The Ojai Valley Green Coalition operates throughout the Ojai Valley because of the tireless efforts of a long list of volunteers. In April we were pleased to welcome Vina Lustado further into the fold as our newest board member. She has been working on the built environment council and helping as a volunteer with various events since early 2010.
Vina comes to us with a background in sustainability and is the founder of Sol Haus Design, an design firm specializing in sustainable building. Vina holds a degree in architecture from USC and comes with 20 years of experience with firms in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.
Vina tells us, a highlight of her career was a German international fellowship researching ecological housing where she addressed issues of affordability and sustainability. That focus became the basis of her own firm.
“I value the concept of simplicity in design and try to lead a lifestyle in line with that belief,” says Vina, who having spent her childhood in the Philippines, learned that simple lifestyle in a household with nine brothers and sisters.
Vina treasured that simplicity even after she immigrated to the United States at age 7 and her family “settled in the urban sprawl of L.A.” “As an immigrant, I’ve lived in many different places but I never found a place I could call ‘home’.” That is until she found herself in Ojai.
“I guess you can say Ojai “came” to me. I had been living in Ventura for about seven years and was in transition after an extended trip to South America. A general contractor named Reggie Wood needed help with a residential project in Upper Ojai and it seemed like a perfect opportunity.” Since moving to Ojai in the spring of 2010, Vina loves to spend her time rock climbing, hiking, biking, or just taking in the beauty of Ojai. “Being in nature always nourishes my soul.”
Besides having the professional credentials, Vina has also been involved with nonprofit work including Habitat for Humanity’s Green Team, the Global Village Team in Alaska and Italy’s Volunteers for Peace.
Vina considers herself lucky to have worked alongside such positive and exceptional people in creative environments and looks forward to adding to that experience while working with the Ojai Valley Green Coalition. “I proudly call Ojai my home,” added Vina. “It’s the first time I can utter those words. I’m so proud to be part of this community.”