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Surrounded by desks filled with building plans and blueprints, I gathered with other members of the community on Wednesday, April 26th at Moseley Architects in the heart of Scott’s Addition to learn about sustainability.

Aside from bringing my reusable bags to Trader Joe’s (if I remember), recycling, and turning off the faucet while brushing my teeth (thanks Mom), my understanding of sustainability is thin. Previous Salons on food and storytelling have been more in my wheelhouse, and I walked in with much more comfort knowing I had a solid foundation surrounding those issues.

During the event, we watched previously recorded TED talks from scientists Alex Steffen and David Mackay on the reality and future of sustainable energy. Then, representatives from Apex Clean Energy, Drive Electric RVA, Integrated Power Systems of Virginia, and Sigora Solar took the stage for a panel discussion and audience Q&A.

It was eye opening, and slightly terrifying, to hear about the current state of our environment. For example, in Steffen’s talk he claimed there could be “upwards of 200 million refugees by the year 2020 because of climate change and political instability.” Even though some of the information was alarming, it was simultaneously encouraging to see how we can work together as a society to create greener practices. One of these hopeful ideas was a merry-go-round that was invented to pump water while kids play.

Sure, many of the terms and research went a little over my head (see graph below), but I walked away with more information than I had before. For instance, did you know there’s a flower that changes color to detect landmines? Me neither!


(Vaguely Intimidating Graph)

(Landmine-Detecting Flower)

Creating awareness and opening our minds is what Salons are all about. They create space for both the novice and the expert because no matter where you are on that spectrum, there’s always a chance to broaden your perspective and learn something new about the world around you.

It’s our hope these Salon events spread ideas, spark discussion, and encourage us all to get involved with the amazing groups doing exceptional work in our city, and help bring these ideas to life. Special thanks to Moseley Architects for hosting the event, Ellwood Thompson’s for the food donation, and the following organizations for their involvement. You inspire us, and give life to so many positive changes in our community.


Thanks to our moderator, panelists, and facilitators from the following organizations:

Tyson Utt, Apex Clean Energy
Charles Gerena, Drive Electric RVA
Sean Ingles, Integrated Power Sources of Virginia
Drew Gallagher, Sigora Solar

Wendy Fewster, Richmond Region Energy Alliance

JT Scherzer, Balzer and Associates
Hannah Fuerhoff, Richmond Region Energy Alliance
James Wallace, Virginia Community Capital
Nick Lingon, Integrated Power Sources of Virginia
Stephenie Harrington, Dominion

Let’s Keep the Conversation Rolling!
Drive Electric RVA would like to share some information with you all regarding their upcoming events around town:
May 19: Learn About … the Bolt and the Volt
June 15: Learn About … Electric Go-Carts
September 9: National Drive Electric Week Event at South of the James
September 15: Learn About … Wireless Charging

We hope that you will continue the conversations that we’ve just begun and explore new ways to incorporate more sustainable practices into your everyday lives.