Awesome Stories 1.35

Creativity or awesomeness, which comes first?

Luckily I don’t have to decide. This week in Awesome Stories, I explore creativity, amazing eco-projects and general awesomeness.

Creative use of old buildingswalmart library.

There is a whole movement to re-purpose abandoned buildings. Sadly, there are 1000s of abandoned big box stores in the US. Big box stores, let alone abandoned ones, have a large impact on the environment and local economies. Thankfully, Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle creatively transformed an abandoned Walmart in McAllen, Texas. It is now the largest single-floor public library in the United States at 124,500 sq ft! It’s design won the 2012 Interior Design for libraries competition.

Library McAllen, TX


Snap Your Joy

This new video from SoulPancake shows the fun of sharing our joy. Watch it and share some joy!

Creative Net-Zero Homes

Zero-House, Utah

Zero Home: source: Vivint

Utah is the home to what is the first Net-Zero home in zone 5, which is a fairly cold climate. Vivint and Garbett Homes teamed up to build this awesome new Zero Home that will be energy neutral, supplying all it’s energy needs onsite. They accomplished a HERS rating of 5! using PV solar, special insulation, advanced framing design, duct sealing and super efficient air and moisture management.

Hemp Rises from the Ashes

Not literally, but hemp is making a comeback after finding hempcrete structures made in the 6th century! Hempcrete is a pretty amazing material: low inputs to make, easy to work with, high R-value, long lasting, resists moisture, pests, and mold, and actually gets stronger over time by pulling carbon from the air, which is also good for the environment. Hemp is a sustainable crop (easy and fast to grow, needs no fertilizer) with many other industrial uses like paper, clothes and even food. The only problem, and it’s a big one, is that it’s illegal to grow in the US.  While we have silly debates, Europe and Canada have begun growing and using hemp more widely.

Crowdsourcing Gains More Fans

Crowdsourcing is becoming a more common way to finance smaller and private sustainable projects. Abundance Generation is the UK’s largest crowdfunding platform for renewable energy, allowing ordinary people to invest small amounts to fund clean tech projects across the country. They raised over £700,000, yet allowed investments as small as £5 with returns over 8% to investors. So a win for the company, investors, economy and environment!

Growing More Sustainable Cities

Planners and architects are re-imagining how we build cities to be much more sustainable. “The goal of von Hausen’s MVH Urban Planning & Design Inc.,… is to turn the current urban mobility pyramid on its head, placing pedestrians at the top and personal automobiles at the bottom.”  The key is to build in a way that supports how we actually live and work, enhancing social and quality of life aspects. I want to live in this kind of city!

Grow Baby Grow!

The Indian River BioEnergy plant has flipped the switch on the nation’s first commercial cellulose based ethanol plant. They predict an output of eight million gallons of ethanol per year from vegetative, yard, and municipal solid waste. Plus, the plant will produce six megawatts of clean, renewable power annually—enough to run the entire facility and provide excess power to the local community. The project’s gasification-fermentation technology—which produces fuel, heat and power—has its roots in a University of Arkansas research project, supported by a $5 million Energy Department investment. Go Arkansas!

A Grateful Heart

Let’s wrap up with a grateful heart. This is a powerful story of John Kralik and how gratitude transformed his life. He went from a down on his luck man with little to appreciate in his life to a grateful, fulfilled man who has inspired many others to write thank you notes. There is something very personal and powerful about writing or receiving a hand written note, especially one thanking and acknowledging us.  I’m considering adopting this lovely idea. What do you think?

With gratitude for my growing circle of readers, thank you for reading, commenting and sharing the journey!

Blessings, Brad 


4 thoughts on “Awesome Stories 1.35

  1. As always, interesting and thought-provoking shares, Brad. The Snap Your Joy piece takes the cake. It brought a continuous smile to my face. I may just find a way to work it into a future post on joy. I love the positive energy feel. The Kralik piece reminds me of a post I wrote on “A Letter to a Friend.” His story was moving and inspiring. Thanks for linking us!


  2. I REALLY like the idea of re-purposing buildings. It makes me crazy to see a new building going up right next to an empty one that could be added onto, or whatever. It’s been said it’s cheaper, but I’m not sure I believe that. It’s just too bad that the eco housing so often lacks the character I love. Do they HAVE to look so industrial?

    Letter writing, let alone thank you note writing, is said to be a lost art. But I agree that it means so much more than a verbal or electronic “thanks”. Ask any elderly or young person. They’re thrilled to know that someone thinks so much of them as to take the time and spend the energy and money to do it. They LOVE getting mail. Everyone I know loves getting something other than junk and bills! The fact that it’s strongly encouraged to follow-up a job interview also says something as to the still current value of written thank you notes. Besides all that, I just think it’s a lovely, genteel custom that should be continued.


  3. Hi Teresa, Thanks for visiting and commenting again. I have similar feelings and ideas about so much new eco development when there are many empty existing buildings.

    I love giving and receiving hand written notes & cards. And I’m sorry to say that other than Christmas and occasional birthday, Mother’s Day, I don’t write them. I’ve fallen into the convenience trap. Do you hand write many notes?


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