I can remember years ago when I first heard the term ‘green’. It was in the 80’s and I was in high school. Back then, green equaled tree-huggin-hippies (as my dad called them). “Relics of the 60’s,” he told me.
In the 90’s, Al Gore began his environmental campaign with a new term- Global Warming. Ok, it’s possible that the term has been around longer for that but the 90’s is when I remember hearing it with certain regularity. We were popping a larger hole in the ozone, fossil fuels were going to wreck the planet and folks were starting to look for new ways to utilize our resources – especially on the home front – in commercial and residential building. But those were the big cities where the ‘think tanks’ were and folks would appreciate the effort more.
Fast forward a few decades and look at what’s going on in Las Cruces. Green building has found its way to Las Cruces. Last week, I attended the ground breaking for Green Streets at the intersection of Brown and Compress Roads. This 33 house development will be the first in our city and our state to build to a minimum Silver LEED level. They’re going to incorporate solar features as well – and, let’s face it – Las Cruces is the perfect place to take advantage of solar power. (For more information about LEED levels, please visit the US Green Building Council’s Page)
Here’s the video I put together of the groundbreaking.
All I can say is that it’s about time. It’s time that we take a look at how we’re building and how what we’re building is going to affect our community for the next 20, 50, 100 years. I’m still learning about building green but, from what I’ve seen of this projects and what other towns have done, I’m all for cutting energy costs in the heating and cooling areas as well as how much energy my appliances are using. I look at my electric bill each month and think, “There’s got to be a better way.”
My hope for this project is that my friends and neighbors will take a look at the homes that are built and then incorporate what they’ve seen into their existing homes. How about installing photo-voltaic panels at your home? A friend of mine just did this and as soon as it was connected, it started going backwards. You could replace those appliances with energy efficient models. How old are your windows? Yes, I know it can be an expensive proposition but let me give you two words: TAX CREDIT. Did you know that you can get a tax credit for replacing appliances or even windows? You can. All it takes is a few minutes on Google to learn about it. Pop open a new window and put in ‘tax credit windows’. Look at what’s available. That’s a freebie for you. Do the same thing for appliances. You’ll be pleasantly surprised and maybe a little motivated as well.
For more information about Green Streets, stop by their Facebook page where they’ll be updating as the project rolls along. The Green Streets Parade of Homes is slated for September 17th through October 20th. The Building Industry of Southern New Mexico’s website will probably be updating as well.
And, just as a disclaimer – I don’t work for any of the builders involved or the BIASNM or so on. In case you were wondering.