February 15, 2006
GreenHomeNYC’s February forum features guest speaker Leslie Hoffmann, Executive Director of Earthpledge Foundation. Earthpledge has many exciting environmentally sensitive programs under way, such as green roof intiatives, sustainable agriculture, and eco-friendly fashion.
The February forum welcomed Earthpledgeâ€™s Executive Director Leslie Hoffman. Earthpledge is an NYC-based non-profit that researches and promotes innovative techniques and technologies that help foster sustainable living. Leslie originates from an architecture and design background, and worked as a carpenter for 10 years prior to joining up with Earthpledge. With a lifelong love for gardening and sailing, itâ€™s no wonder that sheâ€™s now the driving force behind such an organization.
Earthpledge has their hands in a whole bunch of pies. Their Green Roofs initiative was implemented in response to the lack of green spaces in cities and the intrinsic health issues that arise as a result. One of their current projects is a green roof atop the Silvercup Studios in Long Island City, where theyâ€™re monitoring and comparing green and conventional roofs in terms of energy usage and storm water management. While green roofs can be costly, Leslie is armed with a litany of their benefits, including green space for inner-city dwellers, alleviated health issues, and a reduction in energy use. Leslie estimates that there are about 50 green roofs in the metropolitan area.
One attendee who works in the development field voiced his concern over the current emphasis on green roofs, and itâ€™s current â€˜trendyâ€™ appeal. He said that a group of his clients came to him with a limited budget, and are dead-set on installing a green roof on their new building because in their amateur opinions, itâ€™s the best, and only, way to go green. He suggested to them that they instead invest their money on better windows, higher-quality insulation and a more efficient boiler, but they werenâ€™t interested. They are willing to forgo the smart building throughout the building in favor of the (green) icing on the cake. Of course, Leslie agreed with the developer that building our structures well from the ground up is smarter and more effective than installing a green roof, exclusively.
Farm-to-Table is another initiative that Earthpledge is undertaking, designed to connect local food producers with local buyers. Leslie cites buying locally and supporting local agriculture as a top priority in sustainable living. The more cheese or potatoes or corn you buy from producers in your area, the less fossil fuels, chemicals, and modifiers are used, and the better off the communityâ€™s economy and farmland is.
Earthpledge is involved in other endeavors, and you can read all about them here. Although they are often hired by private-sector establishments, Leslie and her cohorts are also here to educate the public, and are hired to consult people and groups who come to them asking â€œCan you help us figure out how toâ€¦.?â€ Search around the site and see if Earthpledge can help you figure out how toâ€¦
The Green Building Forum is held on the third Wednesday of each month (except December) @6:30 PM and features presentations by green building practitioners followed by discussion. The events are always free and open to the general public. Please RSVP by email to: [email protected]