Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Earth Day 2008 - "A Call for Climate", April 22nd

Bonin Architects & Associates’ goal in designing timber frame homes for clients is to keep the carbon footprint to a minimum (which is our impact on the environment measured by how much greenhouse gases we produce).

So while we focus our attention on new construction with timber framing and structural insulated panels (more on their energy efficiency in a future blog), our overarching concern is for our environment. Sustainability can be achieved, or increased, in several ways – by designing and producing new products and technology to reduce negative impact on our environment, but also by changing the way we use and treat the things around us.

It’s a known fact our planet’s health is declining. One need only look around our own neighborhoods to see compromised ecological systems which support our communities, not to mention what is happening on a global scale. If you haven’t heard, Earth Day 2008, with a theme “A Call for Climate”, will be celebrated on Tuesday, April 22nd (see our nifty little countdown clock on the sidebar).

The idea of Earth Day started way back in 1962, and was finally established as a national day of celebration in 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson (1916-2005) (D-Wisconsin). Earth Day immediately took on a life of its own and is now celebrated in well over 174 countries by over a half billion people - making it the most celebrated secular holiday in the world. At Earth Day ceremonies at the University of Wisconsin, Senator Nelson declared: “Our goal is an environment of decency, quality, and mutual respect for all other human creatures and for all living creatures. The battle to restore a proper relationship between man and his environment, between man and other living creatures, will require a long, sustained, political, moral, ethical, and financial commitment – far beyond any effort made before.” The goal today remains the same.

Bonin Architects & Associates encourages you to participate in your local and state events. Here are some things you can do with your family, friends, and neighbors – or just on your own - to help the environment:

1. Participate in your neighborhood or community cleanup efforts. Invite family and friends to
join you!

2. Support a local park, wildlife sanctuary, or environmental organization.

3. Support your downtown businesses – you’ll be doing your part to curb urban sprawl.

4. Plant local trees, bushes, or shrubs in your yard or community.

5. Buy secondhand from thrift shops, yard sales and flea markets. You’ll be recycling in its highest form!

6. Shop using canvas shopping bags instead of plastic or paper.

7. Shop organic. Avoid herbicides, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers.

8. Change one light bulb a week in your home to an ENERGY STAR Compact Fluorescent Lightbulb (CFL). They use up to 75% less energy to operate and will last 10 times longer! Imagine this - according to the Department of Energy, "If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars." For more information on CFL's, including how to choose the right kind of light for every room, visit

9. Evaluate your home’s energy efficiency and make a list of improvements to make this spring. The EPA and Department of Energy have a great home improvement section on their website listing common household problems and solutions to help your home become more energy efficient. Take a look at http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=home_improvement.hm_improvement_index.

10. Leave your car at home – walk or bike to work!

For other ideas, check out these websites:
For Families:National Environmental Education Week:
EnviroLink – The Online Environment Community:

Events, Political Involvement:
Earth Day Network:

Ways You Can Help Protect the Earth:
University of Michigan,
North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Energy Tips for Work:
North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Energy Tips for Home:

No comments: