“Why THIS building for Healing Passages?”, you ask.

  Because spirit and intention matter.   It matters to Chaden and I. It matters to the Willowsong Midwifery team providing theCare. It matters to the artisans of Silent Rivers. It matters to the community we serve. And this spirit, this intention, has the ability to set the path for a more connected, sustainable, safer future for our planet. Or NOT. […]

Thinking Spring 2012 as the Green & Main Landscaping is Installed

If you’ve ever planted a garden, or even one pumpkin seed, you know the excitement of seeing those first sprouts emerge. So imagine thousands of plants and flowers surfacing, expertly orchestrated to grow and bloom spring through fall to bring function and beauty to the Green & Main site. The Green & Main Pilot Project landscaping was installed this past October, so you can count on a burst of fresh greenery and flowers to greet spring.

Windows: Opening a New Perspective on Historic Renovation

Renovating a historic 1930’s brick building presents many challenges. Renovating that same building to exceptionally high energy standards adds further layers of complexity to the project. Fortunately, for a vacant 5,000-square foot brick storefront in Des Moines’ Sherman Hill neighborhood, developer Chaden Halfhill has not shied away from these challenges.

Geothermal: Harnessing the Earth’s Energy

Geothermal Energy is heat (thermal) that comes from the earth (geo). The layers of the earth are heated in different gradients, originating from the 4,000-mile deep core, which has a temperature similar to that of the sun of around 9,000 degrees Fahrenheit (F). The heat gradually lessens as it reaches the surface of the earth, where the temperature of the top soil more accurately represents the temperature of the atmosphere. Just ten feet below the surface of the ground, the temperature of the earth maintains a constant temperature of 50-60 degrees F in all seasons. Geothermal heat pumps make use of the earth’s constant temperature as a natural source for heating and cooling.

Profiles in Green: Sharing Good Energy with John Konior

It’s Monday morning and I’m sitting in a local coffee shop with John Konior, Assistant to the City Manager of Urbandale and one of the leaders in Central Iowa’s movement towards energy efficiency. Less than two months ago, Konior and his team launched ShareGoodEnergy.org, a website dedicated to sharing stories on energy efficiency in our communities.

Natural Beauty and Green Technology at Green & Main

What is beauty? Who “gets” it? Why have we, as a society, put so much stock in that which is “beautiful” that we easily ignore our health, finances, family and other valued portions of our life to achieve that which is considered beautiful.

Let’s take the Green & Main Initiative for example.

Green & Main Shows Off ‘New’ Maple Flooring… and Gives Salvaged Gym Floor a New Home

The old school in Cambria, Iowa was in need of a new gym floor at the same time Green & Main was looking for salvaged maple flooring. It was a match. Repurposing the old flooring for the Green & Main first floor was a perfect fit for not only aesthetic needs but for our sustainability goals as well.

The Built Environment and Memorial Day

The other day I was helping the teenage son of a friend pick weeds out of the backyard brick patio. I took that moment to tell Owen about stormwater management and how, even though we live in a built environment, we are not separate from the world around us. We are responsible for managing and engineering ways that are compatible at the very least – and assistive at the very best – in creating a sustainable way to exist and thrive in tandem with one another.

Des Moines, We Sustainably Knew Ye: Main Streets Conference Comes to Iowa

Des Moines was privileged to host The National Main Streets Conference last week where 1,300 people convened over a four-day period. Events around Des Moines ranged from tours to evening outings. Green & Main was part of the on-site tours for historical and re-purposed buildings. Read how the Main Street Four Point Approach has benefited 45 Iowa communities.

I (Heart) Green

Years ago, I rented a section on the second floor of a very large three-story Victorian house in Evanston, Illinois. It wasn’t that long after grad school and I was still feeling very communal, but in an ‘I need space’ sort-of way.

Sustainability and Vision in the Greater Des Moines Region, Part 2

The trick—to reference my blog post of November 13th—is not to be overwhelmed by the enormity of any task. As a friend once said to me years ago, ‘How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.’

Collective visions are tough to come by, particularly in the face of competing needs, cultural and social commitments, economic infrastructures and layers of political policies. The facilitator of the meeting—a focus group on sustainability and the Des Moines region that was hosted by the Greater Des Moines Partnership—began with all things positive as the group members jumped in to the conversation, which flowed without pause.

Sustainability and Vision in the Greater Des Moines Region, Part 1

On Tuesday afternoon (yesterday) I attended a focus group on sustainability and the Des Moines region that was hosted by the Greater Des Moines Partnership. A wide variety of interested people were in attendance, from a regional mayor to small- and medium-sized business owners, architects, city planners and those interested in what green space meant for this region and its inhabitants.

Today’s the Day to Act

One of the astounding aspects of the green and sustainability communities is the depth and breadth of its diversity. It’s also one of those things that can make it difficult to jump in, to find something to do so as to feel that you have made a difference.

A Message about How the Pilot Project Supports Women

Chaden Halfhill had a grand vision to create a building that lived and breathed as one with nature. One that the human spirit and physical body could find peace and comfort within its walls. It is a lofty dream for the building industry and the first of its kind in Des Moines. In this building, he envisioned a healing, holistic women’s health center.