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Why I Chose to Become a NESEA Lifetime Member

by Michael Hindle

06/28/2018 - 11:53

NESEA Lifetime Member Michael Hindle recently spoke with Executive Director Jennifer Marrapese about why he chose to become a NESEA Lifetime Member. You can learn more about Lifetime Membership here.

Can you talk a bit about your history with NESEA?

When I first got involved with Passive House, I kept hearing about people going to NESEA, so I thought, “I have to go check this group out.” I submitted a proposal to present on the Weinberg Commons project and it was accepted. Since then, I’ve been coming to the Boston conference as an attendee and presenter ever since. I was also involved as a presenter at the Wayland Passive House BuildingEnergy Pro Tours.

Being far away (in the Baltimore area), I can’t really participate in NESEA on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, but those conferences have meant a lot to me.

Pictured above: At the BuildingEnergy Pro Tour of the first Passive House in Wayland, MA on August 7, 2015.

What inspired you to become a Lifetime Member?

I know it sounds corny - but it was the word “LOVE.” I was inspired by the Distinguished Service Award Winner, David Foley, and Jamie Wolf, who introduced him. I felt a part of his spiritual and professional family, never even having known him - just hearing him be introduced and hearing him speak.

That was it for me. There was no question that this is the organization that embodies what I believe in. We may be building focused, but there’s not a person here (at NESEA) who doesn’t know that buildings are about humans in their environment and our social interactions. Yes, we may be technologically focused, but we act out of love. We’re technologically focused but spiritually driven.

That is the only acceptable way to be technically focused, because progress for its own sake doesn’t lead to well being inherently. It seems like every technological advancement represents both benefit and harm unless profoundly guided by spiritual ideas of compassion and love and equity.

Dave Foley wasn’t the only person who expressed these ideas. I went to the closing forum, and several people talked about equity and love. Why else would we do any of this?

Being technological does not equal progress - witness what we’ve done to the planet - everything carries a cost and a harm. Within the NESEA community, we are in a unique position to try to work with natural systems to achieve progress without the harm.

I’ve been to other conferences and part of other communities. NESEA as an organization represents these ideas in the best professional home for me because NESEA represents my own ideas and values most fully.

Why now?

NESEA Night revealed through those individuals the fundamental decency and positive mission of the organization. That’s why I decided to become a Lifetime Member that day as opposed to any other day.

Also, two things: 1. our situation is incredibly grave with respect to climate change and social justice; and 2. with recent work that has been shared at NESEA conferences by people like Jacob Deva Racusin and Ace McArleton, the regenerative design potential represents an opportunity of real hope to tackle this problem and even reverse it.

People like Jacob and Ace and many others in the NESEA community, are the reason NESEA doesn’t just feel like a bunch of energy technicians to me. They exude warmth and a desire to pursue efficiency as one aspect in the more comprehensive dynamic of our interventions in natural systems, including respect, humility, and natural beauty.

I don’t want us just to drive off the cliff more slowly. Within the NESEA community, there are energy experts who can reduce harm, but also people who care about regeneration and restoration, and who are doing that work.

Why would you encourage others to do the same?

This community is working hard to propose restorative solutions, and at this very moment we can harness this wonderful energy and have the greatest impact. We need a strong organization to do that. NESEA is well organized, well governed and high quality. And it’s really only a few bucks a month given the payment plan I worked out with Katie Schendel. Everyone should do it.

NESEA is not just any energy efficiency or building science organization. It does a particularly good job of holding all the things I care about in one vessel. If we don’t talk about love, heart, spirit, and equity, we’re lost.

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Michael became a Passive House Consultants in early 2010, and completed the Certified Passive House Builder Training in 2014. He is owner and principal of Passive to Positive, and consults on Passive House, zero-energy, and Living Building Challenge projects. His projects include single and multi-family residential, small commercial projects, new construction and retrofits from New Hampshire to Washington DC. He specializes in foam free high performance design and retrofits.

He is currently endeavoring to retrofit a 1954 stone, mid-century modern home to meet net-zero and resilient...

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