Green Talk

The Unicopia Center

Educational outreach continues

Date May 31, 2011 at 4:57 PM

Author Faren Dancer

Publication SantaFe.com

Categories Green Living

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Unicopia, a public benefit non-profit organization was founded in 1987 to raise public awareness of our interconnectedness with the natural world. The name was derived from our need for unity and collective prosperity in order to create the sustainable future we desire.

UNI (Unity): As in oneness, emphasizes the fact that all Earth's citizens are unified in a common experience. Unicopia's mission is to inspire awareness of our relationship to the natural world and each other. This awareness, coupled with applied scientific knowledge, helps to support the movement toward true sustainability and planetary stewardship. Our goal is to empower others to become active participants in our sustainable future.

COPIA (Abundance): Each citizen of the planet shares the common desire to experience fulfillment, joy and prosperity. This pertains to material realms of manifestation, and to our quest for realizing peace, harmony, creative freedom and successful relations. To this end, COPIA translates as the abundance of all things meaningful in this life, and with the evolving capacity for unity awareness, the ability to attract the best, for ourselves and each other.

AWARENESS: True sustainability begins with raising awareness within each person. That awareness is reflected in how we think: by having a mind that is perceptive but at peace, a heart capable of love and forgiveness, and the ever evolving capacity to visualize the future we wish to experience. These qualities, along with willingness to take action, will drive our transition to a more sustainable world. The ability to harmonize with ourselves, each other and our environment, will provide the clarity and inspiration to make the wise choices in the years ahead.

 Unicopia, in partnership with Sundancer Creations, completed the Emerald Home, a zero-carbon footprint home in Santa Fe, New Mexico in August, 2009. The Emerald Home is an award winning, national model for green building and energy efficiency. The vision for the Emerald Home was inspired by the need to demonstrate the goal of the 2030 Challenge, zero carbon emissions from the building sector by the year 2030, and how it could be achieved today.

Given that the building sector accounts for nearly 50% of all carbon emissions in the United States, our commitment to addressing energy usage and carbon from our buildings will help stem the tide of wasted fossil fuel energy production and the subsequent emissions that is a proven causative factor in our current climate change crisis.

Through the integration of current technologies, advanced building science and thoughtful design, the Emerald Home produces more energy than it uses. The home also addresses the issues of water and resource conservation, with great emphasis on the healthy indoor environment. With greatly reduced embodied energy and virtually no ongoing carbon footprint, the home has served to help enlighten builders, architects, government officials, educators and the public. This true Net-zero home was also the pilot model for the City of Santa Fe's Building Codes, implemented in 2009, and achieves Emerald in all six categories, as well as an "Emerald" certification from Build Green New Mexico (national green building standard), one of only two homes in New Mexico.  It is also currently on track to receive the LEED for Homes “Platinum” designation.

The Emerald Home has now become the Unicopia Center.

Thousands of people have visited the home since its completion in August, 2009. Public tours have included the American Solar Energy Society, United States Green Building Council and the Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association's Parade of Homes. The National Association of Realtors Green Designation Course utilized the Emerald Home as a training platform for 85 realtors. U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman, Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and his staff have toured and subsequently arranged other tours for environmentalists, policy makers and non-profits. In May, 2010, the Santa Fe Community College arranged a tour of 60 educators and sustainability directors from colleges throughout the United States. The outreach has also included City of Santa Fe and New Mexico State building code officials, plan reviewers and policy makers. As a recipient of a USGBC educational grant, the Emerald Home is the subject of a fifteen part course on green and zero energy building offered through Unicopia and the Santa Fe Community College.  Please join us on June 11 & 12  for the United States Green Building Council GreenBuilt Tour.  Please go to www.usgbcnm.comfor more information.

Unicopia'smission is to provide an ever expanding platform for the expression of conscious awareness. Each week, Unicopia airs "Green Talk Radio," a one-hour talk radio show designed to inform listeners of issues impacting our environment, the need for conscious participation in the realms of personal and planetary healing, and the specifics of green building, renewable energy, governmental policy, codes and regulations, innovative products and technologies. The show also serves as a forum for progressive State Legislators, environmental non-profit organizations, and American Indian tribal representatives wishing to shed light on the crucial issues during this time of global transition.

KNOWLEDGE: Unicopia serves the community at-large as an educational and research entity. This outreach includes design and construction of leading edge, sustainable residential building models, subsequent documentation, green building course development and onsite green collar workforce training, as well as Green Talk Radio.

The Unicopia Center is currently documenting two of its latest educational models:

The "Glorieta Freedom Ranch". This off-grid model showcases innovative passive and active solar technologies, 100% roof water catchment (no well), integrated grey and black water systems and an inspiration to those wishing to experience the independence off-grid living. The Glorieta Freedom Ranch is located on 500 acres, in land conservancy, dedicated to green building demonstration, land stewardship and green collar job training through Unicopia and the Earthworks Institute.

Geothermal Solar Electric Home... This 2500 sq. ft. residential model demonstrates the use of geothermal (ground source) heating and cooling, solar photovoltaic electricity and the use of leading edge green finishes and materials. The energy efficient design and mechanicals, along with the owner's commitment to energy conservation, will enable the home to meet its own energy requirements with no ongoing carbon footprint.

Unicopia, in partnership with Earthworks Institute and the Biophilia Foundation, will soon launch the renovation of an historic barn on the 3300 acre Pritzlaff Ranch outside of Las Vegas, New Mexico. The ranch is currently a model for land reclamation, sustainable forestry practices and youth training in these specific realms. The green collar job training will continue in the barn reclamation. In addition, the barn will ultimately serve as a green building demonstration and training facility. As well as showcasing renewable energy technologies and green building systems, the facility will provide educational outreach to local contractors and suppliers.

The national educational outreach of these, and future projects, provides limitless potential to extend knowledge of the latest advances in sustainable building practices and building science to a broad spectrum of the population.

  SUSTAINABILITY:   In the months ahead, the Unicopia Center will host a regional conference dedicated to the issue of coal burning power, the exploitation of the Navajo people and the need for a united commitment to our clean, renewable future.  Invited guests will include leadership from the Navajo Nation, Sierra Club New Mexico, the Santa Fe Green Building Council, the New Energy Economy, Conservation Voters New Mexico, Audubon New Mexico, Santa Fe Green Building Council, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (Sweep), Environment New Mexico, McCune Foundation, Santa Fe Community College, NM Dept. of Energy and Minerals and the City & County of Santa Fe. Additional invited guests will include United States Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall, U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Lujan and Martin Heinrich, NM State Senator Peter Wirth and NM House Chair of Energy and Natural Resources, Brian Egolf, NM Public Regulation Commissioner Jason Marks, and more.

The Unicopia vision includes the evolution of a sustainable, Zero Energy Community model that will explore all aspects of sustainable living including land stewardship/habitat, food production, transportation, centralized renewable energy, integrative water technologies and innovative building systems. Unicopia continues to offer encouragement toward a grander understanding of humanities' responsibility to the whole, the power of the mind, and the grassroots evolution of sustainability within our society.  To this end, it’s important to remember that Unity empowers through Common Purpose.            Please visit our website    www.unicopia.org

 

Reach the author at faren@unicopia.org or on www.unicopia.org. Follow on Twitter.


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