Business slow? Volunteer! via green modern architect Brandy LeMae of Candy Shop. [BGBG, ReSource Conservation, Boulder, AIA, Yes1A.org]

Via on Nov 17, 2008

You’ve heard the news haven’t you? The economy is down.

Times aren’t quite as rosy as they have been. Many small business owners are experiencing a slow down at work. What do they do during the slow times? My husband Joseph Vigil and I own VaST architecture, have had little work lately—so we’ve found some ways to keep busy and give back to our wonderful community.

Rather than just sitting on our hands waiting for the next paying job to come in, Joseph and I are making the most of our down time by volunteering for community organizations close to our hearts.

Joseph has been on the Board of Directors of the Boulder Green Building Guild (BGBG) since its inception, but in 2008 he stepped up to be Board President and he sits on the Membership Committee. A couple weeks ago when a call came in from the Northern Colorado Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) asking if Joseph was interested in being on their Board, he looked at his open calendar and said, “Yes,” without hesitation. “What better time to volunteer then when business is slow?” In addition to these two boards, Joseph can also be found at University Hill Elementary School Improvement Team Meetings and working with Arapahoe Ridge High School as an Advisor to their Construction Trades Program.

Earlier this year when the Center for ReSource Conservation (CRC) decided to move their offices, Brandy and Joseph offered free design and architecture services to the organization. This is an organization we really believe in and we appreciate the work they do, so when they asked us for help at a time when our schedule wasn’t too full, it was very easy to say yes. The CRC offices are now complete and open to the public!


Joseph’s volunteer schedule keeps him pretty busy, but I also wanted the opportunity to do my part. So when Ken Regelson called me a couple months ago about volunteering for the Yes on 1A Campaign Committee, I was happy to put it on my schedule. I ended up creating the Yes1A.org logo, yard sign, postcard, flyers and print advertising.

In addition to the 1A Campaign, I also helped the BGBG with graphic design projects from time to time, and just put in about 10 hours working on a community presentation on green building materials sponsored by the BGBG.


And, if all that isn’t enough,  Joseph and I, along with our 7-year old daughter Carmen, are a volunteer host family for Youth for Understanding (YFU). This year we were a welcome family to a 15-year old from Yokohama, Japan.

~ Via Brandy LeMae, my favorite modern mostly green architect (featured in DWELL, my favorite modern mostly green magazine) who put together the Candy Shop, my favorite super-green co-office ever.

About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | facebook.com/elephantjournal | twitter.com/elephantjournal | facebook.com/waylonhlewis | twitter.com/waylonlewis | Google+ For more: publisherelephantjournalcom

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5 Responses to “Business slow? Volunteer! via green modern architect Brandy LeMae of Candy Shop. [BGBG, ReSource Conservation, Boulder, AIA, Yes1A.org]”

  1. Joseph says:

    If VaST is only “mostly green” who “is” green? And why? Can any impact humans have on our ecosystem have absolutely “no” impact? Aren’t humans inherently “not green”?

    Joseph Vigil here, just taking exception with your comment of referring to us as “mostly green”. Love elephant though, nice work!

  2. elephant journal admin says:

    Don’t you do projects that aren’t LEED or 100% as-green-as-can-be? I thought you did a lot of sustainable work, but sustainability often depends on clients’ wishes, no? Do you source materials locally whenever you have choice? Do you buy materials at local indie instead of Home Depot? Honest questions–what you do is amazing and far ahead of the curve, in any case! And gorgeous!

  3. Joseph says:

    Our goal, for every project we are involved in, is to make it as green as possible, no exceptions. Ultimately the Client has the final say, but we try to steer them in as green a direction as possible and make sure they can make very educated decisions as we move through the design process. “Green” means different things to different people, and priorities change from client to client. Right now our primary focus is carbon footprint reduction. We always try to use locally sourced materials and products, I always go to McGuckin’s or Boulder Lumber before even considering Home Depot, and even then it is excruciating to set foot in there.
    LEED is a whole other conversation.
    I always enjoy being put to task, I sleep better at night knowing that there are others out there who are paying attention.
    Thanks for the great work!
    Keep it up!

  4. elephant journal admin says:

    Wow, that’s great to hear. That kind of fidelity is inspiring, and still rare.

    And btw, I’d call myself ‘mostly green’–I ride a bike 365 days a year, eat organic, shop local almost all the time, shop rarely…and yet (carbon footprint-wise) with an only once-a-year flight to NYC my impact on the earth is still such that there’d have to be six planets to sustain the Waylon Lewis species, were we all to live like me.
    So, with that in mind, elephant focuses on ‘mindfulness’ instead of simply, merely green—doing our best, making the better of two imperfect choices in every moment, every day, is something we can do.

  5. Patti says:

    Just saw your home on HGTV and absolutely love your green design ideas. I have been workin on some easy modern art and was wanting to know if your wife would be willing to tell me the type of paints that she used on the wheat board? Would these be acrylics or what? Thanks so much. My 3 children and I were going to try the same type of project in hopes that it turns out as nice as yours. Happy Holidays

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