Archive for the ‘Building’ Category

I love reading about dragons…

December 29, 2011

This phrase, “I love reading about dragons…” starts off a letter to me from a little boy “Toni” in Indonesia who reads books in the school library built by The World Is Just a Book Away (aka WIJABA).  This is an organization I’ve done pro bono PR work for the last 3+ years.

The organization’s blog, which I edit, is chock full of fantastic contributions, but today I finally contributed a post, and thought it might be a nice end-of-year blog to share w. you all as well!

So, if ya got about 5 min., hope you check this out…and in the process, learn about WIJABA!  Who knows, maybe you’ll find an occasion to travel in 2012 and help build school libraries wherever they go next!



Make Your Own Experience…a New Year’s Promise

December 21, 2011

2011 was, for me, a year of much volunteerism, all of which I greatly value and appreciate.  The people I’ve met, the groups I’ve learned about…all of it.  And it came from being open to invitations and trusting people, but then carefully selecting.  As we near the eve of 2012, a fresh year, with fresh perspective, I thought I’d share something about being involved in something greater than ourselves.  And yes, it always take a bit of effort.  But that’s what also makes it worthwhile…


I believe that you make your own experience….and your own community.

So I admit it would annoy me when some high school friends would come home from college for their breaks and say to me, “How can you really get anything out of such a big school?”  You see, many of them were attending Ivy League universities (smaller classes, smaller campus) and I was attending UCLA (with a mere 35,000 students).

My response?  “Do you go visit your professors’ office hours and get to know them? Have you sought out an activity that you can embrace that gives you satisfaction in return?”  Often the answer to the first question was “uh, no”, but I had, and that made the school ‘smaller’ to me.  Some had done the latter.  For me, the latter was what made my college experience and played a major role in forming my approach to life.

My major was fantastic and I use every day what I learned.  But as it was more theoretical, I found the perfect practical complement, the college radio station at UCLA, where I became an on-air personality, head of the mobile DJ unit, and most importantly, the Director of Operations.  I ingrained myself, learning how things ran, how we worked with the administration to get funding, hiring/firing, and creating an alumni fundraiser…and I made a handful of lifelong friends.  Also key to my life (and to this discussion):  we were the underdog media outlet on campus, and we all banded together with a determination that everyone else should know about and respect what we offered.

Fast forward to today…

Those of us involved in the world of sustainability like to think that everyone around us is, too, and that everyone in the country is at least aware of the concept or the importance.  Of course, that is so not true, and we are certainly ‘the underdog’.  Just walk to your local convenience store, or go to a school meeting or art show, and see what the level of awareness is in displays or in talking to fellow attendees.

So become an active underdog and find a community that resonates with YOU (not your friends, not your spouse, but YOU first) and ingrain yourself.

My special focus happens to be green building.  I discovered that the Los Angeles Chapter of the US Green Building Council was opening a Westside branch (where I live) by wandering into a presentation.  I then offered to come and help where I can.  Now, not only am I fully ingrained in our branch and help create programming and support our team, but I’m more active in the overall Chapter and have met some of the smartest and nicest people I know.

A+D Museum

I attend events through Green Drinks or Women of the Green Generation, and support Global Green, Rock the Boat film and Pipe Dreams film, but committing myself to one group solidly that resonates with me daily has served me (and hopefully them) well.  This has lead me also to involvement with the great A+D Museum, and even aligns with some of my clients.

Find a group that resonates with you to walk in to or go online and get involved with?  Some ideas…

  • Get involved with the Charlotte Green Team – go-to source on sustainability efforts within the Charlotte, NC, community.  What’s your town’s equivalent?
  • Help toward expanding the green workforce through Green for All.
  • Fight the Tar Sands.  Here is a link with a wonderful list of resources from Burbank Green Alliance and Wilder Utopia.
  • Do a search in your community for green organizations and pick one.  Detroit, MI, has Greening Detroit, for instance.
  • Help a person or community rebuild with Habitat for Humanity.
  • Engage kids in learning and advocating for a sustainable economy and education: Teens Turning Green or Green Works in Kansas City.
  • Industry specific?  The furnishings industry has formed the Sustainable Furnishings Council.
  • Get active on your school’s PTA and if remodeling is being done, help guide it sustainably; or help initiate an organic garden on campus.  Become the green voice for your kids.
  • Understand and learn to work with native flora at the Theodore Payne Foundation; start with a class, and you might find you do more!
  • Help organize locally worldwide through  

I met a recent college graduate a few months ago at a LOHAS event and he was overwhelmed with the green group choices in Los Angeles alone.  I bet you can imagine my response…

Would love to here from everyone about your local opportunities, YOUR interests…please share!  What will YOU get involved in and try out for 2012?

Green Roundtable’s new “green” certification for design and construction firms

February 7, 2011

“Through its Sustainable Performance Institute (SPI), the Boston-based Green Roundtable (GRT) has produced a new “green” certification for design and construction firms. The program recognizes firms that have the institutional capacity to deliver consistent, high-quality sustainability services and projects. Recently piloted in the Boston area and now available nationally, it includes 64 required credits and 15 optional credits that provide a roadmap for further improvement.”

For rest of article from EBN:

Thanks for sending me this, Tova Greenberg of Nexus Green Building Resource Center (!

2011 Begins…and fare thee well to 2010

January 4, 2011

Well, we’ve had a pretty nice beginning to 2011 today, folks.  And happy to be in the new year.  I don’t usually wish a year to be gone, but I think I was pretty done with 2010.

Rang in the new year with an evening of close friends, good food and maybe my best bowling score ever (177, thank you very much!) after a very special trip for Christmas to Paris and the outskirts, spending most valued time with my sister and my niece and 2 nephews.  And…I was highly fortunate to miss any travel weather issues.  

I got to play with my new iPad on the trip, but plan to delve into the world of apps and iPad possibilities strongly in 2011.  And after seeing “The Social Network” and “The King’s Speech”, I’m re-inspired to create and push through any potential obstacles.

And now we lunged today headfirst into 2011 with our current projects which we are proud of and excited about:

Also we continue to actively lend our services to the West Los Angeles branch of the U.S. Green Building Council, where we’ve met an incredible group of people.

More to come, but let’s go with that for now.  We also are pleased to see several wonderful pieces just published today on former beloved client DedeMed, especially–.html.  Reading that, you’ll start cooking Mediterranean tomorrow, and what a fun 2011 that would launch!

And one other item:  I hope to start writing, blogging, whatever you want to call it, more this year…encouraged by a dear friend.  It’s something I always put off, but am hopeful to meet that challenge this year, and as client Pamela (Pamela’s Products) says in her campaign for 2011:  BE MORE!  Don’t ya just love it?

CHEERS, everyone!


October 25, 2010


Albuquerque, NM (October 2010) – American Clay Enterprises, Inc. has created a game-changer in cost and durability for commercial interior wall finishes. Our new PlasterPlus™  binder is added to the American Clay earthen plasters, resulting in a hard, yet repairable, No-VOC finish for the cost of a high quality, Zero-VOC paint job.  PlasterPlus™  is sold dry in 27 lb. lots through select commercial distributors, and is intended for commercial projects—such as healthcare, hospitality, universities—and big build residential.  The polymer binder has No-VOCs, is mold resistant, extremely easy-to-apply, and still can contribute up to eight (8) LEED points—along with singularity and timeless beauty—to any project. No wonder the field response has been ardently positive thus far.

American Clay has been used for numerous commercial / industrial jobs to date—from hotels (including Disney) and retail to schools, colleges, spas and churches. (Partial list attached.)  Now with PlasterPlus™ , American Clay can replace paint more equitably:  for 80,000 sq. ft. projects, the cost can come in as low as $1.00 per sq. ft., including labor and product.  Adding the completely repairable binder to the single-coat commercial Enjarre™, as well as to any of the color-integral American Clay premier Legacy products, results in the easiest, hardest surface application of American Clay to date, and at the cost of both your texture and your “Zero-VOC paint”.

PlasterPlus™-enhanced American Clay provides big project builders and developers the following benefits:

∗∗ Product cost as low as $.38 per sq. ft. for Enjarre™  one-coat application system.
Added hardness and increased ease of application.
∗∗ Longevity outlasting a painted wall, creating cost, labor and time savings. It does not need to be repainted for the life of the walls because the clay itself resists dirt and grime.
∗∗ Resistance to fading due to he natural mineral pigments.
∗∗ Highly suitable for economical spray-on application in one- or two-coat systems.
∗∗ Creates less than 5% on-site waste of material during application.
∗∗ Unlike other acrylic, gypsum or lime specialty finishes, walls coated with American Clay plaster with PlasterPlus™  can be wetted and reworked after application (without adding additional binder) to achieve desired results and yet is hard and durable.
∗∗ Cleanup is much quicker and easier than with paint, since there is no thick latex binder involved.
∗∗ As with the Legacy products, this new binder is a No-VOC, Zero Formaldehyde choice for your walls, bringing humidity and temperature moderating qualities to your project’s interior environment.
∗∗ As with the Legacy products, unlimited visual and textural possibilities.

American Clay CEO and co-Founder Croft Elsaesser has been working hard toward this product development.  “It took us a year of rigorous in-house testing and third party verification on VOC and formaldehyde levels to assure our team that we had a superior material to provide to large-scale builders and developers. Our goal is always to maintain a healthy indoor air quality to both applicator and the end-user.”

Just like American Clay’s existing product line, PlasterPlus™ is suitable for most substrates.  It will be sold in dry 27 lb. lots.  PlasterPlus™  is available through select commercial distributors; please contact for a list.  Our countrywide system of approved applicators will be able to purchase this product in bulk for their projects.

Responses to the product thus far provide real world reaction:

“American Clay’s Enjarre Product with the PlasterPlus binder surprised us.  Here at Escondido we have a strong focus on the quality of the materials we use.  The quality of this product was what we would expect from a venetian plaster. The biggest difference was being able to get the quality we insist on without the budgetary considerations that a premium finish would typically require.” – Steve Markham, Escondido Vice President (model homes plus 65,000 square feet of Clubhouse and Spa)

“Our crew worked with PlasterPlus for the first time last week. They texted me from the project site to say how awesome the product is. The workability made the install easier and they were pleased with the look. They found compression to be “like a dream” and loved the result. The clients were delighted.
…We’ve been working on getting American Clay specified for a commercial building in downtown Denver, for about 3 years. The designer is innovative and wants to specify the clay, but recently the developer was concerned about “hardness” so it looked like we would lose the project. I made up some sample boards with the new PlasterPlus. The designer …called me and said that they were “really impressed” with the hardness of Enjarre with PlasterPlus and they intend to use it in the project.” – Deborah Hall, PhD, LEED AP; Owner, Hall’s Walls

American Clay is also posting today on under “Professional –> Commercial Projects” page:  the PlasterPlusTM  sellsheet, MSDS sheet, application instructions and a FAQ.

American Clay Enterprises, Inc., based in Albuquerque, NM, produces patented, award-winning, all-natural interior wall finishing products.  Their Earth Plasters, the commercial ENJARRE™  single coat plaster, and its new PlasterPlus™  binder offer a unique combination of clays, aggregates and natural pigments that offer builders and consumers a natural, durable and unique option. There is no off-gassing nor inherent waste on-site.  The plasters contain no VOCs, are non-flammable, are mold resistant (without toxic fungicides), absorb odors, provide temperature and humidity buffering, repair/clean easily and come in recyclable packaging.  American Clay, with an extremely low carbon footprint, is uniquely manufactured in the U.S. and made of materials found in the U.S.  The products and various workshops are available through their New Mexico office or through their retailers and distributors across the U.S. For information on products, ordering, technical specifications, product application and additional resources and links:
U.S. PAT No. 7,485,186 B2

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