The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced its 2010 rankings of metropolitan areas with the most Energy Star certified buildings. Detroit jumped six spots from the 2009 list into ninth place. Energy Star buildings must meet certain energy-efficiency criteria and be certified each year by an independent professional. The EPA estimates that the owners of metro Detroit's 151 Energy Star buildings are saving nearly 19 million dollars annually because of increased efficiencies.
EPA provides a searchable map that allows you to find Energy Star buildings in and around your community. Spread the word about this program to local school board members, business owners and other building owners and let's see if Michigan's metro areas can keep climbing the rankings in 2011.
Luke Forrest is Project Coordinator for the Center for 21st Century Communities. Contact him at 734-669-6323 or email@example.com.
The US Green Building Council is expanding the reach of its popular Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system to the neighborhood scale with LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED ND). Community leaders and developers can now receive recognition for the environmental sustainability of entire districts, rather than on a building-by-building basis. The Council's Detroit Regional Chapter is offering a one-day training event for planners, economic development professionals and other local government staff titled "Making LEED ND Happen in Your Community" April 1 in Southfield. The event is designed to educate participants on the rating system, its underlying principles and the advantages of pursuing LEED ND certification. To learn more details and to register, visit http://www.drc-usgbc.org/index.php?option=com_registrationpro&view=event&did=372&Itemid=128&shw_attendees=0.
Luke Forrest is Project Coordinator for the Green Communities Challenge and the Center for 21st Century Communities. Contact him by email or by calling 734-669-6323.
With the support of the Michigan Bureau of Energy Systems and the Michigan Recovery Office, the League has developed a searchable database of Green Communities Projects in Michigan. Projects are categorized by type of project, type of government, population and geographic region. The database is also keyword searchable. This is intended to be a resource for community leaders to compare themselves to their peers in other communities and learn more about what others are doing. We know that many more projects exist throughout the state and the current database is just scratching the surface, so please contact Luke Forrest, Project Coordinator with the Green Communities Challenge, with more information about what's happening in your community.
The new year brought with it a number of new funding and technical assistance opportunities for communities looking to strengthen their 21st Century assets and/or take strides in the Green Communities Challenge. Information about each opportunity is linked below. Contact Luke Forrest, MML Project Coordinator, for more information or support at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-669-6323.
The Environmental Protection Agency created the Sustainable Building Blocks Program to provide targeted technical assistance to communities looking to "implement development approaches that protect the environment, improve public health, create jobs, expand economic opportunity and improve overall quality of life." Tools used as part of this program will include "zoning code reviews, walkability assessments, parking policy analysis, climate action planning, commuter benefits, complete streets and fiscal and economic tools." Submit a letter of interest by FEBRUARY 23 to enter a competition to receive technical assistance through this program.
For communities in metro Detroit only, the Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office is soliciting proposals for municipal energy efficiency or renewable energy projects. The deadline for these grants has been extended to FEBRUARY 24. Communities chosen for funding will be required to join the Energy Office through a formal participation agreement and contribute to the organization's endowment fund once the project is complete. See the application form for more details.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is offering grants of up to three million dollars for acquisition or stewardship of sensitive coastal land through the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program. Proposals are due MARCH 4, see the RFP for more information.
Food company Green Giant will be awarding $25,000 each to four people in recognition of their efforts to make their community greener and to help expand on existing initiatives. Eligible applicants include elected or appointed officials, business owners and community organizers. Applications are due MARCH 6 at www.thegreenawards.com.
Finally, the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth is offering low-interest loans of up to $2,500,000 for energy projects through September 2011. A previous blog entry contains more details.