How's that for a huge headliner :-) so...maybe it wasn't the type of event that shakes the world though it was a heck of a lot of fun packed into 4 hours.
In cooperation with the California Resource Recovery Association (CRRA at http://www.crra.com/index.shtml) and the wonderful Judi Gregory, the local Branch of the US Green Building Council established a beachhead for future, large scale tours of LEED Certified properties. It was a quiet, soft opening of sorts with 14 people having ties to both the CRRA and ties to the USGBC. Fascinating people with fascinating backgrounds all gathered with the intent to move throughout a 110 degree day and see the progress of "green" in our Desert's built environment.
We met at Rancho Las Palmas at 1:00 and by 1:30 we were at our first stop at the City of Palm Desert Visitor’s Center and the Henderson Center where our City's Chamber of Commerce meets (http://www.palm-desert.org/visiting-palm-desert/visitor-center) And thus began the tour where the awesome Heather Buck guided the group through a comprehensive, ground-up discussion of both properties...one LEED Silver and the other Platinum.
On the bus and next off to Vista Dunes in La Quinta by 2:30 in (http://www.vistadunescourtyardhomes.com/leed.html) for a tour hosted by Assistant City Manager Doug Evans and Reed...great stuff...reality. Low income housing with high life value living...a place where Cap X was replaced with Op X and the comfort of the people came before the comfort of the investment throughout the projects construction cycle. We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Doug for all of his hard work AND his Tour Guide skills :-)
Next we were off to The O'Donnell Home in Palm Springs...a LEED Platinum residence designed and built by...in my humble opinion...one of the most talented, back-to-basics Architects that graces the Valley; Lance O'Donnell. By 4:00 we were at the home and greeted by Lance O’Donnell. We were expecting to simply walk around the property though Lance...truly because he is such a great guy...and because he saw some suffering on the heat withered faces of those on the tour...allowed us to enter his indoor space and thus began one of the greatest one-on-one conversations on the thinking of green that I have ever been a part of. His candid and thoughtful discussion with the group left no stone unturned and his open-book style....you could just see... sparked an even greater passion in everyone present to go back from where they came from and hold the torch of sustainability even higher. Great stuff...very unique meeting...and everyone involved had the treat of seeing their first Platinum plaque :-) For those on the tour you will laugh remembering where Lance actually had it "hidden" though we are all sure that once the grand opening is official he
We then wound our way through the 111 Strip with Captain Chuck as our Driver Guide winding up at Rancho Las Palmas at 5:15 where we parted ways. A successful event...one where Heidi Holmes (our Branch Co-Chair) and I could co-host a meaningful, interesting inside view into what we strive for every day as volunteers for the USGBC. This tour is…I anticipate…was the first of many to come in our Valley community.