"Not only did I want to learn more about how I could be a better steward for the environment, I wanted to connect with others who share this same passion."
Why are you member of COSC?
When I heard there was an organization in Iowa that could help me learn more about sustainable building methods and products, I immediately became a member. Not only did I want to learn more about how I could be a better steward for the environment, I wanted to connect with others who share this same passion. COSC is an excellent resource whether you're looking for the cutting edge of green or just beginning your foray into environmental stewardship.
How has COSC influenced your life?
A few years ago, my husband and I purchased a 1966 home in Des Moines that needed many improvements and a more usable floor plan. Because of my health history, the remodeling needed to be as green as possible. Plus I wanted to demonstrate that beautiful design could be green without being too "granola" or "far out there". It's something I like to call "healthy aesthetic". Through COSC seminars and resources, I learned how to protect the air quality in our home during and after the remodeling process. COSC also educated me on products such as non-toxic plywood and insulation, cork flooring, sustainable wood cabinetry, zero VOC paint, and recycled glass tile, and told me where to find these environmentally-friendly products. COSC was a tremendous resource during a time when most people thought my desire for a "green kitchen" referred to the paint color I'd be putting on the walls.
Tell us about yourself.
As owner of Alley Design Solutions, I specialize in website design, web development, marketing, and branding. I help my clients define and achieve their online goals with effective branding, usability, and analysis of their website statistics. Many of my clients are in the building and construction industry including Heartland Finishes, Grand Homes & Renovations, and Green & Main. I serve on the Simpson College Board of Directors and volunteer with organizations such as Make-A-Wish, Rebuilding Together, and other non-profits. I am married to my high school sweetheart, Chad Alley, and we have a happy toddler named Cameron.
Why is sustainability important to you?
In 2003, I was diagnosed with mercury poisoning after a three-year spiral of "unexplainable" declining health. One of the most important gifts I gained though the health journey that followed was a commitment to protect our environment for the sake of those who inhabit it. I don't want to see others deal with the trauma of environmental illness like I experienced, yet I know many of our nation's health problems likely stem from pollutants in our air, water, and soil. A person's body may or may not be equipped to defend itself from these pollutants. But if each of us begins practicing and inspiring environmental stewardship -- even in small ways -- we'll keep this planet inhabitable. There's a reason for everything you experience in life. Sometimes an experience becomes your passion because you are meant to serve a need in this world. COSC helps me serve this passion.
What are your favorite aspects of your community?
Central Iowa is brimming with enthusiastic, engaged citizens who want to make this a top place for raising families and starting businesses. People who live here are proud of our cities and their progress, so I especially love the optimistic vibe here.
What might help your community become more sustainable?
I'd love to see a ban on chemical yard fertilizers which are a significant source of toxicity in our air, water, and soil. With increased Incentive programs for homeowners and businesses who practice sustainability, I think the general public would be inspired by examples of the benefits that come out of sustainability, such as better health, energy savings, and the peace of mind experienced when actively caring for Mother Earth.
Other than COSC, are there specific products or services that have been particularly helpful to you in your efforts?
Since agriculture is a very important factor in sustainability, farmer's markets make it fun and easy to buy organic, locally grown food. When you eat organic, you help spare yourself and the environment from the use of petroleum-based, toxic fertilizers and pesticides. My family buys locally-raised grassfed meat from Grasstravaganza.
How do you spend your free time?
I love taking my toddler to explore Blank Park Zoo, the Asian Gardens, Gray's Lake, the sculpture garden, farmer's markets, and various trails. I also make time for yoga, swimming, gardening, juicing, and healthy cooking.
Alley Design Solutions, Inc.
Des Moines, Iowa
515-250-3487 | firstname.lastname@example.org