Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hands On With Green City, Clean Waters

PWD staffer discusses stream restoration.
Water is energy, it is a source of life. In the past few weeks I've had the opportunity to examine that life source a bit more closely through an innovative outreach effort called the Green City, Clean Waters Ambassador Program from the Philadelphia Water Department and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council.

The program aims to create a new partnership to promote green infrastructure education and stewardship in Philadelphia neighborhoods. With a boost of hands-on training by specialists from the water department and various other related organizations, a group of community leaders from designated civic associations will emerge to become Green City, Clean Waters Ambassadors.

More specifically, the program focuses on storm-water management, including development, care and advocacy for sustainable landscape projects or green tools, such as tree trenches, bump-outs, bioswales, rain gardens, infiltration trenches, green roofs, and others, as part of the city's innovative initiative to reduce contamination from sewer runoff. It also integrates issues such as stream restoration, soil conservation, and other regenerative processes that are essential for maintaining healthy urban ecosystems.

A real bioswaleA real bioswale (Photo credit: Steven Vance)
Green infrastructure improvements.
Unlike many big ticket urban approaches to water reclamation that often involve major ovehalls of grey infrastructure, this program utilizes an interactive union of mother nature, the water department, and people power to make it all work. The end result is to give our local communities a sustainable development initiative that is light on the taxpayer's wallet, promotes community engagement and access, and creates a cleaner, more beautiful city. It's a very Philadelphia-like, neighborhood-minded solution to an issue that's troubling much of the nation these days.

An ambassador, huh? Perhaps. That certainly sounds prestigious. In any case, I think I'd fit the bill just fine sporting a white suite and fedora... More on this development in the coming weeks. --D.A. DeMers

For additional info on green infrastructure improvements and the Green City, Clean Waters Ambassador Program visit


20 Years of Energy Star Savings 


Hard to believes that it's been that long. Seriously, like 20 years long. But let's not dwell to much on that. Instead let's think of the many good ways the Energy Star program has helped people save on energy costs while in their homes and offices. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson had some special words commemorating the anniversary in a recent blog post in the Huffington Post. Happy anniversary, indeed.  Read More.

To see a great YouTube video on the history of the Energy Star program, click here.


Energy Efficiency Made Easy


Eric Barendsen, a communication specialist at the US Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Communications and Outreach Office, cuts to the chase with an Energy Saver's blog post on how he saved big with heating bills this winter. He also explains how that rolls into spring and summer. Best of all, he's got some quick and easy tips.  Read More. 


Putting solar to work for your home

Photovoltaic cells produce electricity directl... (Image: Wikipedia)
Photovoltaic cell.
Michigan home remodeler and instructor Steve Bredernitz sheds some light on the investment to saving ratio of his made in the USA home solar project, and how to get a solar system up and running quickly. This and more are reasons why he's gives thumbs up for solar. Post via Greenspiration Home:

"Just over a year ago, I was meeting with some fellow remodelers and we were talking about quirky clients, our teenage kids, and renewable energy. A few of these gentlemen had solar arrays and wind turbines at their homes and spoke highly of the benefits.  Others at the table were adamant that renewable energy was not cost effective. One remodeler in particular commented how solar was a horrible idea in the 1970s and is a horrible idea today. That was the moment I decided to act!Read More.


Up next week on Home Science, we'll check in with a few Philadelphia sustainable businesses that are making good for the community while making smart business sense. Plus, more on solar products for your home. Stay tuned.

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