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Predictions for green building; Year of local food gets fresh in Collinwood; what's in the future for FirstEnergy

Marc Lefkowitz  |  02/06/12 @ 3:17pm

· The Earth Advantage Institute's 10 green building predictions for 2012 are spot on.

· If the goal of a home air sealing and insulation project is to have a monthly loan payment lower than your heating bill, than doubling down on Dominion GoodCents and Cleveland Energy $aver-which takes another 20% off the retrofit work up to $3,750-may be a short term way to reach it. Energy $aver is the city using its Stimulus funded Energy Efficiency Block Grants. Some cities earmarked that fund for building efficiency, some leaned more toward transportation improvements (Cleveland spread it around to both-investing in the Bike Rack as well). Energy $aver may not transform or even kick start the home energy improvement market here (GoodCents' $1,200 rebate arguably already did that). But, at least 100 homes without income restriction can take advantage of the good green subsidy while it lasts. If you are a homeowner in Cleveland and want to participate, call 216-672-3535 or log on here.

· We hope FirstEnergy will signal that they're ready to be a strong investment partner in Ohio-produced clean energy-particularly, in a power purchase agreement with LEEDco to buy a share of the megawatts produced by a Lake Erie wind farm-now that they are permanently closing six 1950s-era dirty coal-fired power plants including Bayshore (Toledo), Lakeshore (Cleveland), Eastlake (Eastlake) and Ashtabula (Ashtabula). The utility said it costs less to buy power from newer sources-currently coal burning power plants-than install filters for mercury in those old ones-thanks to a new rule passed by the Environmental Protection Agency that, for the first time, regulates mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants.

· Menu for the Future: Take part in a new community conversation about our food system. Growing from Sustainable Cleveland 2019's Year of Local Food in 2012, Menu for the Future is a six-week discussion course developed by the Northwest Earth Institute. Groups of 8-12 people meet in libraries, businesses, churches, neighborhoods and organizations: Convene your own group or join an existing one to be part of this region-wide educational effort. Go here for more information.

· Tunnel Vision Hoops, a Cleveland-based local food business start up from the 2019 effort, is selling its giant hoop houses through the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. When you're ready to scale up your backyard or community garden, check out these 120 sq. ft. (8 ft. tall x 12 ft. long) greenhouses with a rainwater harvest system. A DYI Kit is $1,469. Or, for only $299 have the experts at TVH install it for you. Every sale benefits the Natural History Museum (ask the museum store 216-231-4600 ext 3228 for details).

· Cuyahoga ReLeaf Forest Forum: The Cuyahoga River Remedial Action Plan (RAP) launched Cuyahoga ReLeaf, which aims to restore and enhance forest canopy within the county and the Cuyahoga River watershed. Workshops will assist local governments, community leaders and watershed stewards in identifying areas where forest cover needs restoration, and in engaging support for restoration work.

Community leaders and civic activists are invited to participate in a forum in the watershed nearest to you. Forest Forum participants will:

  1. Receive maps of city forest cover and streams
  2. Receive an inventory city ordinances and policies for forests & trees
  3. Be eligible for ongoing policy assistance
  4. Be eligible for funding and pilot restoration

The first workshop is this Thursday, February 9 from 1 to 4 p.m. or from 6 to 9 p.m. at The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, 2600 South Park Boulevard. RSVP to Jane Goodman: goodmanj@crcpo or 216.241.2414 x610

· Passenger rail: can it make Ohio cool? "We've got to make Ohio cool," said Ohio Gov. John Kasich in an April 13 speech. All Aboard Ohio answers in last weekend's PD with an editorial that includes a handful of examples where 'cool' regions-like the Research Triangle in North Carolina-took on rail and saw trains fill up with young professionals and college students.

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