You are browsing the archive for Sustainability.

Alternatives Begin Fueling Transit in Northeast Ohio

January 18, 2013 in News, Transportation

A number of Northeast Ohio Transit Agencies have begun to look at alternative ways to fuel public transportation.  Last year, Stark Area RTA unveiled their new Clean Natural Gas system used to fuel a number of new buses at SARTA.

CNG is the Cleaner, Greener, Domestic and more Affordable option.

Cleaner:

Reduces health-harming air pollutants - 95% less particulate matter, carbon monoxide emissions and 80% less nitrogen oxide emissions.  (U.S. Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Labratory).

Greener:

Lowers greenhouse gas emissions by 26-29% in cars and light trucks and 23% in medium to heavy-duty vehicles.

Domestic:

98% of natural gas is produced in North America; reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

Affordable:

Costs 25-40% less than diesel fuel (1/3 of the cost of traditional gasoline), has maintenance costs equal to or less than gasoline or diesel vehiles.

SARTA will see a savings of over $300,000 per year by making the switch. 

 

This week, the Greater Cleveland RTA announced that it will be testing out a new hydrogen fuel-cell bus in Cleveland in tandem with the NASA Glenn Fuel Cell Bus 3.jpgResearch Center. From Cleveland.com:

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority has teamed with NASA Glenn Research Center to bring the bus to town and keep it refueled at a bus garage in East Cleveland.

The setup is among only a few in the country, supported in part by a federal program testing the practicality of hydrogen-fueled buses.

They run cleaner, quieter and more efficiently than diesel-fueled coaches.

Lowering transit demand for diesel and other fossil fuels could help lessen dependence on foreign oil, advocates say.

And sparking demand for buses running on hydrogen fuel cells could boost a fledgling industry.

“Our partnership with NASA has made it possible to offer the first of this technology in Ohio,” said Mike Lively, manager of RTA’s Operations Analysis, Research and Systems Department. “We are excited to offer it to our riders and the Cleveland community.”

RTA acquired the distinctive, green-and-white bus for up to a year. It’s a no-cost loaner from United Technologies Corp., a Vermont-based company that makes fuel cells. The company is working with the Federal Transit Administration to test the performance, operating cost, reliability and safety of the buses. They cost a lot more than conventional coaches.

RTA’s bus seats 57 and will roll up to 80 miles a day. The transit agency will cover operating costs and has already paid NASA Glenn and its contractors $50,000 to install the fueling equipment.

Local advocates of alternative energy have pursued the hydrogen-fueled bus for several years.

The Cleveland Foundation supplied a grant that helped NASA Glenn and the Ohio Aerospace Institute ship in a hydrogen-fueling station once used in Vermont.

Crews also installed an electrolyzer from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The device separates hydrogen from water, allowing the gas to be stored at the fueling station and pumped into tanks aboard the bus.

NASA pioneered fuel cell technologies 50 years ago for manned space flight.

“We’re hopeful that we show to the community how straightforward it is to deal with hydrogen and how simple and effective it is,” said Valerie Lyons, chief of NASA’s power and in-space propulsion division.

Sierra Lobo, a NASA Glenn contractor, installed the fueling station at RTA’s Hayden Garage in East Cleveland. That facility already had equipment for compressed natural gas.

The station will feature 50 hydrogen sensors developed by NASA Glenn, Case Western Reserve University and a California company.

What Can I Do Today?


SC2019 Kicks Off Year of Advanced & Renewable Energy

January 17, 2013 in News, Quality Connected Places, Sustainability


Sustainable Cleveland 2019 (SC2019) is a 10-year initiative launched by the City of Cleveland in 2009 that engages everyone to work together to design and develop a thriving and resilient Cleveland that leverages its wealth of assets to build economic, social and environmental well-being for all.

Every year leading up to 2019, Cleveland will focus on one of the key areas fundamental to a sustainable economy. The Sustainable Cleveland Celebration Points are designed to be accessible to all members of the community — households, neighborhoods, businesses, and institutions can all participate, either in collaboration or independently.

Renewable-POST In celebrating 2013 as the Year of Renewable and Advanced Energy, SC 2019 is inviting everyone to attend launch party …

The winds of change… come and join us. Learn how Advanced and Renewable  Energy works  in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio. Learn about solar, wind, hydrogen, fuel cells, bio-energy, energy efficiency and more!

Stop by informational tables to hear how you can save money  and reduce your energy  consumption at work, home, and in your community.

Also come taste samples and purchase your new favorite healthy foods on site.

The event is  FREE and easily accessible via RTA. Parking available at the Willard Garage at regular price.

When: January 31, 2013 at 11:00am – 2:00pm
Where: Cleveland City Hall Rotunda, 601 Lakeside Ave. E., Cleveland, OH 44114
Cost: Free

Contact: Philena Seldon (216) 664-2801 pseldon@cleveland.oh.us

Please note, must have photo ID to enter City Hall

For more information, visit http://sustainablecleveland.org

What Can I Do Today?

 

Attention Developers and Investors: Smart Growth and Economic Success

January 16, 2013 in News, Planning and Zoning, Quality Connected Places

Smart Growth and Economic Success

Smart growth development is compact and walkable and provides a diverse range of choices in land uses, building types, transportation, homes, workplace locations, and stores. Such development projects are attractive to private-sector interests because they can find a ready market and compete financially. They appeal to local governments because they can be the building blocks of a growing economy and high-quality, economically sustainable neighborhoods and communities while also helping to create a cleaner, healthier environment. Some of the advantages for developers, communities, and local governments associated with smart growth include:

  • Compact development: Using land and resources more efficiently and redeveloping old or neglected areas while retaining existing infrastructure can create economic advantages for real estate developers and investors, businesses, and local governments. Compact development can generate more revenue per acre because it uses land more efficiently. It can reduce the costs of land and infrastructure for individual projects and the costs of providing fire and police protection, utilities, schools, and other public amenities. By locating companies closer together, compact development can create a density of employment that increases economic productivity and attracts additional investment.
  • Walkability: Walkable neighborhoods have well-connected streets and a mix of land uses near each other, making not only walking but also bicycling and transit more convenient and appealing. Projects in walkable neighborhoods command a price premium, earning real estate developers and investors a higher return on investment. Improvements to streets and sidewalks to make them more appealing to pedestrians can benefit local businesses by attracting more customers. In turn, local governments benefit through additional property and sales tax revenue.
  • Range of choices: People and businesses value places that bring together a variety of activities to create vibrant environments. The demand for such places exceeds the supply. Many people in the two largest demographic cohorts, baby boomers and their children, are particularly interested in lively neighborhoods with their daily needs close by. Communities with access to transit also help people reduce their transportation costs, enabling them to save money or spend more on their homes, entertainment, or other things they value. Changing demographics will likely further increase the demand for smart growth development over the coming decades; developers, investors, businesses, and local governments who respond to these market preferences could reap economic advantages.

Smart Growth and Economic Success is the first in a series of reports from EPA’s Smart Growth Program designed to inform developers, businesses, local government, and other groups about the benefits of smart growth development. This report incorporates feedback from a one-day workshop in December 2011 when business leaders, real estate developers, and economic development professionals came together to share their thoughts and make suggestions about how to expand on work in this area. Additional reports will build on this work, exploring how real estate developers and investors can overcome real and perceived barriers to benefit from infill opportunities, how decisions about where to locate will impact the bottom lines of businesses, and why smart growth strategies are good fiscal policy for local governments.Visit the EPA website to download a PDF of the Report.

What Can I Do Today?

 

Infill Housing and the HUD Livability Principles

January 8, 2013 in Housing, News, Quality Connected Places

Image courtesy of salazarch.com

In our work at NEOSCC, we are guided by six Livability Principles from The Partnership for Sustainable Communities (an interagency partnership between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)).  One of the principles is to ‘support existing communities’.  This principle is said to target federal funding toward existing communities—through strategies like transit-oriented, mixed-use development and land recycling—to increase community revitalization and the efficiency of public works investments and safeguard rural landscapes.  The EPA recently released a report examining residential construction trends in America’s metropolitan regions.  The report finds that nearly three out of four large metropolitan regions saw an increased share of new housing development in previously developed areas during 2005-2009 compared to 2000-2004. Known as infill housing, this type of development provides economic and public health benefits to metropolitan areas while protecting the local environment.  Northeast Ohio’s three metropolitan areas identified in the report had a low percentage of infill housing and they remained stagnate throughout the decade – a trend NEOSCC hopes to change in the future.

Metropolitan Region

2000-2004

% Infill

2005-2009

% Infill

Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor

27.3%

27.7%

Akron

18.9%

18.2%

Youngstown-Warren-Boardman

20.8%

21.%

What Can I Do Today?

“Treecycling”

December 29, 2012 in Communications, News, Sustainability

As the last post of the year, we thought it would be good to focus on a creating a more sustainable holiday. Every year, there is a debate about which is more environmentally friendly: artificial or natural Christmas trees. Regardless of what you chose this year, you can’t leave it up forever. There are a number of ways you can dispose of your natural Christmas tree to reduce the environmental impact. Here is a great infographic from GOOD.is on some of those the ways. Click on the image below to visit the original post.

A GOOD.is

So What is Vibrant NEO All About?

December 20, 2012 in Communications, News

Over the past week our website, Facebook and Twitter traffic has been steadily increasing.  In light of this we thought it would be an opportune time to give a quick overview of our initiative. In terms of history, funding and organization you can visit our About pages.  What we want to cover today is more of the soul of the initiative.

We all want our communities to be…

Vibrant (full of energy, enthusiasm, and vitality.)

Sustainable (not wasteful; making smart decisions that help the region thrive.)

Resilient (adaptable, tough and able to bounce back from difficulties.)

 

NEOSCC IS OUR REGIONAL ADVOCATE FOR THESE VALUES/GOALS

NEOSCC is a regional coalition funded mainly through a HUD Sustainability Communities Grant to NOACA.  It is made up of diverse members from across the 12-county area, including local and county governments, businesses, and organizations from the planning, transit, and higher education sectors.

VIBRANT NEO 2040 IS THE VEHICLE TO ACCOMPLISH OUR REGIONAL GOALS

Vibrant NEO 2040’s goals are to design a framework to move us toward a more vibrant, sustainable and resilient future, and create a set of tools we can use to build that future.

 

VIBRANT NEO 2040 IS PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE, IN THE RIGHT WAY

Vibrant NEO 2040 is practical – we believe we are more likely to succeed by pooling our efforts than by going it alone.

Vibrant NEO 2040 will focus on finding genuine consensus, bringing all of us together on common ground. It will capture what is meaningful to the residents of Northeast Ohio to build a shared vision for our future.

Vibrant NEO 2040 will create opportunities for real problem solving across jurisdictional boundaries and solutions will be built to fit local situations. There are no one-size-fits-all answers to these questions.

Vibrant NEO 2040 will help Northeast Ohio secure the resources it needs by developing a clear vision and strategy linking our transportation needs to our new and existing job centers and workforce markets.

 

GETTING THIS RIGHT IS GOING TO TAKE ALL OF US…

We need the perspectives of as many Northeast Ohioans as possible to create a real picture of what our region’s future needs to look like.

We’re doing this through our upcoming Scenario Planning process and we are inviting you to be a part of it (volunteer opportunities)

To see more about what NEOSCC and Vibrant NEO 2040 and why it’s so important to the future of our region, go to www.vibrantneo.org.

What Can I Do Today?

 

 

Stark County Education Network for Environmental Sustainability

December 14, 2012 in Stark, Sustainability

Are you interested in learning more about sustainability and what is going on in Stark County? The Stark County Education Network for Environmental Sustainability (SCENES) “facilitates the sharing of information, and takes advantage of  the combination of strengths, and opportunities in effort to raise community awareness and advance sustainable development and a healthy environment.” The project, led by Stark State College,  is supported by a consortium of colleges, universities and environmental groups in and around Stark County. Funding for this effort is provided by the Herbert W. Hoover Foundation.

The SCENES website highlights eight focus areas: Advocacy, Building and Construction, Ecosystems, Energy, Green Business, Green Tips, Transportation, and Waste.  It also features ways to get involved and best practices occurring throughout Stark County. Visit the site at http://www.starkscenes.org/ or read their most recent newsletter by clicking here!

What Can I Do Today?

Sustainable Communities Across the Country

December 13, 2012 in News, Sustainability

HUD Logo

The Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium is only one of a number of Sustainable Communities grantees. Recently, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development published profiles describing some of the work other recipients are doing.

 

  • “Every now and then you’ve got to ask the hard questions.  The one we choose to ask is: How will the Southeast Florida Region evolve over time to ensure that the development of the knowledge-based economy of the 21st   century provides opportunity for the inclusive participation of all of the region’s residents?”  – Dr. Mark B. Rosenberg, President, Florida International University.
  • Flint, MI is using a HUD Community Challenge grant to complete its first master plan since 1960, charting a new course for the community’s future.
  • The Tomorrow Plan, Des Moines, IA’s three-year planning effort funded by a HUD Regional Planning grant, fulfills Central Iowa’s need for a unifying vision that addresses how future growth will affect the region. In the words of project manager Bethany Wilcoxon, the goal of The Tomorrow Plan is to avoid “losing what makes us special.”
  • Equipped with a Regional Planning Grant, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council is implementing their groundbreaking blueprint for regional reinvestment in the cities, towns, and suburbs of Metropolitan Boston.
  • At the northernmost tip of Maine, the Counties of Washington and Aroostook are coming together to chart a course for mutual economic success with an integrated plan that addresses housing, transportation, water infrastructure, environmental planning, as well as economic opportunity and workforce development.
  • “Imagine a riverfront destination that you can easily walk to, bike to, and take public transportation to – and you can easily envision a place that sustains and attracts new residents and businesses.”- Pittsburgh Mayor Ravenstahl.  The Allegheny Riverfront Green Boulevard Planning project, funded by HUD Sustainable Community and DOT TIGER grants, will help convert a six-mile freight line into a green riverfront rail and trail corridor extending from downtown Pittsburgh to the city’s eastern edge.
  • A new hub of innovation is brewing in the Heartland, where Greater Kansas City is knitting together its neighborhoods and localities to implement sustained and coordinated economic growth.
  • HUD’s Sustainable Communities Initiative is assisting several communities within Washington State, including the fast-growing Puget Sound region and the Spokane Tribe of Indians.
  • The James Campbell Corridor in Columbia, TN, has attracted $7.5 million in new investment since Columbia was awarded its Sustainable Communities grant.

Click to visit the original article at HUD.gov. 

What Can I Do Today?

Greater Akron Growing Network for Sustainability

December 7, 2012 in Engagement, News, Portage, Summit, Sustainability

If you live in the Greater Akron and are interested in joining a growing sustainability network, you might want to check out the upcoming Greater Akron Innovation Network for Sustainability (GAINS) meeting.

GAINS was launched over the last year.  The first meeting was inspired by a handful of people who are active and passionate local business owners and community members that knew each other through an organization called Entrepreneurs for Sustainability (E4S).

From the organization’s Facebook page, membership is for…

Anyone who wants to be part of a growing network of people who care about what happens in regards to our environment and healthy community living. We want to help our Greater Akron area grow sustainably and to make smart decisions moving into the future. We are people who want to contribute, lend a hand, offer experienced insight, and have a good time while we do it.

To find out more about this growing sustainability network attend its upcoming meeting on December 12 from 5:30 to 8:00 pm (22 North High Street, Akron OH). There is no formal program this month. Instead, the core group will introduce themselves and open the floor for more networking.

 

What Can I Do Today?

 

Finding the tools to keep Northeast Ohio’s future bright

November 26, 2012 in Communications, Conditions and Trends, News, Sustainability, Tool

In The Plain Dealer yesterday, Hunter Morrison, NEOSCC Executive Director and Jason Segedy, NEOSCC Board Chair contributed a guest column, “Finding the tools to keep Northeast Ohio’s future bright”,  to the Forum section discussing NEOSCC, the Conditions and Trends Platform and Vibrant NEO 2040.  Here is an excerpt from the piece:

Admit it: You love Northeast Ohio. You love the people, or the history, the museums, the food, or the parks and the sports. For all of us, there are aspects of our region about which we are proud, unique qualities that make it a great place to live. We all want to see the things that we love about Northeast Ohio thrive and grow, just as we would like to see the challenges facing our region addressed and put behind us.

The Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium works to help residents preserve and build upon what we value, and to fix those things that are challenging — on a regional scale. NEOSCC is a growing member-led collaboration of public agencies, elected officials, philanthropic and nonprofit organizations, colleges and universities and community members. Our collective work will serve as the foundation for the development of Vibrant NEO 2040, a regionwide planning and engagement effort convened by the consortium to spur the development of the vision and tools that will help Northeast Ohio become a more sustainable, resilient and vibrant place to live and work.

To continue reading visit cleveland.com.

What Can I Do Today?