Friday, January 16, 2009

Green Roof To Feed Homeless in Honolulu

stay tuned for the "AFTER" pics!!

I was very lucky to be invited to be a "fly on the wall" in IHS' Rooftop Aquaponics Garden planning meeting this morning!

As part ot their new "greening" initiative, IHS has made the decision to install a Green Roof on their facilty in an effort to increase their facility's food security and decrease their energy costs. Planning and fund development for a photovoltaic solar electric system is underway.

Because a large percentage of the food served at IHS is donated by the Food Bank, fresh vegetables are rarely available, and nutritional standards sometimes fall below federal USDA guidelines.

The proposed Rooftop Aquaponics Garden will create a sustainable food source, and provide guests with a more nutritional diet, work skills training, and opportunities to contribute to the shelter community operations.

Recirculation aquaculture and hydroponics are combined to grow fish and plants in one integrated ecosystem. The fish waste provides nutrients for the growing plants, and the plants act as a natural filter for the water the fish live in.

The most exciting thing about this project is that it is a solution born out of a pro-active response to the shortage of resources that the economic downturn has brought upon us all.

By taking the time to think and come up with innovative ideas, IHS has solved their initial challenges: 1) how can we continue to provide a secure foodsource and nutritional diet to our guests? 2) how can we improve our efficiency in order to reduce energy costs? AND, look at all the other benefits their GreenRoof solution brings:
  • extend life of their roof system
  • mitigate stormwater
  • reduce sound transmission
  • improve the building's value and asthetics
  • create a potential additional income source
  • contribute to reducing Honolulu's urban core heat island impact
  • have health benefits
  • help reduce air pollution
  • increase the bio-sphere of Honolulu's urban landscape
  • reduce stress for users name a few.

Sustainability has become a buzz word in recent times, and it can be easy to think of "sustainability" simply as "environmentalism", or "eco-friendly". However, sustainability encompasses so much more than "going green".....

Put the word "sustainable" in front of any of the following words, and you cast a renewed focus onto another aspect of the sustainability movement: capitalism, charitable work, entrepreneurship, environment, education, economy, philosophy, philantrhopy, social responsibility, social ventures, even....wait for it....spirituality.

IHS' Rooftop Aquaponics Garden is a great example of how sustainabilty best practices, are really great practices for any organization or business.

Sustainabilty in Business = Innovation in Business = Flourishing Business.

Thinking pro-actively and looking at ways we can be smarter in the way we use the resources allocated to us is the smart thing to do. It is the right thing to do.

To find out more about how to support or donate to the project, contact Kate Bepko, PR and Volunteer Manager at 808-447-2811.

ABOUT IHS: IHS is Oahu's only 24-hour emergency walk-in shelter for men, women and families with children who are homeless. They currently provide 3 hot meals every day, an average of 650 meals a day - 365 days per year. This tremendous effort is possible through the support of the community and volunteers. IHS is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

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