The “Starbucks” of Sustainability

Lucas Hamilton
In my travels across the county, I am seeing a new phenomenon in the sustainability movement – regional sustainability or green clearinghouses.  These are places where people can come together to share information, experiences, and get recommendations for all things Green.  LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and Green Consultants are setting up shop to provide services and information for anyone interested in learning more about sustainability and providing a broad array of services and information.  The hope is that it will lead to business.
This is an example of the emerging green economy.  These are new businesses that are being created to meet the demand for information.  Often, people want to be able to go to a brick and mortar location to speak directly with people who can answer questions and provide services particularly when it relates to building improvements.
These local clearinghouses can also provide training sessions both for contractors and consumers as well as information about programs or incentives that are available locally.  Looking for information on rebates from utilities?  Find a green clearinghouse – they should be able to help.
From downtown Boston to Portand, Oregon to Upstate New York these clearinghouses are popping up all over the country.
Another interesting, international movement – very organic, self-organizing – is called GreenDrinks.  This is a grassroots initiative where people interested in green and sustainability get together and share ideas and information in a happy hour type of setting. These events are very simple and unstructured, but many people have found employment, made friends, developed new ideas, done deals and had moments of clarity.  These events are happening all over the world.  Just think, you can travel to Europe or South America and hook-up with green professionals through the GreenDrinks organization.
If anyone is associated with a green clearinghouse or has attended a GreenDrinks event, I would love to hear about it.
Lucas Hamilton is Manager, Building Science Applications at CertainTeed Corporation