Hi, my name is Larry Lucas. I am licensed architect, certified passive house consultant (CHPC®), and historic preservationist.
My experiences in the public and private realms, and with grass-roots community groups, have given me a unique vision for community-wide sustainable development. It’s something I want to share with you.
Under the surface, in your community, there is a greener paradigm waiting to be discovered and we all play a part. Lucas Sustainable is dedicated to empowering you to build greener places that foster health, community, and legacy. Together we can all live fuller lives today and leave a better world to our children.
The Green Heart Town blog is about renewing your home, neighborhood and downtown from the inside out. I hope you will subscribe and contribute.
+ Nature & Nurture...
From my first memories, I have had a heart for the natural world.
Southeast Oklahoma was a beautiful place to grow up, surrounded by mountains, lakes and trees. Like many kids near nature, I built forts, climbed trees and caught tadpoles. A full life meant spending a lot of time outdoors, tagging along to check the cows, participating in Scouting and fishing with my Dad.
Learning about caring for the land was inherent in these outings. Environmental stewardship became concrete through many wonderful experiences in Scouting. My Scoutmaster, Mr. G, taught us that "we always leave things better than we found them”.
+ Finding Home...
By age 10, my friends and I rode bikes and skateboard everywhere in town. No smart-phones, kids! I just had to be home by dinner. This was the late 80’s, and the Internet had not yet brought everyone inside and online.
After I found Architecture in college, I knew I had found my calling. I think that most architects are inborn with a love of nature. Designer-types just appreciate its underlying order, unity and freeness.
After college, my heart ached to work on projects that centered on sustainable thought. However, I found the hard truth was not very green. Many architects and their clients saw sustainable design as an additional effort, added cost, or technical difficulty.
I experienced a paradigm shift in 2011, when I became the Oklahoma Main Street Architect. Although, I had always felt an innate love for the old parts of town, I soon discovered why.
+ It Takes a Village...
At Main Street, my focus is assisting our program’s Main Street America™ communities protect, restore and modernize their historic buildings. I also provide direction on district-wide planning and development issues such as walkability, upper floor re-use, public improvements, and municipal policy, among others.
Working with so many wonderful grassroots community groups has provided a stream of insight into something truly sustainable. Seeing a home, an historic property, a neighborhood, or even an entire community discover its heart again is such a rewarding experience!
I also apprectiate modern, high-performance buildings. In 2015, I was the first licensed architect in Oklahoma to become a Certified Passive House Consultant, CPHC®. The Passive House is the most energy efficient building standard available today. They are efficient, quiet, healthy, resilient and very inexpensive to operate.
Why This Blog?
The places we love need you and I to make them stronger. The Green Heart Town blog is about renewing your home, neighborhood and downtown from the inside out.
+ Lost America...
Some time ago, I realized that the American Dream was dying! The great communities I remember from childhood are becoming harder to find. All but gone are places with idyllic tree-lined streets; the corner store; neighbors that are like extended family; and, packs of kids roaming together.
A half century of poor development practices has caught up with us! These practices were our demise as we championed homogenized development; driving a bit further; and building larger, less-efficient homes to own and operate.
Strong downtowns gave way to strip malls. Unique became homogenized. Boutiques became big-boxes. Vernacular building traditions were lost to mass production, and popular culture reigned over good sense.
Our Greatest Generation, the Baby Boomers, and many Generation X’ers (like me) have experienced living in sustainable communities. We “shopped local” before it was a thing, lived close to the land, ate homegrown produce, enjoyed parades and favored relationships over things.
Will our environment, communities, and local heritage continue to decline? It is our decision. If we become a little more conscious today, we can live fuller lives, build a better tomorrow, and pass down a legacy to our children.
+ Having a Vision...
Let me paint a picture with you. Can you imagine living in a community with engaging public spaces and unique heritage architecture; vibrant neighborhoods that are safe and walkable for every age; and green homes that are healthy, comfortable and energy efficient?
Several months ago, I woke up in the middle of the night with a wild realization. I grabbed a note pad and wrote…for a long time.
I felt like I was standing at a crossroads. Exactly at the place where green architecture, sustainable planning and historic preservation all met together. What did this mean?
These paths were related, and my experiences had brought me to this exact place, so I could develop insights into the relationships and synergies between them.
I cannot say where the ideas came from. Some artists believe that creative inspiration comes from the Muses, but I prefer to believe it was the Lord at work.
+ The Road Ahead...
Blog writing is not something I dreamed of beginning at 40, but I am pretty excited!
Through writing, I hope to relate concepts of sustainable design to insights that we can all use. I plan to put a spin on sustainability, by looking back at history for lessons that we may have lost over time, and reuniting them with the best modern thought and technology.
We will focus on the realms that we all experience in our communities: our homes, neighborhoods, and downtowns. The principles of sustainable development prove these realms are firmly connected.
Every existing home and building, every plot of land, and every community has a unique story, and you are at both the beginning and end of this story right now. Where will your story lead these places?
+ Why this Blog...
You probably want to know why this blog exists. Why would I take the time?
- To jump into these topics deeply. If I don't commit to finding my own conclusions, then I may never understand what is best.
- To create a place for conversation. As a designer, I understand that great ideas happen through open collaboration.
- To cataloge our best thoughts, solutions, and examples in one place
- To share what we find with others.
- To inspire places that maximize life and legacy in your own green heart town.
- To love my family, my neighbors, and my community. Since my daughters were born, I have given infinite weight to the “why” I need to leave the world better than I found it. This blog is going to help me do that.
+ Weekly Posting Schedule...
I am planning to send regular blog updates on Thursdays. Periodically, I may also send an update on Mondays with something practical I learned in the field.
I hope that you feel welcome subscribe and contribute. I look forward to the conversation ahead, and building community with you.
Interested in learning more about sustainable design for your home, neighborhood, or downtown? Lucas Sustainable advises on select projects that create legacy for our next generation. With the right approach Green Architecture is something we can all enjoy today, through energy upgrades, green remodeling, or a new high-performance home. Outside the home, Sustainable Planning & Green Development begins at the neighborhood level, while in concert with smart community policy. Our downtown historic districts are especially important and Historic Preservation can restore their vitality. Please send us message from the Contact page, and subscribe to the blog to get the latest updates.
My blog is built and hosted on Squarespace. I am using their Bedford template. The website fonts are Museo family and Myriad Pro. Michael Foster helped me get started on the layout. Trey from Pixelmongers brought the brand concept to life. The pencil illustrations were deftly handled by Craig Ridenour, AIA. John Pleasant Photography managed to make my mug shot look professional. Unless otherwise noted, the other photos on the site are either purchased from IStockPhoto, downloaded on Pixabay, Unsplash, and others, have unrestricted copyright (eg Flickr: The Commons), or were taken by me. Code plugins were purchased from Square Studio.