Green Umbrella in the News

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  • May 09, 2018 11:53 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Cincinnati Business Courier, Bill Cieslewicz

    A Cincinnati nonprofit focused on sustainability has a new top leader.

    Green Umbrella on Monday named Ryan Mooney-Bullock as its next executive director effective June 25. She succeeds Kristin Weisswho resigned in March after three years to spend more time with her family.

    Mooney-Bullock, who was the group’s Communications and Program Manager, joined Green Umbrella in 2011. She previously did research at the Center for Neighborhood Technology, an urban sustainability think tank in Chicago; taught science at Princeton High School, and developed and managed the Civic Garden Center's Green Learning Station. 

    She earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies at the University of Chicago and a master’s degree in environmental science from Antioch University New England in Keene, N.H. 

    “Ryan's support of Green Umbrella’s Action Teams over the last seven months has helped them strategically advance their progress on our 2020 sustainability goals. I am looking forward to working with her as we take Green Umbrella to its next level," Bill Scheyer, Green Umbrella board president, said in a statement.

    Green Umbrella, founded in 1998, is a regional sustainability alliance working to ensure that Cincinnati remains one of the 10 most sustainable metro areas in the country. In October, Cincinnati was named the No. 1 metro area in sustainability by Site Selection Magazine.

    “I look forward to making sure sustainability resonates with everyone – whether it is through employment opportunities, access to greenspace to get outside, viable transportation options, clean water, affordable energy, healthy food that supports our local economy, or creative solutions to waste,” Mooney-Bullock said in a statement.

    For information about Green Umbrella, click here.

  • May 08, 2018 11:43 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WVXU Cincinnati, Dan Hurley

    With more dedicated on-street bike lanes, an expanding system of riding trails, a bike-share system and several active cycling clubs, Greater Cincinnati is a far more bike-friendly city than it was just a decade ago.

    Still, many believe Cincinnati is not doing nearly enough to promote biking and making cyclists safe on city streets.

    May is National Bike Month, and joining "Cincinnati Edition" to discuss biking in our region are Social Organizer Jasmine Humphries, who started the Red Bike & Green cycling club in Cincinnati; Ohio’s Bike Lawyer Steve Magas; Red Bike Executive Director Jason Barron; and Wade Johnston, director of Tri-State Trails, a Green Umbrella initiative to expand access to walkable and bikeable communities.

    Tune in to "Cincinnati Edition" May 8 starting at 1 p.m. to hear this segment. 

  • May 07, 2018 3:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Clermont Sun, Staff Writer

    Spring has finally arrived in the tri-state, just in time for Bike Month! Join the bicycling community in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky to celebrate throughout the month of May.

    Bike Month is a collection of nearly fifty events to celebrate all things bicycling in Greater Cincinnati. There are all kinds of themed group rides to participate in—for beginners and avid riders alike—whether you’re an enthusiast for donuts or beer or historic preservation. There are numerous events to do off your bike too, like a bicycle-themed board game night, a live recording of The Gravel Lot podcast, and a special screening of Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. Check out the event calendar at CincyBikeMonth.com to view a full listing of events.

    “The purpose of Bike Month is to celebrate Greater Cincinnati as a bicycle friendly region and demonstrate how accessible bicycling is here,” said Wade Johnston, Director of Tri-State Trails at Green Umbrella. “Biking is a fun way to experience life from a different perspective, both for recreation and transportation.”

    A newly featured ride this year is “100 Blacks on Bikes,” hosted by the Cincinnati chapter of Red, Bike, & Green. This event is part of their monthly community ride series and is intended specifically for people who identify as Black. “I’m proud to cultivate a space where Black people can be healthy, care-free, and experience their culture together at the same time,” said local organizer, Jasmine C. Humphries. “Our hope for Red, Bike, & Green is to be an entry point to increase the number of bike riders and advocates connected to the Cincinnati bike community. We want to amplify the voices of marginalized bike riders and broaden the image of who is a cyclist.”

    Red Bike, the local bike share system, is partnering on several group rides to make bikes available to individuals who may not have access to one. “All months are great for biking, but there is one month we celebrate the most fun way to get around,” said Jason Barron, Executive Director of Red Bike. “Every Tuesday in May we invite you to put a smile on your face by taking a ride on a Red Bike for only $2, with Two Dollar Tuesday.”

    Bike Month is a national event organized by the League of American Bicyclists. Tri-State Trails and Queen City Bike are partnering to celebrate locally in Greater Cincinnati. Bike Month is made possible with support from Great Parks of Hamilton County, Ohio‘s Bike Lawyer Steve Magas, AAA, and Reser Bicycle Outfitters. Additional sponsors include Red Bike, Cincinnati Cycle Club, Cincinnati Off-Road Alliance, Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Family Magazine, Metro, TANK, and Spun Bicycles.


    Photo: 2017 Meet the Candidates Ride

    About Tri-State Trails

    An initiative of Green Umbrella with funding from Interact for Health, Tri-State Trails is an alliance of trail advocates advancing a vision to connect and expand our region’s trail network.

    Our mission is to connect people and places with a regional trails network that enhances vibrancy and equity in our community. For more information, visit www.tristatetrails.org.

  • April 30, 2018 2:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Movers & Makers Magazine, Stephanie Fan


    Green Umbrella awarded $125,000 in grants to a variety of organizations. Those who will benefit include small farms, local food entrepreneurs and processors, a neighborhood grocery co-op, schools and regional food pantries.

    Recipients are Incubator Kitchen Collective, Apple Street Market Cooperative, Gabriel’s Place, KHI Foods, Ohio Valley Food Connection, Our Harvest Cooperative, Soup Cycle Cincy, La Soupe, Enright Ridge Urban Eco-Village, Lincoln Heights Outreach, Reach Out Lakota and Wyoming City Schools.

    The funds are intended to advance environmental sustainability goals related to distribution of food, reduction of waste, and access to fresh food, as well as energy efficiency.

    Green Umbrella received funding from Partners for Places (a project of the Funders Network for Smart and Livable Communities) and the Duke Class Benefit Fund. Local matching grants were provided by Interact for Health, the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

    “Part of the funding will support innovative, scalable food recovery efforts that rescue good food and distribute it to hungry people, rather than sending it to landfills where it produces a harmful greenhouse gas,” said Kristin Weiss, executive director of Green Umbrella. “These projects are good for our community and our environment.”

    Nationally, the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture are seeking a 50 percent reduction in food waste by 2030.

     


    How the money will be used

    Recipients are:

    Incubator Kitchen Collective – Its grant will fund an energy-efficient cooling system to benefit all tenants, their networks of growers/suppliers and buyers.

    Apple Street Market Cooperative – The grant will fund energy-efficient refrigeration for the worker-owned co-op’s first grocery store, planned to open in 2019 in the Northside neighborhood.

    Gabriel’s Place – The grant will help provide affordable access to the food system through an urban farm, produce marketplace, community meals and nutrition education in the Avondale neighborhood.

    KHI Foods – This food processor turns “ugly” tomatoes or “wrong color” peppers into products for schools and retail grocers. The grant will help KHI expand its processing capacity.

    Ohio Valley Food Connection – The grant will support development of a regional rescued-food “after-market.” The project will provide a revenue model to food hubs and local farmers; a simple ordering process for institutions; and redistribution of unsold but edible products to food  pantries.

    Our Harvest Cooperative – Through this grant, volunteer networks will deliver thousands of pounds of fruits and vegetables from local farms to low-income residents in the Walnut Hills, South Cumminsville, Millvale and North Fairmont neighborhoods.

    Soup Cycle Cincy – This grant will help the organization expand by hiring youth chefs to work with volunteer professional chefs and college mentors. Soup Cycle provides healthy soups and raw vegetables to recreation centers in Price Hill, Avondale, Evanston and Over-the-Rhine.

    La Soupe – The grant will support the organization’s food-rescue efforts and help increase its impact through a new location.

    Enright Ridge Urban Eco-Village – The grant will fund energy-efficient refrigeration to help the organization expand programs in East Price Hill.

    Lincoln Heights Outreach – The funding will help expand fresh-food access through a food pantry; snacks and meals for students and seniors; community meals; block parties; and holiday dinners.

    Reach Out Lakota – The grant will help expand fresh-food access, including mobile outreach to those in need in West Chester, Liberty Township and the Lakota School District.

    Wyoming City Schools – The grant will support parent and student efforts to reduce food waste.


  • April 27, 2018 10:02 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Modern Restaurant Management, Barbara Castiglia

    This edition of MRM's Daily Bite features First Table, Cintas, Cooper's Meat Market, The P.J.W. Restaurant Group, Whitsons Culinary Group, Don Lee Farms, 110 Grill Restaurant Group, Sodexo, Elavon Becks Prime and Wolverine Packing.

    Send news items to Barbara Castiglia at bcastiglia@modernrestaurantmanagement.com.

    MRM Daily Bite Logo
    Stop Food Waste Day

    Approximately 40 percent of all food produced in the U.S. annually is wasted and ends up in landfills. With Stop Food Waste Day on April 27, Cintas Corporation announced its support for Green Umbrella’s food waste reduction campaign. Green Umbrella, an alliance of for profit, non-profit and government organizations across 10 counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, is aiming to cut landfill waste 33 percent by 2020 through awareness building and engaging corporations and households on key sustainability issues.

    “Many organizations and households don’t truly understand the amount of food that they waste,” said Krista Jaeger, Manager of Sustainability, Cintas. “By educating businesses and their employees about the reality of this issue, we can minimize its occurrence in work and home environments. Cintas is excited to tackle food waste, not just in Cincinnati, but in the many communities we serve across the country.”

    At Cintas, the food waste campaign is one part of a larger zero-waste-to-landfill certification process. Numerous Cintas distribution centers have been certified for waste reduction under the TRUE (Total Resource Use and Efficiency) system. By sharing sustainability strategies with its locations nationwide, Cintas aims to improve how waste streams are managed in the workplace and help its employee partners rethink waste generation at home.

    Green Umbrella’s Waste Reduction Action Team (WRAT) is focusing on strategies for food waste prevention, like meal planning to purchase only necessary ingredients; recovery, such as donations of excess food to pantries and soup kitchens; and recycling, like composting or anaerobic digestion. For example, the WRAT is hosting lunch and learns, developing a food waste challenge for households and promoting share tables at schools and donations of leftover pre-packaged food at the end of lunch periods to support food insecure. Additionally, Green Umbrella is partnering with the Save the Food campaign, which provides resources for reducing food waste.

    “In our region, about one in six households is food insecure while the average household of four throws away $1,500 of food annually,” said Lauren Campbell-Kong, Green Umbrella Waste Reduction Action Team Co-Chair. “By leveraging corporate partnerships and educating our region’s households, we have the capability to feed the hungry with the wholesome food that we are currently wasting, and to also greatly reduce costs and strain on our nation’s landfills.”

    Whitson's Launches Meatless Monday in Schools

    Whitsons Culinary Group®, a provider of nutrition services for public schools throughout the Northeast, has announced the launch of the Meatless Monday health initiative in all school districts Whitsons services. Meatless Monday is a global campaign that encourages students to enjoy meat-free meals on Mondays. Studies have shown that increasing plant-based proteins in your diet may reduce the risk of chronic preventable conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. Choosing to go plant-based, even one day a week, can also help reduce our carbon footprint and save precious resources like fossil fuels and fresh water.

    “Whitsons is proud to be a part of the Meatless Monday campaign. It perfectly complements our Simply Rooted™ philosophy of promoting healthy foods, a healthy environment, and balanced diets,” said Kelly Friend, Chief Operating Officer of Whitsons. “We are not taking away the option of meat on Mondays, we are simply making sure we are featuring and promoting a student-friendly vegetarian option. When students are looking for something hearty like a burger, we encourage them to try vegetarian burger options such as our classic garden or black bean burger. We prepare them just like we would a traditional burger and offer a variety of healthy toppings to keep it interesting,” said Friend. 

    In recent customer surveys conducted by Whitsons, students expressed an interest in having more meatless, plant-based menu options such as vegetarian and vegan which has been a growing trend with Generation Z. More students prefer replacing animal products with plant-based alternatives. "Our collaboration with Whitsons School Nutrition will provide students and staff in over 95 school districts in the Northeast with delicious meatless options every Monday throughout the school year. We hope the implementation of Meatless Monday in schools with Whitsons dining services will inspire students to start each week taking small steps that can instill healthy habits for life," said Cherry Dumaual, Partnerships Director at The Monday Campaigns.  

    Popular Plant-Based Product

    Don Lee Farms has sold more than a million Organic Plant-Based Burgers in less than sixty days, becoming the fastest growing product in its category.

    “Interest in our Organic Plant-Based Burger has just exploded,” said Donald Goodman, President, Don Lee Farms. “We are just keeping up with demand and are implementing plans to expand distribution every week.”

    “The fact that our Organic Plant-Based Burger is made with plants and not with science has resonated with people. No one wants to eat a burger hidden with artificial or modified ingredients if they have the choice,” said Danny Goodman, Don Lee Farms. “They want natural. They want organic. They want real.”

    The Don Lee Farms’ burger “bleeds” organic beet juice and sizzles on the grill from organic vegetable-based fats just like raw beef. It is the only burger in its category to qualify for the Organic Seal certified by USDA. The new burger launched to rave reviews. CookingLight Magazine proclaimed, “This burger was really delicious. I’d buy these again,” after tasting the top three leading brands.

    “Having sold a million burgers this quickly has exceeded everyone’s expectations,” continued Donald. “The excitement around this burger has been overwhelming. We are now expanding availability in club stores and will be introducing the burger in restaurants and other retail markets in the upcoming months.”

    Read more of the Daily Bite at ModernRestaurantManagement.com.

  • April 23, 2018 9:54 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: NYTimes Markets, Jess Messenger

    CINCINNATI--(BUSINESS WIRE--Approximately 40 percent of all food produced in the U.S. annually is wasted and ends up in landfills. With Stop Food Waste Day approaching on April 27, Cintas Corporation (NASDAQ: CTAS) has announced its support for Green Umbrella’s food waste reduction campaign. Green Umbrella, an alliance of for profit, non-profit and government organizations across 10 counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, is aiming to cut landfill waste 33 percent by 2020 through awareness building and engaging corporations and households on key sustainability issues.

    “Many organizations and households don’t truly understand the amount of food that they waste,” said Krista Jaeger, Manager of Sustainability, Cintas. “By educating businesses and their employees about the reality of this issue, we can minimize its occurrence in work and home environments. Cintas is excited to tackle food waste, not just in Cincinnati, but in the many communities we serve across the country.”

    At Cintas, the food waste campaign is one part of a larger zero-waste-to-landfill certification process. Numerous Cintas distribution centers have been certified for waste reduction under the TRUE (Total Resource Use and Efficiency) system. By sharing sustainability strategies with its locations nationwide, Cintas aims to improve how waste streams are managed in the workplace and help its employee partners rethink waste generation at home.

    Green Umbrella’s Waste Reduction Action Team (WRAT) is focusing on strategies for food waste prevention, like meal planning to purchase only necessary ingredients; recovery, such as donations of excess food to pantries and soup kitchens; and recycling, like composting or anaerobic digestion. For example, the WRAT is hosting lunch and learns, developing a food waste challenge for households and promoting share tables at schools and donations of leftover pre-packaged food at the end of lunch periods to support food insecure. Additionally, Green Umbrella is partnering with the Save the Food campaign, which provides resources for reducing food waste.

    “In our region, about one in six households is food insecure while the average household of four throws away $1,500 of food annually,” said Lauren Campbell-Kong, Green Umbrella Waste Reduction Action Team Co-Chair. “By leveraging corporate partnerships and educating our region’s households, we have the capability to feed the hungry with the wholesome food that we are currently wasting, and to also greatly reduce costs and strain on our nation’s landfills.”

    For more information, visit https://greenumbrella.org/Waste-Reduction-Action-Team and www.savethefood.com.

    .@CintasCorp joins @GreenUmbrella's fight against #foodwaste. #sustainability #SavetheFoodCincy

    Tweet this 

    About Cintas Corporation:

    Cintas Corporation helps over one million businesses of all types and sizes get READY™ to open their doors with confidence every day by providing a wide range of products and services that enhance our customers’ image and help keep their facilities and employees clean, safe and looking their best. With products and services including uniforms, mats, mops, restroom supplies, first aid and safety products, fire extinguishers and testing, and safety and compliance training, Cintas helps customers get Ready for the Workday®. Headquartered in Cincinnati, Cintas is a publicly held company traded over the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol CTAS and is a component of both the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and Nasdaq-100 Index.

  • April 16, 2018 12:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Cincinnati Enquirer, Community Press guest columnist Kristin Gangwer

    This year, as Green Umbrella celebrates 20 years as Greater Cincinnati’s hub for environmental sustainability, we are excited to reflect on the sustainability successes our region has achieved.

    Notably, in 2017, Greater Cincinnati was named the nation’s No. 1 metro area for sustainability by Site Selection Magazine. Additionally, we now have 116,000 acres of protected green space in the region, points of purchase for local fruits and vegetables have quadrupled since 2010, and we saw over 2 million visits to outdoor venues in 2017 alone.

    Even with all of our success, as we move towards 2020 and the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, this is not a time to rest. Through Green Umbrella’s seven Action Teams, individuals, organizations, corporations, and government agencies throughout the region continue to make progress on a range of sustainability priorities.

    For example, the Greenspace Action Team’s Greenspace Gems campaign recognizes and celebrates natural areas with outstanding scenic value, biological diversity, scientific importance or historic interest. Likewise, the Waste Reduction Action Team’s Save the Food Cincy campaign strives to reduce wasted food in schools, businesses and households.

    This Earth Day, we hope you will act locally with Green Umbrella and make a difference in the places where you live, work, and play.

    At home

    • Support local farmers, your health, and the local economy by shifting 10 percent of your food budget to local food. Find a farmers’ market or sign up for a CSA.

    • 40 percent of food (about $1,500 per household) is wasted each year. Shop with a plan, and store your food well so it doesn’t go to waste. Compost plant-based food scraps. Find great tips on how to reduce food waste and save on grocery bills.

    • Green your home! Switch to LED lightbulbs, explore solar energy, replace aging appliances with energy-efficient ones, and prevent air leaks around doors and windows. Looking to purchase or sell a home? Search for, or list, a home’s green features using the new Green MLS tool.

    • Plant native trees and plants, which require less water and maintenance to grow and help absorb excess rainfall. Join our region’s effort to plant 2 million trees by 2020.

    At work

    • Bike, walk, or ride the bus to work – even if it’s just one day a week. Download a free transit app (CincyEZRide, Bus Detective, Transit) to purchase fares and plan your route. Ask your employer to become a Transit-Friendly Destination.

    • Advocate for healthy, local food options in your cafeteria, and for practices that minimize wasted food. See if you can start on-site composting at work.

    • Advocate for low-mow landscaping at your work site, which helps reduce stormwater runoff.

    At play

    • Get outside! Visit one of the region’s Greenspace Gems to see the best of what our region has to offer.

    • Take part in May Bike Month. Attend movie screenings and join in on rides to get the whole family excited about cycling.

    • Get involved in your community and learn something new at the same time. Check out the hundreds of events hosted by our members on our Events Calendar.

    Together we can improve the quality of life and the environment in Greater Cincinnati. To learn more and become a member of Green Umbrella, visit greenumbrella.org.

    Kristin Gangwer is Green Umbrella interim executive director.

  • April 10, 2018 2:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Soapbox Media, Jerry Jackson

    Earth Day is a celebration of the natural community we share and one regional group is leading the efforts to educate the families of Greater Cincinnati on Earth Day.

    The Greater Cincinnati Earth Coalition is a community of not-for-profit organizations, businesses, government agencies, and individuals from the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana tri-state region who work cooperatively and actively to promote the beauty and environmental quality of the tri-state area.


    Greater Cincinnati Earth Coalition’s sole activity is to produce the Cincinnati Earth Day event at Summit Park in Blue Ash on Saturday, April 21 from 12-5pm. That includes helping more than 125 exhibitors with hands-on displays representing environmental groups, government agencies and businesses. You'll also find local music, local foods, and regional craft beer on display.

    The theme for 2018 will be “Food Waste” and promote activities with Green Umbrella’s Waste Action Team and its plan to reduce food waste, which makes up more than a fifth of our landfill volume.

    This year, the Earth Day event will kick off with a Scavenger Hunt at noon along with a Kids Zone including inflatables, games, face painting and animals. Families can learn tips and tricks to reduce grocery bills, learn more about recycling, and find out how to setup your own composting at home thanks to lessons from Gorman Heritage Farm.


    Live music starts at 2pm and includes performances by Room For Zero, the Brandon Coleman Quartet, and Hickory Robot.

    Although there will be plenty to see, hear and do at the event, the Greater Cincinnati Earth Coalition is still in need of individuals to help with the Greater Cincinnati Earth Day celebration.

    "We need individuals to help set up vendor booths before the event starts, individuals to help run specific booths during the event, and to help tear down the event after 5pm," says Lauren Campbell, the volunteer coordinator. 

    The Coalition will provide water bottle filling stations during the event so volunteers and attendees can bring refillable water bottles instead of the disposable variety. The event runs from 12-5 pm this year and the Coalition needs volunteers from 8 am-7 pm.


    "There are a myriad of tasks that we need volunteers for, from crafts and face painting, to heavy lifting and logistics," says Campbell. "It is my goal to leverage individuals’ strengths and passions for this day, please let me know if you consider yourself crafty or enjoy painting or if you can lift heavy objects (up to 75 lbs) as I need those specific, hard-to-fill tasks, filled." 

    The Greater Cincinnati Earth Coalition will provide volunteers with free t-shirts and free food as a thank you for their hard work. Anyone interested in volunteering for the Earth Day celebration should contact Lauren Campbell at volunteer@cincinnatiearthday.org now.

  • April 10, 2018 2:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Green Cincinnati News, Chuck Lohre

    Sustainability in Cincinnati has come a long way since 2002 when they received the results of an urban renewal report: 1. Establish a bridge fund to renovate OTR buildings for families, 2. Renovate Washington Park, and 3. Build a streetcar. 

    16 years later we are reaping the benefits of the implementation of those suggestions.

    Thanks to the Fortune 500 companies in downtown Cincinnati for contributing to the "Bank" that would lend money to those that wanted to rebuild in OTR but couldn't get a loan. Traditional banks could find no comparables so no loan. Even in 2014 one homeowner at the corner of 14th and Elm Streets went to 46 banks seeking a loan to renovate a 1800s building into three units. It got LEED Platinum in 2017.

    Holzhauer-Residence

    Sadly in 2011, I witnessed a police car run over and kill a homeless person that lived in Washington Park. I saw it from my second floor window looking south over the park from 14th Street. The park was a wonderful place for the homeless although it also it had the highest crime rate in the city. Since the homeless shelter moved to Central Parkway and all the other improvements, the park really has become a center piece for the neighborhood and a magnet for dogs, kids and moms. 

    You would think that they paved the streetcar route with gold based on all the development at every building. I have never seen such growth. Others might poo, poo the cost but the streetcar saved one of the most incredible architectural treasures in the world. The city of Cincinnati was built in 1850s as a walkable neighborhood with cisterns under the sidewalks and ideal three brick thick thermal masses.

    LEED-Gold-Store-1

    The start of the sustainable growth in Cincinnati really took off with the administrations of Roxanne Qualls and Mark Mallory. They re-established the office of Environmental Quality and the tax abatement for building LEED in the city. 

    At the same time the new USGBC Chapter joined with Ginny Fraizer to make the new Cincinnati Schools LEED. Ginny has a severe allergy to chemicals and could;t work in the first new schools. Contrary to popular belief "New Car Smell" is carsenigenic as well as stinky carpet. All the school building taught the local architects and contractors how to build LEED. But besides the new "Net Zero" Police Station on the west side, designed by Emersion Design, there are few other advancements in commercial sustainable construction. One big exception is the Cincinnati Zoo's Living Building Challenge African painted Dog House. We are very fortunate to have such an example of the future right here in the mid-west. You would have to go to Seattle, Pittsburg or Napa Valley to see another. Living Building Challenge buildings don't have a foot print. It's like they are a spaceship that landed on another planet, improving the environment. No combustion, no waste, no water use, no nothing. 

    IMG_8449_HDR_400

    My 800 square foot LEED Platinum office on 14th St. is an example of doing sustainability on a shoe string. Total cost was $9500: $3000 for USGBC fees, $3000 for materials and $3500 for a fun but unnecessary settle stove to demonstrate a renewable energy source. In contract to the Living Building Challenge, the USGBC considers pellets made from sawdust or agricultural waste renewable.

    And that brings me to what I want to have you take away from this presenation. It's not expensive to be sustainable. In fact, it always saves money and is more healthy. The city's leading clearing house for sustainability is the Green Umbrella. Started in 2004 by Brewster Rhoades, it now has over 200 member organizations and hundreds of individuals that get together every first Thursday at a local watering hole. I encourage you to join one of their Action Teams: Energy, Water, Waste, Outdoor Spaces, Food, Transportation and the Built Environment. Their success is based on "Measurable Environmental Improvement" just like LEED. It a language that just about everyone can agree on and foundations can contribute to.

    And sustainability can pay you in the city of Cincinnati. For a $500,000 home the tax abatement offered will garner you about $40,000. That's more than enough to cover the LEED fees and minor upgrades required. Plus you'll get a third party inspected home that proves it's built to premium standards. The local chapter o the USGBC has a very successful series of Green Home tours every year since 2014. There you will learn from the homeowners how they did it and how they love it all the way to the bank.

    Sustainability-in-Cincinnati

    One of the largest Action Teams of the Green Umbrella is the Food Team. Partnering with the Civic Garden Center which has over 50 neighborhood gardens, and local farmer markets; there are hundreds of volunteers and grass root organizations working to eliminate "Food Deserts;' and "Food Waste." The theme of the Greater Cincinnati Earth Day April 21, 2018, at Summit Park in Blue Ash will have four presentations on Food Waste, what it means and what you can do about it. The next day in Washington Park, another Earth Day event will allow you to recycle many hard-to-recycle items like electronic waste, fluorescent light bulbs, cell phones, and batteries.

    So get involved, share your accomplishments and ideas at the next Green Drinks.

    Read more in Green Cincinnati News.

  • March 23, 2018 10:55 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Yale Climate Connections, Sarah Wesseler

    With extreme weather events becoming more common, the city is ramping up its investments in solar and its mitigation efforts.

    Cincinnati may seem an unlikely location for the nation’s largest city-owned solar array. But when Mayor John Cranley announced last year that he intended to create just that, the plan was in many ways a natural fit. Over the past decade, the Ohio city has taken increasingly aggressive steps to decarbonize its energy supply – and it’s seeing impressive results.

    Unusual weather patterns have added new urgency to these efforts.

    “Over the last few years we’ve seen a surge in major storm events that’s triggered a rash of stormwater related issues – sewer backups, flash flooding, landslides,” said Oliver Kroner, who works in the city’s Office of Environment and Sustainability. “We’ve even had some river flooding just over the last couple of weeks for the first time since 1997.”

    Flooding in downtown area

    February 2018 flooding in downtown Cincinnati. Credit: Johanna Liming.

    Last year, the city spent $50 million responding to storm-related issues.

    As climate impacts become more visible in southern Ohio, government officials and citizens alike increasingly support bold action, Kroner said.

    “As we see these changes, they suddenly feel pressing. Where for a long time people may have said they really need to do something about climate change, the narrative has shifted, and the question now is, ‘What can I do?'”

    Cincinnati’s renewable energy push

    The city’s renewable energy efforts have grown out of its climate change action program, known as the Green Cincinnati Plan.

    The plan was first adopted in 2008, after the city council voted unanimously to act on climate change. A second version was passed in 2013, and a third is being finalized.

    Each iteration has added new layers, but the plan’s core objectives have remained consistent throughout: reducing greenhouse gas emissions while supporting broader municipal goals of saving money, creating jobs, and improving the local environment.

    The 2008 version established emission reduction targets of 8 percent below 2006 levels by 2012, 40 percent by 2028, and 84 percent by 2050. The city’s official statistics indicate it is on track to meet these goals: By 2015, emissions stemming from government operations had fallen by 36 percent, and those generated by the community at large were down by 18 percent.

    Cincinnati emissions and targetsCincinnati’s greenhouse gas emissions and future targets. Source: City of Cincinnati.

    Renewable aggregation program

    Some of the decline in emissions can be attributed to population loss, but municipal actions have played a key role. In particular, a renewable electricity aggregation program launched in 2011 has proven to be an effective tool for reducing carbon emissions. By pooling local residents and small businesses to create a critical mass of consumers, the government says it has been able to negotiate with energy suppliers to secure lower prices on renewables.

    As a result, Cincinnati is now the nation’s fourth-largest buyer of residential green energy, and more than 80 percent of its homes run on renewable electricity. Last year, it became the first U.S. city to add green natural gas to its aggregation offering.

    The program has been a win-win for customers and the environment, saving households millions on their collective energy bills and cutting annual emissions by approximately 250,000 tons.

    As the first of its kind in a major U.S. city, the aggregation initiative has drawn attention from across the nation. On its strengths, Cincinnati was designated a 2013 Green Power Community of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and, in the same year, named a finalist in the World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour City Challenge.

    Bulk buying leads to growth in residential solar

    Another city-led renewables program, Solarize Cincy, has led to significant growth in residential photovoltaic arrays since it launched in 2015. It uses a bulk buying program to help households reduce the cost of solar installations.

    Reaching the public with the message that solar panels are cheaper and more effective than ever has been crucial to the effort. Marketing materials emphasize the program’s potential to substantially reduce household utility bills, and a simple online formoffers free personalized assessments that describe financial incentives and estimate monthly savings.

    The result: Residential solar installations in Hamilton County, home to Cincinnati, shot up by 81 percent during the program’s first year.

    ‘Do what we can in our corner of the world …’

    Building on these successes, Mayor Cranley, a Democrat elected to a second term in November 2017, in recent months has announced a round of ambitious new initiatives. “I believe that we have to do what we can, in our corner of the world, to live up to our moral responsibility to care for this Earth,” Cranley said in a September speech.

    On the same day that President Trump announced his intention that the U.S. would pull out of the 2015 Paris climate agreement, Cranley committed to powering all municipal operations with renewable energy by 2035. To make headway on this goal, he proposed building a 25-megawatt solar installation on city land. When complete, it is projected to produce enough energy to power the equivalent of 3,000 homes. Construction is expected to begin in 2019.

    “Those are obviously big investments that the city does not have to do, by any means,” said Ryan Mooney-Bullock, the communications and program manager at local environmental nonprofit Green Umbrella. “[Local officials] have been really committed to decreasing the city’s contribution to climate change.”

    To reduce the government’s carbon footprint in the short term, Cranley recently signed a deal with a local energy supplier to provide 100 percent green power to most municipal buildings through 2021. This initiative is expected to lead to a 9.1 percent cut in emissions stemming from city operations, and to reduce annual expenses by more than $100,000.

    City’s new focus on fairness and equity

    For the latest iteration of the Green Cincinnati plan, the authors added a new lens of evaluation for each of the proposed actions: equity.

    Reflecting this new focus, the plan’s revised energy section proposes to build on current programs; the plan is to promote renewable generation and energy efficiency by targeting low- and moderate-income residents with tailored financing options and communications strategies.

    Because these households often spend a disproportionate amount of their income on utilities, they are expected to benefit significantly from cost savings associated with these programs.

    Kroner says he and his colleagues hope this and similar efforts can help struggling communities today while lessening their climate-related challenges in the future.

    “We’re realizing that when you look at climate change and who it will impact, in a lot of ways it’s a risk amplifier and will make existing problems worse,” he said. “We need to do better to prepare our low-income communities.”

    AUTHOR Sarah Wesseler is a Brooklyn-based writer focusing on cities, culture, and climate change.

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