look that way.

Last weekend we hosted our 1st Open House and were thrilled to have more than 60 people in attendance. The following Wednesday was the Green Building Forum, that was less popular but well represented none the less. Every day, if there is a car in the driveway, there is a knock on the door. People are interested in the green building process. They are concerned about their futures and the future of their children. They care about the environment and how to preserve our precious resources.Farmers porch LEED Martha's Vineyard

I have been doing my own documenting, and write about the green building process on Martha’s Vineyard. My Blog exists in part to help with the educational aspect of LEED and the certification process, among other environmental and lifestyle issues. It also exists to direct traffic to the efforts of few on a problem that is island-wide. Without environmental directives for building on Martha’s Vineyard, our time here will be short lived.

follow me on twitter Follow me on twitter

Comments on this entry are closed.