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Greening the public realm, green schools group forms and more

Marc Lefkowitz  |  08/06/09 @ 10:53am

The redevelopment of University East Plaza (at the southwest corner of Mayfield Road and Euclid Avenue) is an illustration of how to refashion public spaces with an eye toward green practices. University Circle, Inc. is redesigning the space and adding the following green features: Replacing portions of the concrete with permeable pavement, using native/drought tolerant plants to reduce water use and runoff. Old bricks and seating will be repurposed elsewhere in the district. Super energy efficient LED lighting is being designed for the plaza level (although flood lighting on rooftop will be added to satisfy safety concerns). Finally, bike parking will be provided for 12 bikes (racks for four bikes were there before).

Green schools group forming Northeast Ohio Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council is making a push to green school construction. It recently held a meeting on green schools and toured Beachwood High School's green classroom. Now, the green building advocacy group is organizing a peer learning group which will have access to USGBC information and resources. Volunteers may include school administrators who can identify needs for new resources, such as a green schools toolkit. Contact emilyb@brownflynn.com if you're interested.

Green, but sustainable? Ralston Instruments Inc., a manufacturer of hydraulic and pneumatic pumps, installed a 32 kW solar panel array on the roof of its facility in Newbury, making it the third-largest solar installation in Northeast Ohio. The solar panels generate around 25 kW of electricity on a sunny day; 8 kW on a cloudy day.

While the company is to be commended for implementing a green building policy, we wonder when will companies finally get that green building also means locating a new facility close to existing infrastructure rather than on a greenfield where people have to drive many miles to get to because they want to live in a city not on a farm?

Guzzling Renewables funds could hurt Ohio's manufacturers Is raiding the loan guarantees for renewable energy projects to pay for more Cash for Clunkers going to impact Ohio manufacturers down the road? While $2 billion is small in comparison to the tens of billions for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects expected to reach Ohio from the stimulus bill, it could make it harder for some of the 3,000 Ohio facilities employing 250,000 workers currently producing in markets to find funding to retool for green energy component manufacturing.

"These firms may or may not chose to pursue the opportunity," Policy Matters Ohio reports, "but it is incumbent on legislators to ensure that if they do, the support is there to help them move into new green energy markets. The Apollo Alliance GreenMAP proposals address these needs. The primary goal of the proposal is to ensure job retention as well as job growth across the manufacturing sectors. These firms produce in sectors that are the most likely to see job growth."

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