Sustainability Symposium 2016 Wrap-Up

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By Tia Lynn Ivey

managing editor

On Saturday, August 13th, the Madison-Morgan Conservancy and Madison-Morgan Cultural Center partnered again to present the third in a series of symposiums: the Sustainability Symposium.   Inspired by the Sustainability Expo in 2008 and by a recent “Grants to Green” grant received by the Cultural Center, the Sustainability Symposium included lectures by Bourke Reeve of Southface Institute and Luis Imery of the Imery Group, both of whom are experts in their fields of sustainable building technology.  Following the lectures, attendees were invited to take tours of the Cultural Center, Steffen Thomas Museum, and Camp Twin Lakes, all Grants-to-Green recipients.

Bourke Reeve discussed sustainable treatments to historic structures that not only improved energy efficiency, but also retained as much historic material as possible.  Specifically Mr. Reeve debunked the myth that replacing historic windows was the cure for energy loss.  Instead, he said, insulating attics, upgrading HVAC systems, replacing light bulbs with LED lights, and using storm windows are the most effective ways to reduce energy use.

Mr. Imery discussed green building programs like LEED, Earthcraft, Energy Star, and others.  He showed how these programs were more comprehensive than just using green technology like solar, wind, and geothermal technologies.  He discussed the importance of the way buildings are put together, from the ground up, in their placement on the site, to the building materials, to the construction methods, to the inside air quality, to the way they relate and contribute to the surrounding community.  He also showed how Silver Lakes (the development in the West Washington Gateway by the train depot that DDA moved) is working toward LEED Gold status by meeting certain criteria.

Lisa Conner, of Steffen Thomas Museum, spoke about the improvements they made to their building, which resulted in a 46 percent savings on their utility bills.  The Cultural Center’s improvements have resulted in similar savings, allowing them to put more money into programming.

For more information and to see the presenters’ materials, visit the Conservancy’s website ( or the Cultural Center’s website (

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