Green Umbrella in the News

  • October 22, 2021 10:52 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: NKY Tribune

    The Duke Energy Foundation recently awarded $170,000 in grants to 14 organizations in Northern Kentucky and southwest Ohio to fund local wildlife conservation, healthy habitats, environmental projects and environmental programs to help communities protect their natural resources and mitigate the effects of climate change.

    This funding is a long-standing investment for the Duke Energy Foundation. Over the past five years, the Foundation has supported over 40 nonprofit organizations with more than $480,000 in grants to propel their environmental resiliency projects.

    Thomas More University’s Biology Field Station

    “We are committed to investing resources with our community partners to ensure future generations enjoy the benefits of nature and its beauty around us,” said Amy Spiller, president, Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky. “By supporting the organizations that do this important work, we can help protect and restore our natural resources as well as ensure quality environmental programs in our region.”

    Thomas More University’s Biology Field Station is one of this year’s recipients that will use the funding to continue its biological and water quality research located in California, Ky.

    “Since 1967, students and faculty have been conducting critical water quality research on the Ohio River as a means to preserve the ecological health of the ecosystem and to safeguard human health for those utilizing the river’s resources,” said Dr. Chris Lorentz, Professor, Biological Sciences and Director, Biology Field Station. “Long-term studies such as these are invaluable to advancing the fields of science and improving the quality of life in our region. With the gracious support from Duke Energy, Thomas More is able to keep this valuable research going and protect this important natural resource.”

    Another recipient which will partner with Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) this year is the Green Umbrella organization, which will use the funds to ensure schools have resources for nature-based play and learning on their grounds.
    “Green Umbrella is committed to environmental health and vitality of our region. In doing so, we’re pleased to receive a grant from Duke Energy where we can support the development of natural spaces at high-priority Cincinnati Public Schools so that all students have access to time outside in nature,” said Ryan Mooney-Bullock, executive director, Green Umbrella.

    2021 Nature Grant Recipients


    • The Boone Conservancy. Funds will be used for the Conservancy Park Habitat Restoration and Wildlife Education Program. The program’s goals are to create healthier habitats for native plants and animals, remove invasive species, and create a viewing platform to promote education.

    • Thomas More University Biology Field Station. The primary goal of this project is to address the number of threats to our aquatic resources like water pollution, harmful algal blooms and habitat destruction. Ultimately this work will lead to insights and solutions that reduce the adverse impacts of stormwater runoff and other environmental issues.

    Boone County Conservancy Park


    •Cardinal Land Conservancy. Funds will be used to install a live webcam on the bald eagle nest at the Little Miami Nature Preserve and utilize the opportunity for local K-12 teachers to develop curriculum to bring students to visit and learn at the site.

    • Cincinnati Reds Community Fund will help create a one-of-a-kind outdoor learning center in partnership with the Cincinnati Zoo to sustainably co-manage a 1-acre, biodiverse, living landscape alongside Rockdale Elementary, creating science and horticulture curriculum for students.

    • Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati. Grant funds will allow the Walnut Hills Restoration Board to develop a wetland restoration plan for low-lying areas. Walnut Hills students and volunteers will help with this ongoing project. The addition of a healthy wetland habitat will increase the plant and wildlife biodiversity on-site.

    • Dan Beard Council, Boy Scouts. Camp Friedlander and Camp Michaels (in Northern Kentucky) will be using funds for the Ecology, Conservation & Erosion Abatement programs. The plan will have scouts and their families participate in hands-on activities to learn about conservation and ecology, including removal of invasive species in the habitat.

    • Gorman Heritage Farm Foundation. Funds will be dedicated to the stream restoration project to improve water quality, reduce erosion, protect habitat, and support biodiversity. The farm strives to educate about agriculture, nutrition, sustainability and the environment on the grounds.

    • Great Parks Forever. Plans are for the funds to be used to reforest Mustang Fields with an experimental tree planting of a 9-acre land parcel to create new wildlife habitats along the Whitewater River corridor. Results will be used to help guide future reforestation projects in Hamilton County.

    Dan Beard Council’s Camp Michaels in Union

    • Green Umbrella. Funds will be used in the Growing Nature at Schools program, focused this year in Bond Hill (Bond Hill Elementary and AMIS) and Walnut Hills (Frederick Douglass Elementary) to create natural outdoor spaces for students.

    • Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District. Grant dollars will be used for the Cooper Creek Demonstration Urban Reforestation Initiative, focused on restoring the ecological integrity to the Cooper Creek. Funds will be used to help plant 250 trees to increase the tree canopy for the long-term improvement of stormwater management.

    • MetroParks of Butler County. Funds will be used for the Line Hill Meadow Restoration Project at Rentschler Forest MetroPark. The project will take the 8.5-acre field that has been overrun with exotic invasive plants and return it to a native prairie and meadow landscape. Signage will be added to help educate park visitors about the impacts of exotic invasive plant species on ecology and wildlife in the area.

    • Mill Creek Alliance. Funds will be used for the Mill Creek Restoration, Public Access, and Water Quality Monitoring programs. Mitigation of a low-head dam on West Fork Mill Creek will help to restore fish access to 35-square miles of habitat and improve water quality. Adding additional access points at other locations on the Mill Creek as well as water quality studies will also be part of the overall plan.

    • Taking Root. Grant money will be used for the Tree For Me Neighborhood Distribution program that helps to inform participants of the specific environmental and health benefits of trees and encourage better stewardship of our tree canopy. Residents can use the new interactive educational tool to see all of the benefits of a new tree on their property and to properly size and reserve their tree for pickup.

    • University of Cincinnati Foundation. Funds will be used for a real-time water quality monitoring system for the Great Miami River. Equipment will be installed to monitor water samples for contaminants. Data will provide managers and researchers means to study water quality changes to various hydrological events like storms and other environmental (contaminant release) events.
    Duke Energy Ohio/Kentucky, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, provides electric service to about 870,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in a 3,000-square-mile service area, and natural gas service to approximately 542,000 customers.

    The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to meet the needs of communities where Duke Energy customers live and work. The Foundation contributes more than $30 million annually in charitable gifts and is funded by Duke Energy shareholder dollars.

  • October 20, 2021 2:40 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WVXU

    By Ann Thompson

    Green Umbrella and five other groups were part of the Regional Collaboration for Equitable Climate Solutions pilot.

    The communities hit hardest by climate change events are often ones full of minorities. What can be frustrating is they probably don’t have a seat at the table to set policy to prevent and deal with weather disasters.

    The Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) is leading a pilot program to change that. It’s called Regional Collaboration for Equitable Climate Solutions (RCECS).

    Cincinnati’s Green Umbrella took part in one with Tampa, Florida, and Southeast Louisiana in August and it looks forward to continuing to collaborate with:

    Urban League

    OKI Regional Council of Governments

    Hamilton County Public Health


    Village of Silverton

    “Systemic injustices really permeate everything and so this pilot is really about how to make sure that understanding of history and more inclusive procedure for the creation of these regional efforts is part of the next generation of these collaboratives,” says Green Umbrella’s Climate Policy Lead Savannah Sullivan.

    This Greater Cincinnati collaborative wants to set policy and establish aid.

    “Providing different types of services that folks need post-disaster, whether they be sort of an energy crisis and need support with energy bills, as we experience more flooding or land sliding, those types of services provided from local governments or nonprofits," she says.

    Sullivan says racism is a magnifier of the deadly impact of climate change.

  • October 13, 2021 2:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: National League of Cities

    By Abygail C. Mangar

    The City of Cincinnati continues to showcase its leadership in both emissions reductions and climate adaptation through a variety of efforts. It committed to achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 2035 and recently passed legislation to fund new transit measures. Cincinnati residents face growing challenges, however, from both extreme heat and increased precipitation. These health, economic and climate consequences are unfortunately far more pronounced for Black, Indigenous and other people of color. As we have seen in other cities across the country, it is often the municipal sustainability teams that lead the charge to address inequities both within communities and even internally, among city departments. Cincinnati’s sustainability team understood that in order to mitigate climate impacts, especially for residents who are most at risk, it must integrate equity into its practices and policies.

    The sustainability team outlined a citywide goal to operationalize sustainability and resilience strategies that foster more equitable and inclusive programs and practices. The team wove these ideals into a 2018 Green Cincinnati Plan that aimed to establish Cincinnati as a national leader in sustainability, as well as an attractive destination for businesses and individuals. NLC selected Cincinnati to participate in the 2020 Leadership in Community Resilience (LCR) cohort for its outstanding progress and four proposed goals:

    Deepen existing relationships and form new partnerships with environmental groups to create a sustainability-focused equity playbook and implement the Green Cincinnati Plan.

    Operationalize the equity playbook to incorporate equity into sustainability and resilience programs.

    Expand sustainability and equitable resilience city- and department-wide.

    Advocate for sustainability and resilience overall among staff, elected leaders, community leaders, and other stakeholders.

    The sustainability team prioritized community collaboration to realize these goals and entered a partnership with Groundwork Ohio River Valley (Groundwork ORV), a Cincinnati-based environmental justice non-profit, and Green Umbrella, a regional sustainability alliance with hundreds of member organizations based in the Greater Cincinnati area.

    The COVID-19 pandemic presented numerous challenges that tested the city’s resilience and underscored the fact that some communities are well-prepared for crisis, while some are more vulnerable. The team focused its efforts on improving its understanding of those vulnerabilities in Cincinnati.

    The momentum of the work benefited from three additional grants:

    Climate Safe Neighborhoods

    Groundwork ORV received a Climate Safe Neighborhoods (CSN) grant to work with at-risk communities to develop mitigation measures for extreme heat, flooding and air pollution. Recognizing the lasting environmental and socio-economic impacts of historic segregation policies like redlining and urban renewal, the team did a deep dive with community members of the Lower Price Hill neighborhood to understand what environmental and climate disruptions looked like from residents’ perspective. A series of six meetings were held with a team of residents who were paid for their expertise as community members. Throughout the meetings, the team produced the region’s first neighborhood-level resiliency plan.

    Heat Risk Mapping

    With the support of NLC’s LCR program, Cincinnati was selected to participate in the NOAA/NIHHIS heat island mapping program. This grant provided the team with equipment to measure the urban heat island effect across town. Recruited resident volunteers collected over 10,000 data points that were aggregated and synthesized into a heat map. The data showed a 9°F temperature difference when comparing locations across the city. The map highlighted heat burden and critical evidence to emphasize the need for cooling strategies, such as tree planting, public pools and cooling stations.

    Climate Equity Indicators

    Cities have limited funding and resources, and the climate crisis has an ever-growing price tag. Cities need data to help target resources where they are needed most. This makes it possible to design better policies and programs that address the needs of vulnerable community members. Data, nonetheless, often comes aggregated at the city level, creating challenges to strategically deploy programs. With a grant from Kapwa Consulting, the city’s sustainability team engaged the University of Cincinnati in synthesizing its community engagement work into the city’s first Climate Equity Indicators Report. This collection of neighborhood-level climate vulnerability data will be foundational to future climate resilience planning and program development.

    Recommendations for Local Leaders

    The Cincinnati sustainability team’s work exemplified how partnerships between city government, community-based organizations and residents can enhance program development, engagement and outcomes. Learning from Cincinnati’s experience with the LCR program, here are four ways local leaders can prioritize equity in their city plans:

    1. Partner with Local Organizations that have Deep Roots in the Community:

    This effort was a partnership among several organizations, but it all hinged on fostering relationships with organizations that had deep relationships in the community. These organizations served in diplomatic roles to connect residents with partner organizations and government agencies. These bridge-builders were essential for establishing rapport and trust, but also critical for managing the logistics of sharing meeting information with residents and assisting community members to participate in virtual meetings.

    2. Community Members are Experts:

    City leaders often seek climate professionals as subject matter experts for climate resiliency planning. For community resilience planning, however, residents serve as the experts on life in their neighborhoods and should receive compensation accordingly. This practice helps rebuild trust between local governments and under-resourced communities that have been historically left out of planning processes.

    3. Establish Equitable Processes Instead of Only Equitable Outcomes:

    City governments often measure distributional equity, or how resources are spread across communities. They often focus on “the deliverable” of a project. The process is the product in this example. The team learned to critically think about procedural equity, particularly for co-creating programs and policies with the community. The Climate Safe Neighborhoods is a deep dive into procedural equity that other city departments can now use as a model.

    4. Strategic Scaling:

    Cincinnati contains 52 neighborhoods. The sustainability team spent a lot of time embedded in one neighborhood. The city’s time commitment helped ensure that there was adequate engagement across the city.

    NLC would like to acknowledge Oliver Kroner, Sustainability Manager at the City of Cincinnati, for his contributions to this article.

  • October 13, 2021 12:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Ryan Mooney-Bullock, Green Umbrella Executive Director

    Dear Friends for Great Parks,

    Green Umbrella’s Board of Trustees has elected to endorse the Great Parks of Hamilton County 0.95 mill property tax levy on the ballot this November. Tri-State Trails’ (an initiative of Green Umbrella) Executive Committee has also voted to endorse the levy.

    Great Parks’ Master Plan is committed to increasing conservation of critical greenspace, educating the public about the natural environment and what they can do to protect it, increasing the sustainability of the park district’s operations and increasing access to quality greenspace for all people in our county. All of these priorities help achieve Green Umbrella’s vision for a resilient, sustainable region for all.

    Great Parks serves as a biological reserve that protects 17,742 acres of land in the county, including 9,800 acres of forest, 2,000 acres of grassland, and 600 acres of wetland. While residents may be most familiar with the “developed” harbors, shelters, playgrounds and other outdoor recreation facilities, more than 80% of the land is kept as natural area and managed for biological diversity and benefits of wildlife. As the County’s largest land holder, Great Parks plays a critical role in protecting the environmental quality and biological diversity of our entire region. These forests, wetlands and other ecological features serve as the lungs and sponges for all of us: absorbing carbon and stormwater and sharing clean air and water with all of us.

    Additionally, Great Parks is a key partner in building out a connected regional trails network. Great Parks has taken the lead to connect the Little Miami Scenic Trail, our region’s longest trail and the southern leg of the Ohio to Erie Trail, to downtown Cincinnati. Through their Master Plan process, Great Parks has heard that expanding trails—and connecting park destinations with a regional trail and greenway network—is a top priority of Hamilton County voters. We know they will continue their track record of building and maintaining high quality trail experiences for generations to come.

    For these reasons, Green Umbrella believes it is critical that Great Parks has access to the financial resources to turn its Master Plan into reality. The 0.95 mill levy before Hamilton County voters this November is a chance for our community to invest in protecting our natural resources, increasing access to outdoor experiences and time in nature, and connecting our trails network… all of which improve health and quality of life in Hamilton County.

    Ryan Mooney-Bullock
    Executive Director, Green Umbrella

  • October 11, 2021 12:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Spectrum News

    By Casey Weldon

    When Greater Cincinnati residents fill out their ballot for the 2021 election, one environmental organization wants them to remember a popular adage many learned in grade school.

    Think globally, act locally.

    What You Need To Know

    • Green Umbrella is co-hosting a forum on environmental issues for candidates in Cincinnati's mayoral and city council races
    • Cincinnati has a long history of environmental leadership and Green Umbrella wants to ensure that continues under new elected leadership
    • Some programs Cincinnati has introduced include an all-electrical vehicle parking program, a municipal solar array and a 2030 District, which aims to cut local carbon emissions by 50%
    • The next iteration of the Green Cincinnati Plan is expected to start next year

    Green Umbrella is the regional sustainability alliance for Greater Cincinnati. They bring together organizations across 10 different counties in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky to discuss and create plans for addressing environmental issues.

    Currently, they're focused on Cincinnati, co-hosting a "Local Candidate Climate and Sustainability Forum" on Wednesday, Oct. 13.

    The free virtual event aims to give voters a chance to hear directly from the candidates on their goals and policy proposals related to the environment. It takes place from 6 to 8 p.m.

    Green Umbrella has invited both mayoral candidates, Aftab Pureval and David Mann; both plan to attend. They've also invited all 35 candidates running for city council. So far, 23 have accepted.

    Savannah Sullivan, Green Umbrella's Climate Policy lead, said according to Pew Research Center, two-thirds of Americans believe the government should do more on climate change.

    "This event isn't about a single policy or decision that an elected official or legislative body will make. It's about learning which environmental issues are at the forefront of a candidate's mind," she added. "It's also about showing elected officials that this is a priority subject matter for Cincinnati voters."

    Can local politics impact the environment?

    Global accords, like the Paris Agreement, or national policies related to topics, like fracking and carbon emissions, are often front of mind for voters. Sullivan said they aren't wrong. But it doesn't mean local, county and state strategies aren’t crucial as well.

    "As the climate crisis intensifies globally, local policies to combat climate change are central to an effective and equitable response,” she added.

    In November, Cincinnati voters will choose a new mayor and a complete set of nine city councilors.

    Over the next two years, the winners will make decisions that affect current and future generations of residents of not just the city's 52 neighborhoods, but also the broader region.

    That includes affordable housing, zoning, transportation policies and new infrastructure — all of which have an environmental element, Sullivan said.

    The city government also plays a role in the operation of two public utilities; they operate Greater Cincinnati Water Works and co-mange the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati.

    "Cincinnati is fortunate in that we've had a dedicated sustainability office and action plans for years. That said, we still have a long way to go," Sullivan said. "Extreme heat and precipitation events will become more intense and frequent in the coming decades, as will effects on our land, health and local economy. Preparedness will require all hands on deck."

    Not just trees and energy, but people and places too

    The Cincinnati-Hamilton County Public Library is co-hosting the candidate forum. Other co-hosts include the Cincinnati chapter of the NAACP, Groundwork Ohio River Valley and Action Tank.

    Not all have missions rooted in environmentalism, but each have a vested interest in climate change and sustainability efforts. That's due to their impact on the communities they serve.

    Officials from the library said they aim to be a "cornerstone of democracy." They want to connect members to "resources to help them be informed, engaged and empowered citizens."

    "As a place where all are welcome to both register to vote and cast their vote, the Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library sees co-sponsoring events that build community members’ knowledge and understanding of today’s issues— such as our environment, climate, and sustainability — and candidates as one piece of our broader effort to engage everyone in the democratic process."

    Sullivan said while issues, like sustainability and climate change, affect all residents, they don't affect all residents equally.

    “Some neighborhoods and populations in Cincinnati are more exposed and less prepared to survive and thrive under climate threats due to systemic injustices. In particular, our communities of color and low-income communities have been most acutely impacted, and will continue to be until their voice is centered in climate action goals,” she emphasized.

    A history of environmental leadership

    Sullivan called Cincinnati a longtime "national leader" on sustainability.

    Over the years, it put many environmental initiatives in place.

    The city is constructing the largest municipal solar array in the country. They use green infrastructure and planning to construct and update city facilities, including the first net-zero police station in the country. They introduced a free parking program for owners of all-electric vehicles.

    Many of the the city's buildings and facilities have solar panels as well.

    They won an American Cities Climate Challenge Award in 2018 and worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) last year to create a map of the most heat-vulnerable locations in Cincinnati.

    It was also one of the early adopters of a city-run recycling program. Over the last 30-plus years, city residents have made recycling a daily habit, diverting more than 400,000 tons of material from the waste stream.

    It's not just the city of Cincinnati, either. Local agencies, corporate partners and others have played a role, too.

    One of the prime examples is the Cincinnati 2030 District. It's a program facilitated by Green Umbrella, but supported by the current mayor and city council.

    A 2030 District isn't a physical place so much as a collection of property owners and managers, developers and commercial tenants who have committed to reducing their carbon footprint by 50% by the year 2030. They do so by cutting down on energy use, water consumption and transportation emissions.

    Some partners include Procter and Gamble, Kroger, the Cincinnati Zoo, Fifth Third Bank, and the city of Cincinnati itself. The current 42 members have committed 318 buildings to the district, equaling about 27.7 million square feet of space.

    Collaboration with city staff and coordination with elected official champions have been key ingredients to the success of these initiatives, Sullivan said.

    Green Cincinnati Plan

    Green Umbrella partnered with the Ohio Environmental Council this spring to provide candidates with the opportunity to work with their policy experts in developing their platforms. One of the main topics was the Green Cincinnati Plan.

    The Green Cincinnati Plan is a guidebook for reducing the city's climate footprint. It was first created in 2008 and includes focal points of improving resiliency, environmental quality and equity. Topics range from food production to housing to transportation.

    The nearly 170-page document contains a list of goals and recommendations believed to be the "highest-impact, most feasible strategies for reducing the risks of climate change," per the plan.

    An update to include 80 strategies to reduce Cincinnati's carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 was voted on and approved by members of city council in May 2018. As intended, the plan serves as a tool for informing city policy and decision-making on everything from new developments to budget proposals.

    Historically, the plan is updated every five years, meaning the next iteration should take place in 2023. Based on that timeline, they'll collect public input throughout 2022.

    If that's the case, candidates elected to office will have a role in helping to shape, and possibly vote on the next iteration of the plan.

    “This next round of elected leaders will have an important role to play in advancing the city’s green work," Sullivan said. “Whether it's voting to pass the Green Cincinnati Plan, making a decision about specific ordinances or championing key issues, their decisions will impact the future for all of us."

    How the event will work

    The event will be two hours long, and if additional candidates decide to join they will extend the time, Sullivan said.

    The format will work like this:

    Green Umbrella and co-hosts offer a few minutes of opening remarks

    Each mayoral candidate has three minutes to state their position

    After each has spoken, they'll receive a handful of questions and have a chance to respond

    Council candidates each have two minutes to share their platform and will be asked one question

    Those who want to take part in the event can register on Green Umbrella's website.

    The event will air live on Zoom and live-stream on Green Umbrella’s Facebook. Questions are being collected in advance through the event registration process.

  • October 11, 2021 12:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: FM Link

    By Brianna Crandall

    The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) and Cincinnati 2030 District recently announced the launch of an Occupant Health Guide that helps organizations prioritize healthy building design and operations strategies based on local health data. A first for IWBI and 2030 Districts, the Guide represents nearly two years of cross-sector collaboration and is intended to serve as a model for other cities and districts around the world aiming to bring attention to building practices that can most directly address local health concerns.

    IWBI president and CEO Rachel Hodgdon stated:

    Today, one thing everyone can agree on is that our physical and social environments have never before played such a critical role in our health and well-being. We’re in the midst of a pivotal moment towards transforming the way we interact with our shared spaces, and the incredible momentum behind the Cincinnati 2030 District and this newly released Occupant Health Guide is a testament to that evolution. We’re so pleased to have found such innovative and forward-thinking partners in Cincinnati.

    According to IWBI, the Occupant Health Guide is the first instance where a building rating system has been tailored to specific local public health needs and outlines expected health and building benefits. This initiative began with an analysis of several local health reports, including the Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) produced by The Health Collaborative and their regional health partners and member hospitals.

    The Health Collaborative used this data to determine the top health priorities for Greater Cincinnati, which were then mapped (among other factors) to IWBI’s WELL Building Standard version 2 (WELL v2) — the premier building certification promoting human health and well-being. The Guide also integrates an analysis of data from one of the country’s largest health insurance companies, which identified the top categories for health insurance claims and spending for major employers in the Cincinnati region.

    By connecting the region’s top health priorities to WELL v2 strategies, the Guide will enable the District’s members and partners to connect building-scale interventions with local health and environmental priorities. This will enable Cincinnati employers, real estate owners, facility managers, and policymakers to make evidenced-based decisions for their own community. The Guide will also help local building owners and managers identify various strategies they can pursue to achieve the goals of the first-ever 2030 District Health Pillar, which the Cincinnati 2030 District pioneered.

    Elizabeth Rojas, director of the Cincinnati 2030 District, remarked:

    The Cincinnati 2030 District, in collaboration with our members, partners, local health organizations, and with the support of IWBI, will establish the greater Cincinnati region as a leader in the area of building occupant health. We will provide an innovative platform for building owners and managers to implement strategies to create healthier buildings which will have a significant impact on the health and well-being of our community.

    The Cincinnati 2030 District boasts more than 27 million committed square feet and has focused efforts with many of the largest properties including Procter and Gamble, Kroger, Cushman and Wakefield’s Columbia Plaza, and Fifth Third Bank.

    Jeremy Faust, environmental sustainability leader, Fifth Third Bank, commented:

    Healthy buildings are becoming a central feature in new office design, and Fifth Third is excited to see the Occupant Health Guide as an emerging framework to prioritize solutions with the greatest impact on occupant health. We support the work of the Cincinnati 2030 District to improve the health and sustainability of the Queen City.” Fifth Third Bank was a founding member of the Cincinnati 2030 District and is part of the District’s Advisory Committee.

    The work of the Cincinnati 2030 District continues Cincinnati’s leadership in urban sustainability while creating a more livable, resilient community that is better able to attract a high caliber workforce and new economic development opportunities. The Cincinnati metro area continues to emerge as one of the country’s leading sustainable cities and has ranked in the top three most sustainable in the nation by Site Selection Magazine for the last 5 years.

    The Cincinnati 2030 District is a membership organization facilitated by Green Umbrella, Greater Cincinnati’s regional sustainability alliance. It is one of 23 established Districts in North America. Participating building members across all districts make a voluntary, collective commitment to reduce their buildings’ energy use, water consumption and transportation emissions 50% by the year 2030. The District now includes a fourth Occupant Health Pillar, a first for 2030 Districts nationally.

    The Occupant Health Guide is available online:

  • October 01, 2021 12:26 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WVXU

    By Ann Thompson

    A room with a view is among one of the benefits that allows for a productive work environment, a new report says.

    The publication, developed by Cincinnati's 2030 District, covers everything from air and water to mental health.

    The Cincinnati Chapter of the environmentally conscious 2030 District has named employee health as a priority. With the help of community partners, it developed a guidebook for companies on how they can support their workers and create healthier workspaces.

    There are seven key components in this Occupant Health Guide:








    During a virtual presentation Sept. 30, architect Amy Malmstrom spent time explaining why the mind is a part of this. “We’re thinking about mental health as truly a whole person’s wellbeing and how space can truly impact you and how we can adopt space so that you can have the best and most productive work environment.”

    Haworth workplace design specialist John Scott was the featured speaker and pointed out just getting up and walking around can rejuvenate employees. Scott says whenever possible, let workers go outside and work. If it isn’t, he says bring the outside inside, suggesting plants and rooms with a view.

    “Office workers we found to perform anywhere from 10-25% better on mental functions and recall when they had a view to the outside,” he says.

    You can download a short and longer version of the guidebook on 2030’s website.

    Director Elizabeth Rojas called it the organization’s “fourth pillar.” 2030 already has goals of reducing energy, water and transportation by 50% by the year 2030.

  • September 30, 2021 12:25 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WVXU

    By Jolene Almendarez

    Dozens of cyclists and community members showed support for making the piloted mile-long Clifton bike lane permanent at a special Neighborhoods Committee meeting Thursday night. Despite some opposition for the project, officials joined in supporting the issue. But it would still be three to five years before one could be constructed. So what happens to the temporary one in the meantime?

    The Department of Transportation says making the bike lane permanent could cost about $3 million.

    John Brazina, director of transportation and engineering, says the Clifton bike lane was always meant to be a temporary installation that was intended to be taken down in August. He cited safety concerns about issues like keeping roadways and lanes clear during winter months.

    "So with the temporary installation, we're concerned about how that was going to affect traffic, the cones, the barriers, the signs, things like that," he said

    But he verified data collected by those who support the project: traffic accidents weren't impacted by the bike lane, speeding was reduced, and there's public support for the project.

    Brazina said a city survey shows 78% of the 147 people who responded support making the lane permanent.

    "This shows that there is momentum and there is support for a permanent solution," he said.

    Matt Butler, president at Devou Good Foundation, says the nonprofit can pitch in to address some of the issues raised by the city. The organization has already donated $100,000 for the pilot program.

    For instance, the organization is willing to donate $50,000 toward the purchase of a downsized street maintenance vehicle to keep debris and snow out of the lane. And they'd shell out another $100,000 to improve the design and aesthetics of the bike lane, along with extending it to East McMillan Street.

    It's also willing to invest $200,000 to install a protected bike lane down Ludlow Avenue to Blue Rock Street in Northside, which is an already approved permanent bike lane set to be built within five years.

    "Clifton Avenue is — you guys have quite a road there, 70 feet wide. It's pretty difficult to cross if you're walking," he said. "There's no stoplights at a lot of the crosswalks. And we thought anything that we can do to attempt to make things better, we'd love to help out. And so we've been involved in this process from the beginning."

    Butler has noted taking down the bike lane would cost about $20,000, which is money better spent on investing in better infrastructure for cyclists.

    Wade Johnston, director of Tri-State Trails, says in addition to funding the project, organizers are more than willing to work with neighborhood groups and the University of Cincinnati to find a solution that works for everybody.

    "We want to find common ground — a win, win, win — to make the bike lane permanent," he said. "Number one, that's our end game here, right? And to improve the safety on Clifton Avenue overall. But while we know that's going to take three to five years to find money to do that, in the short term, can't we keep what we have, or some version of it, some improved version of it, that will allow for bikers to continually continue to get to campus safely?"

    With such strong support, what's the concern?

    Two officials for the University of Cincinnati spoke about some of their concerns about the bike lane and what it means for the campus community.

    Pat Kowalski, vice president for administration and finance, said university officials supported the pilot program before it was even launched. They also requested it be removed by Aug. 1, though. Kowalski says that's not because they don't support the project. They just didn't see a path forward financially or logistically.

    "We do support a bike lane. But we do want a long term solution that facilitates flow for not only the bikers, but for the vehicles out on Clifton and the pedestrians that move around — a long term comprehensive solution," he said.

    And unrelated construction plans along Clifton Avenue, he said, need to be taken into account.

    UC officials weren't the only ones with concerns. Over 60 people attended the meeting and most were in favor of keeping the bike lane in place. But a few residents spoke out against the lane.

    One resident spoke about increased congestion in the area, with traffic back-ups and increased commuting times, especially during peak travel times.

    Another speaker said he's lived in the neighborhood for decades and is also a bike rider.

    "I think that the temporary bike lane has been a disaster... it's been turned into an eyesore. There's concrete barriers. There's bright orange plastic cones all over. It's embarrassing. It's a cesspool," he said.

    But supporters pushed back on these criticisms saying traffic has always been congested in the area. They also said the city should be committed to keeping people safe and saving lives with pedestrian safety projects.

    Neighborhoods Committee Chair Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney was also given credit by bike lane supporters for keeping the issue up for public comment and speaking in favor of the project at City Hall.

    She said what comes next for the project is bringing together stakeholders to talk about possible next steps.

  • September 28, 2021 12:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WVXU

    Congress is considering two massive bills that both contain action on climate change. The first is the infrastructure bill that would pledge billions of dollars toward cleaner transit and resiliency projects in disaster-stricken communities. The second is the $3.5 trillion bill that would direct billions of dollars to incentivize coal and natural gas burning utilities to switch to renewable energy. Using a budget process known as reconciliation, Democrats hope to pass this second package with only Democratic votes.

    Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss climate legislation are Natural Resources Defense Council Climate and Energy Program Director of Federal Electricity and Utility Policy Yvonne McIntyre; City of Cincinnati Office of Environment and Sustainability Director Michael Forrester; and Green Umbrella Executive Director Ryan Mooney-Bullock.

    Listen at

  • September 22, 2021 12:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: CityBeat

    Fall is here, and the weather in Cincinnati is looking incredibly comfortable this weekend — practically perfect for doing something outside.

    And to encourage locals to get out there, the 18th-annual Great Outdoor Weekend is offering more than 100 free activities across area parks, rivers, trails and more.

    Presented by regional sustainability alliance Green Umbrella and partner organizations, adults and kids alike can expect to partake in events ranging from rooftop yoga at Rhinegeist to free pedal boat rentals at Miami Whitewater forest and a butterfly walk at Woodland Mound to "competitive bird-watching" at Grailville. See a full calendar of events at

    In a release, the organization also encourages people to get out on their own to bike, hike, or explore Green Umbrella's 40 natural Greenspace Gems or Tri-State Trails' more than 570 miles of trails.

    Green Umbrella says spending time outside can help with everything from stress reduction and improving self-esteem to helping with quality of sleep.

    "Now more than ever, people are turning to trails and parks to be healthy — both physically and mentally," says Tri-State Trails Director Wade Johnston in a release. "Tri-State Trails' Trail Monitoring Program documented that trail usage was up 19% in 2020 compared to 2019 around the region."

    Great Outdoor Weekend takes place Sept. 25 and 26. All events are free. For more info, visit

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