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Sustainability : In the News

91 Sustainability Articles | Page: | Show All

Bike lanes, bike-friendly projects to get rolling in Metro Detroit this spring

Metro Detroiters should get a lot more mileage out of their bikes with all of the bike lane projects and infratructure planned for 2014. 


Warren, Detroit, Ferndale and the Grosse Pointes are among communities planning significant bicycle-friendly projects in the new year, with construction on several to start in the spring...

This year alone, Detroit added about 80 miles of bike lanes and sharrows — standard traffic lanes with shared lane markings. That brings the city's total to more than 150 miles, Scott said.

"It's pretty exciting, some of these bigger projects coming through," Scott said. Also, Ferndale is planning bike lanes on Livernois that should ultimately help connect Detroit to downtown Ferndale, he said.

More here.

GM's Detroit headquarters' landfill-free status sets green example for nation

Nothing in the waste basket goes to waste at GM's Detroit offices anymore.


"General Motors Co.'s downtown Detroit headquarters complex now recycles, reuses or converts all its daily waste to energy, with efforts at the  Renaissance Center  keeping 5 million pounds of trash annually from landfills..."

More here.

Macomb Comm. College students tool around in renewable energy-powered cargo trikes

Some enterprising students just gave junk a new green lease on life.


Take 13 college students from diverse backgrounds, ask them to build something purposeful out of junk and voila! — the result is a pair of funky three-wheeled bikes, powered by renewable energy, that transport people and cargo anytime, anyplace.

The band of students at Macomb Community College collaborated for 14 weeks on the "trikes,”"which run on a combination of pedal power and an electric hub motor using a battery charged with solar power.

The students, who are earning certificates in Macomb’s renewable energy technology program, kept the designs environmentally friendly by incorporating the "reduce, reuse, recycle" mantra of the sustainability movement.

More here.

Detroit-area women digging up second careers as farmers

A new crop of farming careers is rising in Southeast Michigan, and women are filling many of these new positions.


"No longer a safety engineer in the insurance industry after a 2009 layoff, Joannee DeBruhl asked herself, "Now what?"

She volunteered at a community garden, helped harvest 2,100 pounds of produce and had "the best summer of my life."

Now the 51-year-old is a full-time farmer at a certified organic farm in Brighton, which she co-owns with 24-year-old Shannon Rau and Rau's father, Tom Rau. The two women tend to 48 crops — from corn and cilantro to red mung beans and radishes — while providing fresh produce to 100 farm members and area markets."

More here.

Next-gen workers concerned with resource conservation, more humanistic outlook

Organizations and employers may want to take note of this interesting piece in the Miami Herald. Will the newest generation of workers expect even more socially responsible employers to choose from?


"Drew Miller clearly remembers the day his father was laid off.

Miller, now 25, was a freshman at an Ohio college, full of hope and ready to take on the world. But here was this “red flag … a big wake-up call,” he says. The prosperous years of childhood were over, and his future was likely to be bumpier than he’d expected.

Across the country, others of Miller’s generation heard that same wake-up call as the Great Recession set in. But would it change them? And would the impact last?

The full effect won’t be known for a while, of course. But a new analysis of a long-term survey of high school students provides an early glimpse at ways their attitudes shifted in the first years of this most recent economic downturn.

Among the findings: Young people showed signs of being more interested in conserving resources and a bit more concerned about their fellow human beings."

More here.

At the Detroit Zoo, a smaller green footprint

This spring and summer, green at the Detroit Zoo will go above and beyond vegetation, alligators, and tropical parrots. Its big green project, energy-efficient building rehabs, solar and electric golf carts, and ditching the disposable plastic water bottles.


"The Detroit Zoo has joined a handful of its peers nationally that are implementing green operational practices ranging from intense energy savings programs to green education.

It plans to invest about $4 million total in sustainable projects as part of a seven-year "greenprint" strategic plan during that time and in return to see zero waste going to landfills and a 25 percent reduction in the zoo's energy usage by 2020, COO Gerry VanAcker said."

More here.

Building for Baby Boomers forum set for Apr. 25

The Baby Boom generation has a significant presence in Metro Detroit. Public transportation and dense, affordable housing will be just a few of the amenities needed to keep Boomers in place during their retirement years. Area scholars and leaders will be discussing these and other options at the "Mayors & Managers Forum: Built for Boomers" to be held at the University of Michigan-Dearborn on Thursday, April 25, from 8:30-11 a.m.

Click here for more information and to register.

Dearborn, Farmington Hills, Novi awarded sustainability award

Little by little Metro Detroit communities are adopting sustainable practices. Huzzah!
"The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments presented a Sustainable Community Recognition Program Award at the City Council meeting Dec. 4.
According to SEMCOG, “sustainability is about achieving economic prosperity while protecting the environment and providing a high quality of life for residents.”"
Read the rest here.

Popular Mechanics gazes into crystal ball, sees an amazing 2025 Detroit

You have to like an article that starts with "Detroit's comeback is not only inevitable, it's already underway." Makes you want to read more doesn't it? It's view of water and landscape is the stuff that dreams are made of.
"Reemerging waterways and feral forests claim land left open by sharp population decline. Detroit goes green with planning that takes advantage of the city's unique ecology."
Read the rest here.

DTW wins award for turning cooking oil into fuel

Dread the thought of eating airport cuisine? Well, if it helps, Detroit Metro Airport just took home the “Best ‘Green’ Concessions Practice or Concept” award at the 2011 Richard A. Griesbach Excellence in Airport Concessions Contest. For what, you ask? Turning cooking oil into fuel. Yum.


"The gateway primarily won the award for its initiative of powering its airport service vehicles with biofuels derived from recycled cooking oil.

With the help of its partner Bradford Airport Logistics, the airport recycles the waste cooking oil from its restaurants that would otherwise be discarded and uses it to power its airport service vehicles."

Read the rest of the story here.

Solar laundry in Warren lauded in green tech blog

You know the message of Metro Detroit's revitalization is getting out when tech blogs are writing about a solar-powered laundry in Warren.


"Maybe we’re wrong, but is there a little buzz beginning that the Detroit area is coming back? There are signs popping up here and there. The car industry is certainly in better shape than it was a few years ago, and when you see a small operation like Big Bundle Solar Laundry starting up, well, that’s a good sign that hope and the entrepreneurial spirit still thrive despite the recent tough times."

Read the rest here.

New Detroit-Windsor bridge and clean-tech vital to boosting the international economy

...Or so says John Austin of the Brookings Institute. Covering last month's Great Lakes Summit, he talks about the importance of a second Detroit-Windsor bridge, and how Canada and the Great Lakes states need to jointly develop clean-tech technology.


"Overall, two topics dominated discussion by delegates as ripe for international teamwork.

One was building the 21st century transportation infrastructure the region needs as a platform for enhanced exports--and in particular building a state-of-the-art span connecting Detroit and Windsor, the world's highest dollar international trade crossing point. Michigan Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, and Canada's Consul General Roy Norton were pitching hard for the Michigan Legislature to follow Governor Rick Snyder's call, and vote final approval for the new bridge.

The New International Trade Crossing has been 10 years in the planning, and is strongly backed by business leaders and governments on both sides of the border. It seemed a done-deal when Gov. Snyder announced that Ontario would pay cash-strapped Michigan's share of the project, and in turn the U.S. Department of Transportation would let the Canadian dollars stand-in as Michigan's match for federally-funded highway projects across Michigan.

The project keeps being sabotaged by the aging billionaire Mattie Maroun (born 1927), owner of the equally aging Ambassador Bridge (built 1929), fighting hard to keep a monopoly on toll traffic."

Read the rest of the story here.

Brookings Institute ranks Michigan highly for green jobs

"We're number 12" doesn't sound as good as "we're number one" but it's still darn impressive that Michigan is nosing its way toward the top 10.


"Want to work in the clean, green economy? Come to Michigan.

Michigan ranks 12th among the 50 states in green consumer products, waste management and treatment, public mass transit, energy-saving building materials and organic food and farming, according to a study released today by think tank Brookings Institution."

Read the rest of the story here.

Check out the study here.

Metro Detroit airports to grow their own fuel sources

The Wayne County Airport Authority and Michigan State University are teaming up to grow, harvest and process canola and oriental mustard seed into bioenergy on land at Detroit Metro Airport and Willow Run. It's part of their plan to increase sustainable aviation.


"The two airports have a total of about 1,700 acres of property potentially suitable for bioenergy cropping. Initially, WCAA has leased to MSUE three acres of airport-owned land on which biofuel crops, including canola and oriental mustard seed, have been planted and soon will be harvested, refined and tested. MSUE will be responsible for the overall management of the project grant, while WCAA will provide access to and use of acreage at its airports for a portion of the project, which is scheduled to be completed by February 2012."

Read the rest of the story here.

Read more on the subject here.

Solar panels power the silver screen in Royal Oak

It's one thing when a business decides to go green because it's good for the environment. It's another when they do it to improve their bottom line. Not only does Emagine's new theater / bowling alley have solar panels on its roof -- installing them made the business' finance packaging possible.


"After seven years, the solar array will have paid for itself. With a 25-year guarantee on the panels and rising electricity costs, Glantz said, the investment will cut the 71,000-square-foot theater's annual electricity bill by about 20 percent.

But Glantz said the key to completing the theater project was the solar panel investment. As part of the financing package, Emagine was preapproved for a $3.5 million subordinated second mortgage with a 20-year Small Business Administration 504 loan."

Read the rest of the story here.
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