Monday, July 12, 2010

Betty's BUY LOCAL reading list

Hmmm. It's a rainy summer day... too wet play outside, too boring to stay at home inside, yawn... yawn, there's NOTHING to do (isn't this the beginning of one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books?). Betty has a solution for you... Take a walk/bike/ride to the WEST side and go to the newest indie bookstore in town: Over the Moon Bookstore & Gallery in Crozet! Just two doors down from Crozet pizza, this is an all-out indie effort that is community-minded, e-conscious (check out their reclaimed wood book tables) and cozy. (I promise to take pictures next time!)

Break the big box book chains (which shall remain nameless) and be a LOCAL book buyer: pick up one of the essential summer reading musts.

The Better World Handbook; Plenty; Growing Local Value; Animal, Vegetable, Miracle; and Deep Economy are just some of the books about making and keeping local economies vibrant. Find the full list at here:

WHY is this important? You might ask. From the website, here's why...

"The Economy
Spend $100 at a local and $68 of that stays in your community. Spend the same $100 at a national chain, and your community only sees $43.
Local businesses create higher-paying jobs for our neighbors.
More of your taxes are reinvested in your community--where they belong.

The Environment
Buying local means less packaging, less transportation, and a smaller carbon footprint.
Shopping in a local business district means less infrastructure, less maintenance, and more money to beautify your community.

The Community
Local retailers are your friends and neighbors—support them and they’ll support you.
Local businesses donate to charities at more than twice the rate of national chains.
More independents means more choice, more diversity, and a truly unique community.

Now is the time to stand up and join your fellow individuals in the IndieBound mission supporting local businesses and celebrating independents.

IndieBound supports Independent Business Alliances around the country. To find an alliance near you, visit AMIBA or BALLE."

Bookstore hours are 10 to 7pm Monday through Saturday, Sunday noon to 5pm. Call 823-1144 for more details!


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Betty believes in MAKEOVERS!


Today was the opening announcement of Charlottesville's Home Energy Makeover Contest today at City Space and Betty was there among industry leaders, politicians, environmental activists, several Betty board members, and press to hear about the program. Energy is a 'hot' topic these days, so let Betty tell you how to 'cool' your energy costs and possibly win a makeover!

*Is your cooling system running when it doesn't need to be?
*Are there cracks in your doors and windows that are letting the cold/warm air escape thereby increasing your home heating/cooling costs?
*Are you running humidifiers or fans 24/7?
*How tight is the flue on your chimney?

These are among the important questions to be answered when looking at home energy use. LEAP and the home energy contest aims to raise awareness among Cville about the comfort and value of reducing energy use and cost in your home! So enter so that you have a shot at winning a FREE energy assessment (audit) and MAKEOVER.

If you haven't heard by now, LEAP is a community-based non-profit formed by a joint initiative between the City and the County of Albemarle and they recently garnered 1 million dollars in funds to increase energy efficiency right here, beginning with you!! The cool thing about this is the huge amount of money LEAP wants to give right back to the community, to YOU for making positive changes to your home! Whether your home need a lot of help or some help or A LOT of help, please sign up. It's EASY. Just fill out the EASY form online at

The other cool thing about this is that BETTY has a chance to get funds for her programs!! All you have to do on the application is enter the non-profit, BETTER WORLD BETTY. More details:

*Entrants will be selected to receive a free professional home performance assessment and energy makeover worth up to $10,000.

*Typical retrofit measures include: air sealig, duct sealing,adding insulation, tuning or upgrading heating and cooling equipment. Their goal is a 20% or better efficiency gain for these homes.

*Eight runners up will receive free home performance assessments (a $400 value) conducted by certified local contractors.

*Entrants must be City of Charlottesville or Albemarle County residential property owners.

*Registration is open now through August 20 (postmarked or email by midnight)

So take FIVE MINUTES and apply and be sure to put BETTER WORLD BETTY as your favorite non-profit because they will be awarding $1,000 to the organization that brings the most applicants!

THANKS everyone!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Betty floors everyone!!

For the floor

Most builders, architects, designers and homeowners now incorporate sustainable flooring into their home projects, whether it’s for LEED or EarthCraft certification, or simply at the homeowner’s request. Sustainability considerations include use, durability, and aesthetics and your budget. Fortunately, we have many great local options to choose from, living in the heart of Appalachia.

Reclaimed wood is a prime choice. Mountain Lumber Company (founded locally by Willie Drake) carries reclaimed flooring. As for new lumber, the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) label assures conservation of natural resources and fair work conditions. Sustainable Woods only harvests diseased trees from Virginia’s FSC forests (we actually have two FSC-certified forests here), uses animals to pull the trees out, and uses a solar-fired kiln to dry the wood. Other FSC-certified wood floors are an option, but could be coming from Northwest Canada or South America.

Many carpets are now made using recycled products—plastic bottles or cork—or renewables like bamboo. Carpet Plus is the local frontrunner. I recommend asking lots of questions about the materials’ origin and the manufacturing process.

Other options:
Ceramic tile is a durable option, and local manufacturing lessens the embedded energy cost of the product. Linoleum and marmoleum are biodegradable (check for the GreenGuard certification). Concrete floors are hip and definitely long-lasting. They retain cold and heat, which can save on home energy costs. Questions remain about possible pollution in the production process, however.

An expert’s opinion: Charles Hendricks, architect with The Gaines Group and chairman of the Shenandoah Valley Home Builders Green Building Committee, suggests “a sustainably harvested wood floor from Southwest Virginia, with a fallback of a locally harvested wood floor from the Shenandoah Valley.”

I do so like GREEN floors and hope you do too!