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Judge green lights Sewer District's green infrastructure; guess who's not on top EnergyStar cities?

Marc Lefkowitz  |  05/11/11 @ 3:01pm

  • It's been a good week for the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and its green initiatives. First, the District's plan to eliminate 44 million gallons of raw sewage overflowing into the river and lake with at least $42 million in green infrastructure investments was recognized (among ten cities) by US EPA as a model program.

    Then, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge Thomas J. Pokorny ruled that the Sewer District has the authority to implement the large majority of its Stormwater Management Program (this was a partial summary judgment on the 12-city lawsuit challenging its authority to charge property owners a fee to mitigate runoff from impervious surfaces). The program, which will start in early 2012, will be used for green infrastructure projects in addition to the $42 million in projects. Many stormwater programs like this are in operation across the country.

    In 2011, the District is completing its Green Infrastructure Feasibility Study. This study will lay out the District's near-term road map for green infrastructure.

  • Why is Cleveland no where in sight on the EPA's list of the Top 25 Cities with EnergyStar buildings?

    Los Angeles came in first with 510 certified buildings. Even Detroit cracked the top ten (with 151).

    EnergyStar buildings are 15% more energy efficient than built-to-code. The growth in Energy Star certified buildings across the country prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to 1.3 million homes last year, keeping the air cleaner, while saving more than $1.9 billion, according to the EPA.

    There are some bright spots here: The Cleveland Clinic was recently named EnergyStar partner of the year. And the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 initiative has a special focus during the Year of Energy Efficiency, tracking businesses adopting EnergyStar. To participate (and to boost Cleveland's chances of making it onto the national list next year), contact Andrew Watterson, Chief of Sustainability, city of Cleveland.

  • A 2.5 megawatt wind turbine purchased by Lincoln Electric arrived at the Port of Cleveland this week. The manufacturer of robotic welders used to assemble steel towers for turbines plans to erect the state's largest turbine at its plant at 22801 St. Clair Avenue. The PD reports that the turbine's German manufacturer, Kenersys, has Northeast Ohio in the running for a new U.S. turbine plant.
  • The Cleveland Falconcam follows the exploits of a pair of Peregrine Falcons nesting on the 12th floor of the Terminal Tower in downtown Cleveland. S/W, the female, has a new mate, Boomer. Boomer hails from the Rhodes Office Tower in downtown Columbus having hatched there in 2008. This is his first year at the nest and SW's 10th. At first light last Saturday two hatchlings were begging for their first meal. Two additional eggs are expected to hatch over the next 4 days. The Falconcam is operated by the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Images are harvested from three cameras every minute and an archive of the images from the past 8 hours is maintained for study, analysis and perusal.
  • How can areas like Aurora and Avon get make-overs to promote more active living? A study published in Health & Place magazine found more connected street networks in rural and exurb areas with small, spread out populations did indeed promote walking, jogging, and bicycling. Specifically, a higher density of intersections was associated with more outdoor exercise, suggesting that long, country roads are better suited to physical activity when they are connected instead of remote. That information could be valuable for civic planners looking to build "exurban" neighborhoods that promote health, instead of sprawling suburbs filled with meandering drives and cul de sacs.
  • Investments in bicycle boulevards and bike lanes will help residents of Portland, Oregon lower their health care and fuel costs, reports the Journal of Physical Activity and Health. The report looks at current investments-like the hundreds of miles of bike lanes and paths that supports 5.8% of all commutes to work by bike-and it factors in the complete build out of the city's $605 million bike plan. It estimates that by 2040 up to $594 million in reduced health care spending and $218 million in savings on fuel will be going back into Porlandia's private pockets. "This first of its kind cost-benefit analysis of investments in bicycling in a US city shows that such efforts are cost-effective, even when only a limited selection of benefits is considered," JPAH concludes.
  • Tomorrow (April 29) is Arbor Day-get out there and plant a tree!

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