Saturday, February 27, 2010

During our February event at McNellie's Architect Kirk Gastinger shared with us a multitude of ideas for improving our home environments, working with architecture clients to build greener structures, as well as little history on some of Tulsa's historic buildings. For instance, did you know that the Sophian Plaza was built to maximize the wind's cross flow in the days before air conditioning? According to Kirk, air conditioning was a big factor in what changed the way we work with the environment. One of the easiest ways that we can determine if our homes are energy efficient is to total our utilities (gas and electric) for the previous year and divide that number by the square footage of your home. If you are close to $1 per square foot, your home is doing well. If that number is higher than $1 you may want to consider a few improvements; adding insulation, installing energy efficient windows, and using a programmable thermostat

In March Green Drinks will be held at Lola's at the Bowery. Kevin Stephens, of Kevin Stephens Design, a landscape, interior and urban design firm based in San Francisco, CA, has designed a number of homes and buildings in Tulsa. He is also the owner of the former Temple Israel at 14th and Cheyenne which he plans to donate to a new organization that is a collaborative effort between himself, Land Legacy, and Sustainable Tulsa. The organization will serve as center for regional conservation and sustainability.

Land Legacy is Oklahoma's first statewide land trust. Land Legacy "is able to create urban parks and trails that enhance the quality of life in our communities, protect natural resources such as working farms and ranches...inner cities parks, and greenbelts along the urban perimeter...Over the last six years, Land Legacy has protected nearly 50 properties across the state totaling roughly 18,000 acres."

Sustainable Tulsa's mission is to promote responsible economic growth, environmental stewardship, and quality of life for all. One of the most significant project completed was the Tulsa Area Green Directory which is a listing of over 700 businesses, nonprofits, and agencies that promote living green in Tulsa. ST has also held a number of interactive seminars through the Greening the (918)Series.

The vision is to "create the first regional center for sustainable education and conservation. Specific plans for the site are currently underway, but the idea is to develop a combination of offices for organizations focused on conservation and sustainability and that will teach sustainable and organic farming practices. Additionally, the building's auditorium will be used for presentations, seminars, and workshops. The land adjacent to the building will be used for a community garden, outdoor seminars and concerts. A community kitchen is envisioned to allow local residents opportunities to experience meals made with local organic foods. Currently, no such centers exist, and organizations focused on conservation and sustainability have few opportunities to interact and collaborate. With new attention on these matters, along with increasing interest by the public, then center will fill an important need that is currently unmet.

We will meet on MArch 10th, from 5:30-7pm at Lola's at the Bowery in 5 E Brady St.

In April, for our Earth Day Green Drinks, we have collaborated with Philbrook who is bringing to Tulsa luxury sustainable carpet designer Stephanie Odegard. She will demonstrate her process and visitors will have a chance to enter a vegetable dye identification contest. The lecture, "Sustainable Design and Social Responsibility" will begin at 6:30pm. Green Drinks has 25 tickets to be given away for this event. After that, it is $7.50 for adults, $5.50 for seniors (age 62+), and free to anyone under the age of 18. To be a part of contest, be sure to get on the email list by sending your contact information to me at

There are so many exciting events planned for the 2010 Green Drinks series. Be sure to stay tuned and be part of this growing momentum in Tulsa County.