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dimebag1980

Cities making "green" decisions

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I know a lot of cities are really doing things these days to make life more sustainable for current and future generations, including designing "green" buildings and such. I'd be interested in hearing what "green" projects your own cities have in the works, and I'd like to start by adding my own. Why not boast of what your city is doing? Be proud that your city is helping to lead the way into the future!

Shreveport, Louisiana... not exactly the first city you'd think of when you think "green," but there are groups like Shreveport Green whose primary focus is on sustainability and beautification, since those two can go hand-in-hand. Planting trees can help cleanse the air, but at the same time it helps to make a city just a little bit more beautiful.

In downtown Shreveport, a building which once served as a high-rise symbol for the once-booming oil industry in this area, Petroleum Tower, is now being renovated into a fully self-sufficient green building. The building will produce all the energy it needs to function from day to day, on its own. Here is a topic I posted here on Urban Planet in the Shreveport-Bossier forums back in April of this year on this green project: Petroleum Tower to go Green!

Another project in the works... a very ambitious project... is called the Green Agurs Farmers Market. It's obviously a play on words, mixing "Green Acres" with "Agurs," which is a heavy industrial district north of downtown Shreveport. On the northern fringe of the Agurs Industrial District sits an old, abandoned warehouse which once a galvanizing plant. This building has been sitting vacant, and rusting, since the 1970s. Now, however, it would be turned into a farmer's market... the most unlikely of uses for a building like this. The Red River Historic Railroad Museum Association even has proposed building a railroad museum on the vacant railroad tracks sitting next to this building. Not only would this be helping to turn an old, dilapidated building into a place where fruits and vegetables are sold, but it will also be the next step in revitalizing a long-forgotten area of the city... one which most people who come into the city from points north don't even think about stopping in to gas up.

These are the only major "green" projects I can think of right now in my area, but I'd love to read here about projects in other areas.

Edit: g-man430's post reminded me... Last year Shreveport added a hybrid bus to its metro transit system, SporTran. I forgot to mention that earlier. :D

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Grand Rapids is the nation's leader in green building per capita, according to the USGBC. There are quite a few (mainly healthcare related) projects under construction in the Grand Rapids area, including the first LEED Certified Healthcare Campus for Metropolitan Hospital. It will feature a massive green vegetated roof. Other projects built recently of note include:

David Hunting YMCA

Interurban Transit Partnership Central Station

Forest Hills Eastern High School

DA Blodgett Home for Children Renovation

Bazzani and Associates HQ - Helmus Bldg

City of Grand Rapids Water/Environmental Services Facility

City of Grand Rapids Waste to Energy Power Plant

Center of the Universe Commercial Center

Keystone Church - First LEED church in the country

Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center

The new Grand Rapids Art Museum

New Blue Cross Blue Shield downtown HQ - Steketee Bldg Renovation

Davenport University Lettinga Campus

St Mary's Hospital Hauenstein Neuroscience Center

Lack's Cancer Center

Calvin College Bunker Interprative Center

Forest Hills Fine Arts Center

Knapp Forest Elementary - Forest Hills

Goodwillie Environmental School - Ada

Herman Miller Marketplace

Herman Miller Greenhouse

Steelcase Wood Furniture Manufacturing Facility

Also, out of 400 LEED Accredited professionals in the State of Michigan, 257 are in Grand Rapids, mainly led by the Big Office Furniture companies of Steelcase, Haworth and Herman Miller.

The City of Grand Rapids has recently hired a Sustainability Manager to oversee the city's new Sustainability Initiatives.

The City's parking enforcement division recently shifted to GEM e2 vehicles ILO the old Chevy Cavaliers they used to drive:

E2.jpg

The local transit authority, The RAPID, has ordered four hybrid buses, with plans to eventually replace the entire fleet as the diesel busses need replacing.

And two local Universities, Aquinas and Calvin, have set up Sustainability related studies.

More information and resources:

http://www.rapidgrowthmedia.com/features/sustain14.aspx

(including some criticisms and work to be done)

http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/index.ph...429&hl=leed

http://www.centerforsustainability.org/

http://www.centerforsustainability.org/res...mp;category=279

BTW: We actually have someone on the GR forum who is an expert in LEED Certification who knows a lot more than me. :D Hopefully he'll pipe in.

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Grand Rapids is the nation's leader in green building per capita, according to the USGBC. There are quite a few (mainly healthcare related) projects under construction in the Grand Rapids area, including the first LEED Certified Healthcare Campus for Metropolitan Hospital. It will feature a massive green vegetated roof. Other projects built recently of note include:

David Hunting YMCA

Interurban Transit Partnership Central Station

Forest Hills Eastern High School

DA Blodgett Home for Children Renovation

Bazzani and Associates HQ - Helmus Bldg

City of Grand Rapids Water/Environmental Services Facility

City of Grand Rapids Waste to Energy Power Plant

Center of the Universe Commercial Center

Keystone Church - First LEED church in the country

Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center

St Mary's Hospital Hauenstein Neuroscience Center

Lack's Cancer Center

Calvin College Bunker Interprative Center

Forest Hills Fine Arts Center

Knapp Forest Elementary - Forest Hills

Goodwillie Environmental School - Ada

Herman Miller Marketplace

Herman Miller Greenhouse

Steelcase Wood Furniture Manufacturing Facility

Also, out of 400 LEED Accredited professionals in the State of Michigan, 257 are in Grand Rapids, mainly led by the Big Office Furniture companies of Steelcase, Haworth and Herman Miller.

The City of Grand Rapids has recently hired a Sustainability Manager to oversee the city's new Sustainability Initiatives. And two local Universities, Aquinas and Calvin, have set up Sustainability related studies.

More information and resources:

http://www.rapidgrowthmedia.com/features/sustain14.aspx

(including some criticisms and work to be done)

http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/index.ph...429&hl=leed

http://www.centerforsustainability.org/

http://www.centerforsustainability.org/res...mp;category=279

BTW: We actually have someone on the GR forum who is an expert in LEED Certification who knows a lot more than me. :D Hopefully he'll pipe in.

Now THAT is exactly what I was hoping to see! I can see why Grand Rapids is leading the charge... and doing an excellent job of it. I never would have expected such a list, but it's amazing.

And yes, I agree it would be nice if that certain someone would chime in. :)

Thanks, GRDadof3!! What an excellent contribution.

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Greenville, SC last week signed onto the Kyoto Protocol thing along with over 200 cities from the country to support the Protocol. Also, the city got two new trolleys and are installing bike lanes, sidewalks and a long rail to trails from Greenville to Traveler's Rest, which should be finished for walkers by the end of this year and for the bikers and microbus, which runs on a hybrid diesel-electric engine sometime in 2008. More info on rails to trails for Greenville: http://www.travelersrestsc.com/trails/index.php :thumbsup:

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Austin, TX became the first city in the U.S. to establish a local green-building program with guidelines for interested home builders and citizens when the Austin Energy Green Building Program was created in 1991. In addition to the building guidelines, the program also offered rebates for things such as: Rainbarrels, Rainwater Harvesting, Low Flush Toilets, Xeriscaping, Low Flow Washing Machines, Low Flow Dish Washers, and Solar Panels. 25% of the homes built in Austin in 2005 had some level of green rating in the program and through the programs history, 5,536 homes have been rated.

Today, Green Power Program ratings are required on all SMART housing (Sale, Mixed-income, Accessible, Reasonably priced, and Transit-oriented), central business district or downtown mixed-use zoning, and all projects at the Robert Mueller Municipal Airport redevelopment.

http://www.austinenergy.com/Energy%20Effic...lding/index.htm

In 2000, Austin also became the first city to require that all new municipal buildings over 5,000 sf must meet LEED certification with a 'silver' rating. Buildings that have gone through certification include:

Austin City Hall

Austin Energy Sand Hill

Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH)

EMS - South Austin Station

EMS - Circle C Station

Gus Garcia Recreation Center

Colony Park Recreation Center

George Washington Carver Museum & Cultural Center

Carver Branch Library

Austin Energy's GreenChoice has been the top selling green power program in the U.S. for the past three years. In the year 2005, they had a contracted 435 million kilowatt hours. More than 9,000 residential customers have signed up to be in the GreenChoice program. Austin Energy has set a goal of having 20% of its energy coming from renewable sources by 2020.

http://www.austinenergy.com/Energy%20Effic...hoice/index.htm

Some Austin companies are also on the EPA's Top 25 in the Green Power Partnership

#2 Whole Foods Market - 100% - 463,128,000 kWh

#18 Advanced Micro Devices / Austin Facilities - 100% - 52,447,783 kWh

#22 Austin Independent School District - 30% - 48,827,000 kWh

http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/partners/top25.htm

#10 IBM Corporation also recieves some Green Power for their Austin facilities

The city of Austin also provides free parking for hybrid cars at city parking meters useing prepaid cards.

In the news:

Austin Energy won the 2005 Wind Energy Pioneer Award from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The GreenGuide ranked Austin #2 on thier Top 10 Green Cities in the U.S. in 2006

https://ssl.thegreenguide.com/docprem.mhtml...p;s=top10cities

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities ranked Austin #7 in their Top 10 Cities for Square Footage Planted in 2005 with 97,384 planted sq.ft.

http://www.greenroofs.org/resources/surveyreport.pdf

The Nation Biodiesel Board announced that Austin has the highest concentration of biodiesel retailers in the nation with a total of 20 B20 pumps in the city.

http://nbb.grassroots.com/FY06NewsReleases/Austin/

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Pittsburgh is doing a lot. It used to be known for smog and pollution, but things have changed drastically. It is now a leader in LEED certified buildings. It hosted the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) national Greenbuild conference in 2003. It is also home to the world's largest green building, the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

The city has also reclaimed a lot of brownfields for new uses. An old slag dump was cleaned up and turned into a new neighborhood. An island that once housed a bunch of industrial buildings has also become a new neighborhood. The sites of old steel mills are now mixed-use developments, technology office parks, and green space.

This site has a lot of good info and pictures: http://www.pittsburghgreenstory.org

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Thanks for that link, TheGerbil. Pittsburgh certainly has emerged as a leader in green construction, adaptive reuse of historic structures and brownfield redevelopment. Other notable "green" projects going on in Pittsburgh include construction of 3 PNC Plaza... a 23-story mixed-use tower downtown that is designed to meet LEED certification... and a 460-million project in downtown's Cultural District featuring 700 housing units in high-rises, mid-rises and townhouses... plus retail, art, park components. This project will begin construction next year.

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I know where I live is far from being a leader on "green" decisions, but there are signs showing in the right direction. Recently decisions have come down from city government that have green impacts..

- Recent purchase of hybrid vehicles to use in the municipal fleet.

- Continued planning and expansion of greenways and bikeways.

- New commercial development guidelines which have heavy regulations on required landscaping and light pollution.

- Restoration of urban waterways.

- Guidelines for tree removal/replacement in new residential developments (how many trees must be planted based on yard sqaure footage.)

I need to be a little more responsible and do more investigation into what my city is doing to make more "green" decisions. But every little step helps. :thumbsup:

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One thing I wish they'd do here is have a recycling program. Now, I'm sure most of you know I'm not much of an environmentalist, but back before we moved, we have a great recycling program. It was so easy to recycle, it didn't make sense not to. Here, there's no such thing and it seems like such a waste now.

I would take issue with the city buying a fleet of hybrids as being "green"...the battery packs which have to be replaced every so often are anything but.

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One thing I wish they'd do here is have a recycling program. Now, I'm sure most of you know I'm not much of an environmentalist, but back before we moved, we have a great recycling program. It was so easy to recycle, it didn't make sense not to. Here, there's no such thing and it seems like such a waste now.

They are pretty vehement enforcers of recycling here.. if they find recyclables in your trash on pick-up day... you will find them still in your trash can when you return. And I will say they have made recycling extremely easy...

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Well, I don't think I'd want them to be such nazis about it, but certainly it's good they have a program...bring it here! teehee...

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If they aren't strict people ignore it so I'm glad they are. Referring to the leaving of recyclables in your can, I mean. Though thet sounds like a lot of work for the trash man. It would be so much easier if people would just put the recyclables in the proper containers.

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They are pretty vehement enforcers of recycling here.. if they find recyclables in your trash on pick-up day... you will find them still in your trash can when you return. And I will say they have made recycling extremely easy...

Man, we have recycling here, but I don't think they go that far. That's pretty funny.

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Just as a note, when the trash man "busted" my recyclables in the trash can I had lots of company that week and had not loaded all the trash in the cans myself. I am fairly vigilant to recycle everything possible...

FYI :thumbsup:

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My city is working on finally doing a recycling pickup for residents and the local private company that services surrounding areas is also looking into it.

My city is also planting 10,000 trees per year within the city limits for the next 10 years. Since 1980, they've built a state of the art water treatment plant, and build holding ponds so sediment can settle into the pond before storm water enters Lake Bemidji (where it would naturally go anyway).

City parks are getting a revamp to be more natural thanks to a voter approved 1/2% city sales tax. Portions of the city parks will be allowed to grow with native species into "woods".. as opposed to maintained open park space right now.

Lakeshore restoration has also been a big deal over the last 10 years by planting native grasses/reeds and trees to prevent erosion.

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Tuscaloosa doesn't have the money (nor likely the will) to do a lot, but there are some recent successes :

* City leaders travelled to the Southwest and to Canada to see the most environmentally-efficient designs for water treatment facilities. Our new facility will open in 2008, supposedly the most advanced in the state.

* Over the last couple of years, the city added a weekly curbside recycyling program.

* Over the last couple of years, local officials formed a countywide "master plan" for bicycle paths, though few have been implemented.

* The University of Alabama will initiate a campus-wide bus system in 2007, and taking significant areas to make the interior of campus more pedestrian and bicycle friendly.

* The "Our Great Lake" campaign was begun last year to improve the water quality of Lake Tuscaloosa, the area's main source of drinking water.

* "Riverwalk" and "Downtown Revitalization District" are urban renewal type projects that will add usable green space and walkability to the core of the city.

* Brownfield redevelopment of the old Temerson Steel site downtown will (hopefully) result in private mixed-use urban developments known as Metalworks and Paramount.

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18 of the 50 states have inacted an initiative requiring some sort of LEED certification on state funded projects. Most are LEED Silver over a certain amount of square feet. I know that here in Michigan all state funded projects have to be LEED Certified if they are over $1,000,000.00. If they are under that mark they still need to follow the LEED design criteria but do not have to get registered.

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I really have no idea how to find out about Green projects in my area (Hartford). How would I go about doing so?

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Luckily my city has been making an effort to be more 'green' for a while. Although there's certainly much more that can be done. The University of Arkansas is testing out some 'green' roofs for some of their buildings on campus. They'll actually add some drainage, gravel and soil and put in some plants. They'll be trying out a type of succulant called sedum along with some native plants. They said a rooftop in an urban setting can be 20 to 30 degrees warmer than a countryside setting. It's been tried out in Europe, Japan and some coastal areas of the US. But so far no one has tried it out in a bit of a harsher environment. Hopefully they'll learn a lot and other areas will be able to utilize this info as well.

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I have a question on some other things that might possibly make a difference in urban areas with heat island situation. Obviously the biggest thing is planting more vegetation, I think everyone hears about that. But I always wondered about other little things like asphalt. What if instead of asphalt concrete was used, the white reflecting more of the sun's heat rather thean the black asphalt absorbing it? Has anyone heard any city making any reference to this? Is this even something to be considered?

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I have a question on some other things that might possibly make a difference in urban areas with heat island situation. Obviously the biggest thing is planting more vegetation, I think everyone hears about that. But I always wondered about other little things like asphalt. What if instead of asphalt concrete was used, the white reflecting more of the sun's heat rather thean the black asphalt absorbing it? Has anyone heard any city making any reference to this? Is this even something to be considered?

Here are two articles on some "green" things going on in Lansing:

hybrid_collage.jpg

http://www.cata.org/News/hybrid/news_hybrid.html

http://www.cata.org/News/releases/hybrid.html

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Shhh - CATA adds hybrids to fleet

Latest vehicles reduce emissions, save lots of gas, officials say

August 8, 2006

By Jen Marckini

Lansing State Journal

Don't expect a lot of racket from some of CATA's newest buses.

The three electric- and diesel-powered hybrids - revealed at a news conference Monday - will be a fuel-efficient, environmentally friendlier addition to the public transportation system's fleet, officials said.

http://lsj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/...=73253411472791

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lansing's streetscape project gets $745K boost

Rain gardens planned along Michigan Ave.

July 28, 2006

The city has landed the final piece, officials said Thursday: a $745,000 grant from the state's Department of Environmental Quality.

The project will beautify the approach to the Capitol, and capture storm water runoff instead of letting pollutants flow into the Grand River.

http://www.lsj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?A...35/1221/lansing

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Luckily my city has been making an effort to be more 'green' for a while. Although there's certainly much more that can be done. The University of Arkansas is testing out some 'green' roofs for some of their buildings on campus. They'll actually add some drainage, gravel and soil and put in some plants. They'll be trying out a type of succulant called sedum along with some native plants. They said a rooftop in an urban setting can be 20 to 30 degrees warmer than a countryside setting. It's been tried out in Europe, Japan and some coastal areas of the US. But so far no one has tried it out in a bit of a harsher environment. Hopefully they'll learn a lot and other areas will be able to utilize this info as well.

theres a huge ford car plant in Dearborn, MI that has a roof covered in grass.

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theres a huge ford car plant in Dearborn, MI that has a roof covered in grass.

Yeah I was wondering why they're experimenting more with larger plants than something like grass.

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