Ahhh! It has been a month without a post! How can that be?
March is by far the busiest month I have had in a very long time. I’m being fueled by PB&J’s and coffee… and my friends, wonderful boyfriend and family have come to my rescue many times. It has gotten so crazy that I have stripped my outfits down to one shoe / one coat style for the week and each outfit is washed, folded and ready to go for the entire week! The clothes effort is a big one – keeping things quality over quantity, sexy yet functional and stylish while maintaining a small, simple wardrobe is very hard but always something I strive for. It is hard when you go from construction to business to casual during your traditional work week… but I always like the challenge. If you’re looking for fashion / style inspiration, look no further to my newest favorite fashion icon, Garance Dore’.
I have a few things up my sleeve which I can’t explain at the moment but will announce shortly. I will say that all of it is much needed and wildly exciting. Here is a secret… check Buffalove Development on instagram hints. All of it is so much fun, crazy, stressful that at times I just turn this song on and dance for the entire thing!
A few things for all of you… I am now on snapchat. All the cool kids are doing it! Username: berniceradle , American Rehab Buffalo is airing on DIY Network again in April , and we’re officially almost ready to kick off the first every Rust Belt Coalition of Young Preservationists event in PGH, April 8,9, 10! You should come but if you can’t, you can follow our preservation shenanigans here.
I had the extreme pleasure of keynoting the Historic Kansas City Old Home Week Preservation Conference this past week!
Instead of flying, Drew and I drove my awesome new orange Subaru XV – spending six days on the road visiting all kinds of cities and friends along the way! We were fueled by random stops for biscuits, ice cream and coffee… we slept in the coolest places including a DIY style loft in downtown STL, in a tiny shotgun style brick house in Louisville, a historic inn in KCMO owned by two super sweet guys and a random airbnb with two cool cats… and we had the chance to meet up with preservationists across the rust belt including Sarah Marsom from Columbus, Michael Allen from STL and Kristine / Amanda / Julie and the rest of the KCMO crew.
About KCMO: With 20,000 people living downtown, a rich history of food and music and a brand new street car starter line rail system, KCMO is a pretty cool city! Kansas City is home to the sweet heat BBQ sauce that everyone loves. They also have shuttle cocks on the lawn of their art museum, an iconic historic plaza built by Nichols (who is also responsible for establishing red lining across America – ugh!), and a cornucopia of incredible parks and parkways laid out by Kessler – all which are extremely vast and well maintained. The KCMO architectural claim to fame may be the “shirt waist” style house that features local limestone on the porch and another 1.5 story above it (second floor and attic).
The KCMO preservation community was all up in arms about Nelle Peters, a grouping of historic tudor style apartment buildings right near the plaza. As you can guess, the owner was demolishing them without a plan. Everyone wanted them saved and I worked with the community to get a petition, heart bombs and Facebook group started… but I am extremely sad to report that I found out today that they have begun tearing them down. KCMO, I am very heartbroken for you tonight.
On a personal level, Drew and I had some great heart to heart conversations, listened to a ton of podcasts and some our favorite bands we listed to were Neon Indian, Tame Impala, Youth Lagoon, Mac Demarco and Tyco. Our trip cost less than two plane tickets, the lowest gas price we paid was $1.38 a gallon and Drew was going nuts over the mid western water towers. We want to badly go back to Louisville, too… it is like an older, slightly more hip Buffalo. I was thrilled to spend some quality time up with my Uncle Norman and Aunt Pauline in KCMO – they came to see me speak!! STL seemed to be our favorite stop – the arch was amazing and we had a delicious breakfast at the Mud House in the Cherokee Historic district! We had a ton of fun!
That wraps it all up!!
This airbnb cat… ha!!
A vacant “shirt waist” house in KCMO.
Love this mid century building in downtown KCMO with the Rocket on it!
New rail lines in downtown KCMO!!
The Nelle Peters Apartments… Very Sad.
The Gem Theatre.
BBQ! (The sweet heat is my favorite!)
Bernice speaking to the Historic Kansas City crew.
Downtown 18th & Vine
A little shotgun beauty in Louisville!
MICHAEL ALLEN, STL’s leading preservationist!
Drew drinking coffee in Louisville at “Please & Thank You”.
I have an important life update to fill you in on.
I have spent four great years at Buffalo Energy doing energy efficiency projects statewide with some of the best people I have ever met. And I spent four years before that at Horizon Realty managing the largest energy efficiency retrofit project in the City. That is EIGHT YEARS doing energy efficiency work in historic multifamily buildings. EIGHT YEARS!
Well, I am shifting career gears a bit – Friday, April 24th 2015 will be my last day at Buffalo Energy and really my last day as a paid professional in the energy efficiency world.
Whoa. That is pretty scary to say out loud… All my work and speaking gigs with NESEA, WNYSEA, Solar Tour, etc… I love and am loved by the energy efficiency industry. We do great work that helps the environment and our community. Why would I leave it? Well, I love what I do but honestly – I am ready to make a big change. My goals have been thrown out the window due to circumstances beyond my control which has left me with an empty slate and has given me the opportunity to redefine myself. Dream big.. then get ready, aim and fire!
It isn’t the change that is scary, it is how you deal with it that matters the most, right??!!
So what’s next?!?!
Most people would assume I would go into real estate development however, I have something even more exciting in the works!
I have accepted the “Regional Director” position with City Dining Cards and will be working to sell unique customer loyalty solutions for local businesses in cities across the rust belt including Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit and many others. If you don’t know about CDC, check them out – they (or should I say “WE”?!) are a group of great people doing very innovative “pro local” work across the US! This means I get to meet and help support local business owners across the rust belt!
This new endeavor is the perfect segue into my ever expanding love for cities, planning and community! It helps me to connect the dots in unique ways, meet great local business owners, talk up Buffalo across the rust belt and to learn what other cities are doing to build communities.
Given my natural love for buildings and preservation, I will never leave buildings entirely!!!
I will still be busy with doing house rehabs for my company Buffalove Development and preservation initiatives with Buffalo’s Young Preservationists… and American Rehab Buffalo is set to air sometime soon on DIY Network – hopefully in May! All three things will keep me PLENTY busy in the preservation / buffalo buildings world… I will just have a different day job, I suppose!
Lastly but most importantly, I wouldn’t be able to do this nor would I even be here without the support, love, time, energy and money from literally hundreds of people. It really does take a village and I am so grateful for being surrounded by so many incredible people who continue to believe in me. I won’t name names but y’all know who you are. ❤
Here is a slideshow of some of my energy efficiency photos throughout the years… XOXO!
According to my wordpress annual summary, I had 19,000 people visit this website in 2013. Wowza!!
Don’t worry, I will post my personal 2013 breakdown on this blog very shortly of photos, updates and major events – 2013 was a truly unforgettable year!
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog. Check it out!
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 19,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
The Best of Buffalo nominations are out! I am so happy to be a part of this list.. regardless of who wins, it is such an honor to be on a list with these amazingly inspiring people and groups! Thanks to everyone who voted for me and/or BYP!!
The day has come! Take off work! Cancel that meeting!
We need YOU to be at City Hall – 13th Floor Common Council chambers at 2pm on Tuesday, March 26th.
The common council legislative committee is hosting one public meeting before they decide on the fate of Trico’s local landmark status.
We need you there to show your support!
Why is this important??? If Trico becomes a local landmark, we will have more say in what happens to Trico (aka – your personal tax dollars). This gives us the right to have an open process about this nationally registered historic building.
Tuesday, March 26th. 2pm. Common Council Chambers.
Bring a friend, a co worker and a relative.
SAVE TRICO. www.savetrico.com
Here is my complete write up for the Artvoice influence questionnaire that was sent around to a select 300 people… read below. Let me know what you think!
For this week’s cover story, we polled a number of local folks about positive and negative influences in our region—people, ideas, circumstances. In the days to come, we’ll publish the responses we received in full here.
1. What people/ideas/circumstances do you consider positive influences in this region?
I see the most positive influences in our region being from the people and local organizations that are on the ground making changes, creating unique space & places and organizing local citizens to take ownership and be a part of rebuilding their community.
A great example of leadership and influence is PUSH Buffalo. They understand that social capital is just as important as financial. Their NetZero home on Winter St. is an exceptional neighborhood centerpiece, one that challenged the traditional design standards often associated with affordable housing. The NetZero house, located within the Green Economic Development Zone has helped to educate thousands of local citizens on energy efficiency, employed hundreds of local people through construction and has inspired many others to invest in the West Side.
For me, there are hundreds of inspirational stories, people and organizations that are pushing forward for our local neighborhoods and residents. These stories are what keep me here, keep me moving forward and make me loveBuffalo! Their involvement is incredibly inspiring and unique and is undoubtedly one of the important driving pieces to the puzzle of success for our region.
2. What people/ideas/circumstances do you consider negative influences in this region?
Often times, many people stand in the way of bright, young talented people who bring new ideas, new energy and new outlook to our region. If we want to keep people here and attract others, we need to give them what they need to encourage them to grow, excel and succeed.
Buffalo no longer competes with the Rochester’s of the world; we are competing on a much larger scale with cities of all sizes. Due to the internet and social media, we actually have the ability to attract people from large and small cities!
Cities like Columbus, Baltimore and Milwaukee get it. They implement higher design standards, add bike lanes, support food trucks and start up businesses, and encourage development of unique spaces and historic buildings. Implementing policies and procedures will attract the young, college educated people who are drivers and leaders in a 21st Century economy. If Buffalo can attract and retain this group of people, we will thrive as this wave of millennials start to become the power players and decision makers.
Personally, I have a lot of ideas when it comes to planning, preservation and buildings that can help lead Buffalo into being a 21st century city that attracts people, new ideas and investment. I will say this – the current system that is in place is not working very well. The systems itself are the barriers to development, investment and creative design. A great example is our vacancy crisis. You want to know why we have thousands of vacant buildings and lots? Or why some incredible houses sit vacant? Try to buy one.
3. What people/ideas/circumstances do you think ought to be more influential in this region?
We need to empower the local folks that challenge the normal ideals, ones who have proven success after breaking barriers and taking risks. The Prish Moran’s, Aaron Bartley’s and Rocco Termini’s of the world are great examples of putting pride, excitement and love into their work. Rocco will never turn down giving a tour of the Hotel Lafayette because he knows it inspires others to buy, invest and believe in Buffalo. We need more NetZero buildings in Buffalo. We need more neighborhood coffee shops for people to meet, eat and plan revolutions. People like this continue to break barriers, challenge the norm and prove that success is not only determined by a five year financial payback. They have taken risks, proven success and deserve to have more influence in our regional decisions.
I wanted to do a quick wrap up of my NESEA Building Energy (Be13) experience.
First of all, I thought it would be tough to beat getting the entire NESEA building nerdy crowd to say the words “think urban, think sexy” …. but this years conference beat it!
The overall conference was amazing. It was so much fun.. I am still recovering! There was a great vibe, a lot of newbies and attendance was at an all time high. Boston was windy and rainy but inside people were learning about buildings, cities, mechanicals and so much more. There was a lot of Buffalo representation – Chris Hawley from the City of Buffalo, Jerry Young from Young & Wright architects and Megan McNally was in attendance and/or presented. Go Buffalo!
If you are interested in NESEA – become a member! Not only do you get a discount on the conference but you do get to meet, drink and learn with the inventors/doers/shakers in the building science industry. www.nesea.org <– See the website for details on membership, events and information.
I have really great news !
Matt Root and I have been selected as the co-vice chairs of the ENTIRE conference for BE2014! HOLY COW! With Marc Sternick, Matt Root and I – we make a fun, dynamic team. This means I will be helping to organize, market, find cash and move the conference forward for 2014 and 2015. NESEA is such a wonderful organization and I am happy to help dedicate my time towards making the NESEA conference in Boston even bigger and better!
The Retrofit for Resilience: Cities track that Robert Leaver and I co created had VERY high attendance! That is a BIG deal for us because this is a whole new subject and was a very risky endeavor. Building scientists don’t usually think about Cities.. but it was great to see so much interest in it! With great risk comes great reward… Yay! I am looking forward to seeing how this track progresses over the next couple of years. Resiliency is a big topic these days!
Many thanks goes out to all of the NESEA planning staff, volunteers, NESEA employees, presenters and attendees for making this NESEA the best NESEA Building Energy conference I have ever experienced.