The Evolution of EA
Laverne Williams is a healthy living visionary and has been a Texas pioneer of energy efficient home design since 1975. Williams is recognized for his diligence and dedicated efforts for conserving our environment and health while significantly lowering the cost of living for his clients. He's one of the nation’s top green building professionals and has been awarded The Texas Legacy Project, Egret Award, and Houston Hero for the Environment. Williams has always been an avid lover of nature, and even confessed in our interview that his CB Radio handle in high school was “Nature Lover”. But it wasn't until he began having health issues that he combined it with his degree in architecture.
Feeling unsatisfied with the work he was conducting, he took a six-month sabbatical to reflect on to modify his work to something he was passionate about without damaging his health. He then decided to create an environmentally oriented architectural practice, Environment Associates. This was the first architectural practice dedicated exclusively to “eco-architecture” in the state of Texas. Quickly after its inceptions, clients began to contact Williams due to their own deteriorating health from substances that are prevalent in home design. EA has been providing customers with high performance green homes ever since.
Healthy Home, Healthy Life
Environment Associates mission is to improve quality of life on Earth through conscious indoor and outdoor design by using innovations such as solar power, net zero energy, net zero water, and organic landscaping among various other forms of sustainable technologies and designs. Williams explained that the first step in creating a sustainable and healthful home is the selection of the property. The functioning of a home can be optimized based on its orientation, which varies by location and climate, but performs best with southern exposure. It's also pertinent to have a garden, which confirms that food is clean and healthy.
We also discussed the current imbalance held on Earth, and how it was brought upon by man’s ignorance regarding the necessity for ecological balance. “This is when health problems arise for individuals and the planet. If we are going to have a healthy world we need to stop creating toxic waste while cleaning up the toxins we have already emit into the environment. The first step in doing so is creating an environmentally conscious home,” he explained. EA's project Houston Integral Urban Homeplace in the Heights demonstrates these principles and the interconnections between the land, the neighborhood, the larger city, and the planet as a whole.
Healthy Living Pays
Williams believes the biggest challenge for sustainable and healthful design is the focus on making money and not creating quality of life. His goal is that this mentality will diminish over time through the decreased cost of living for residents of sustainable and healthful homes. This is not seen in the initial costs of creating or modifying a home, but rather the ongoing costs of reduced energy bills, medical bills, and an improved quality of life. The overall effect is a much lower cost of living. Although the advancement in sustainable and non-toxic technologies is exciting, it is exceedingly necessary to ensure that all of our technologies are working to revert our lives back to nature. Williams concludes that “There is a misconception that technology is the answer to many of our problems and I don’t believe it is. I believe mimicking nature is the answer.”
From his work with the Sustainable Building Coalition to the Austin Green Building Program, LaVerne Williams' work has played an instrumental role in growing the green building movement.