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Local food and deconstruction videos; looking closer at bike sharing systems

Marc Lefkowitz  |  08/17/10 @ 2:00pm  |  Posted in Home efficiency, Local food system

Case has started installing energy-saving LED lights in 250 fixtures on campus as part of its plan to fulfill the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. The university says the bulbs will save $19,000 a year, but costs are reportedly $3.2M. LEDs are expensive, however, the manufacturers claim they'll last 25,000-50,000 hours. The first lifecycle study of LEDs from Carnegie-Mellon shows that they are better for the environment and will presumably "pay back" Case. As costs for energy rise, the payback period for LED lights may get shorter, especially if Case's power bill goes up in the future with its producer, the Medical Center Company, agreeing to move beyond dirty coal to a cleaner alternative.

Last week we reported about the NEO Food Web, a new effort to close the local food gap. This week, the group posted a bunch of videos that explore those gaps further and look at an emerging opportunity in a local sustainable economy (we like Sudhir's line that sustainability is messy, and add, it can look pretty in the end). The videos include:

  • Hungry for Health: Oberlin grad Theresa Desautels' quiet but telling documentary that follows a day in the life of Cleveland resident Willa Sparks and the obstacles she has to overcome to find healthy food.
  • Metro Health Fresh Stop: The producers of Polycultures look at how CityFresh is working with Metro Hospital to combine food access and health education in the Buckeye neighborhood.
  • StrawVille! See how deconstructed building materials and agricultural waste products are used to build a strawbale greenhouse in Cleveland's east side at Vel's Purple Oasis.
  • Deconstruction and Reconstruction: Hear from Cleveland's Urban Lumberjacks about how deconstructing a house in Tremont is used for Vel's strawbale greenhouse.

It's really cool to see the connection between deconstruction and strawbale construction in an urban agriculture setting. It's an example of where things can lead when, in the words of NEO Food Web, "we begin to see the abandoned buildings in cities like Cleveland as a reservoir of materials that can be used for a variety of urban agriculture applications: greenhouses, raised beds, cooler facilities, market stands, shade pavilions, or homes for urban farmsteads."

Last week, we also posted about an online vote to lure a bike sharing company to Cleveland. We've since discovered multiple forms of bicycle sharing system. We plan to explore through the GCBL site what type of system works for Cleveland. With that in mind, The Institute for Transportation and Development looks at five bike sharing systems. They range from Bixi, a city-owned and operated system with 400 stations in Montreal to a partnership of advertising and property management companies running a system in Hangzou, China uses Paris' Velib as a model, except it has 40,000 bikes and 1,700 stations and is integrated with the city's bus and Rapid system. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil created a totally homegrown system, from the technology to the bike.

Cleveland Lakefront State Park unveiled The Exploration Station-the nature center located at the park office building, 8701 Lakeshore Boulevard-in June 2010. The facility is housed in retrofitted office space and offers hands on activities and exhibits about Lake Erie and aquatic ecosystems as well as recreation, local wildlife and park history.

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