Intern Perspective – Karin Detrick

Karin Detrick


design background? Well, besides configuring rooms out of dresser drawers and space-planning with books and various kitchen utensils for Barbie when I was little, I was (1) A “clean freak” and (2) A minimalist. Everything had it’s place and clutter was not welcome.  After my parents divorced, my mother hired an interior “decorator” to bring our house up to date. I was enamored with this concept of “making a space “pretty” or “cool” or “dramatic”.  But, after my mother died, my sister and I decided to take over the family’s medical transcription business my mother had worked hard to build for 30 years. Working from home was a privilege that allowed me to be there when my kids walked home from school everyday. I started a staging business just before the real estate market  began to slide. It’s very laborous work and for a few years kept me happy… “making spaces “pretty”, “cool” or “dramatic”. Simultaneously, I decided to get a degree in Interior Design at West Valley College. I’ve since graduated and am enrolled in the Internship Program where I’m gaining a great deal about USGBC, LEED and sustainability. I’m also interning for an interior designer in Saratoga and really appreciate it as well. I’m learning a ton about the business and will move on in time when I’m confortable going it alone… soon I hope.
How did you get interested in sustainable design? I grew up hearing the words of my sister, “Waste not want not”.  She was 12 years my senior and had three kids by the time she was 22. I was over their house ALL THE TIME(!) I didn’t really know what these words, “waste not want not” meant, but by her modeling the behavior associated with that, it settled somewhere in my DNA and I thank her for that. Fast forward, while taking Principles of Green Design with Anna, I felt like Rip Van Wrinkle, like I’d just woke up after being asleep for 20 years! (lol) I absolutely loved it! I hold Anna in high regard as a true steward of the planet and it was then that I realized this was the direction my life was supposed to go.
What are you working on this semester? As a freshman involved in the Internship Program, I wanted to jump in and catch up. I joined Sunita in the Innovation in Operations category and so far it’s been pretty fulfilling. The credits chosen were only a few and the following is a small slice of the whole pie.
1.1 – Examplary Performance: It’s kind a like a bonus or, as Bill says, “extra credit”. It can be achieved as a bi-product of unexpectedly great results in another category. Pursuing twenty-one categories with which to achieve EP points(!) so I don’t really do much here but maybe enter info to LEED Online. Maybe I just play cheerleader. 🙂
1.2 – Innovative approach to an Environmental Benefit: Which will basically beeducation; getting the students involved in the research, planning and implementation of the building improvements leading up to LEED certification, emphasizing how educating the public is the first step toward environmental stewardship. So everything we’re doing will help write the “program” for this.
1.3 – PC 44: EQ – Ergonomics Strategy:  Sunita and I wrote and conducted an Ergonomic Survey. We hope to gain insight into how the building has been “humming”. The results are preliminary but there’s definitely an issue with the building’s HVAC system. Most classrooms compained of hot and cold extremes which has been apparent since day one. Other than that, most students as well as faculty have no complaints pertaining to comfort, either from an ergonomics standpoint, lighting, or indoor air quality. 🙂
1.3 – PC 7 EQ – Exterior Noise Control: Noise level measurements need to be performed. The goal is to make sure the building is not causing exterior noise to adjacent properties or public right of way. This will require a professional, but we’re considering our options.
1.3 – PC 59: EQ – Occupant Engagement: Enabling occupants to participate in energy efficient behavior should improve a building’s energy performance and get all occupants engaged with some educational method to build awareness. We’re working on getting energy meters and have them stream “real-time” information to the monitors in the building.
2 – LEED Accredited Professional: There are a few on board… Anna, John and Eve. I’m studying at present for the exam.
the highlight of the internship for you? The highlight would have to be our meetings with the client(s) which I’m always very energized afterwards. And actually performing the survey. Talking with the students and faculty was quite interesting.
what have you learned? I’ve really learned a lot. The words, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” come to mind quite often. It kind of puts me at ease with the process which is a very long, long and tedious one. I’ve learned patience is important, compromise is an art, but working along side such amazing people who all share the same goal is a true joy.

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