News for September, 2009
Tuesday, September 29th, 2009
Students from around Illinois helped decorate CNT’s latest contribution to sustainable water practices: painting, stamping and stomping a 330-gallon ‘Super Barrel’ rainwater harvesting cube into a collaborative work of art.
The students, teachers and their families gathered on a recent sunny Saturday at Navy Pier’s Union Park as part of Gov. Pat Quinn’s “Art on a Rain Barrel” contest to commemorate the 5th annual “It’s Our River Day.” Fifty schools were selected in a design competition to paint their rain barrels for judging the day of the contest. CNT and organizers invited all of the schools, as well as guests at the event, to paint on the Super Barrel, which will reside at CNT’s LEED Platinum headquarters on North Avenue.
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Thursday, September 24th, 2009
“Cities can really benefit from each other’s experience taking action on climate change,” states Julia Parzen, author of a new publication, “Lessons Learned: Creating the Chicago Climate Action Plan.”
This report, which documents the Plan’s process up until its public release on September 19, 2008, summarizes key lessons learned and provides a timeline and observations about each step. The City of Chicago benefited from the work of other cities as it created the Chicago Climate Action Plan. Because of funding from the Clinton Climate Initiative, Chicago was able to document the three phases—research, planning, and implementation—of the Chicago Climate Action Plan process. The report is being co-released by the Global Philanthropy Partnership, the City of Chicago, and ICLEI.
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Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009
A renewed consideration of the potentials of rail in the U.S., coupled with the Chicago metropolitan region’s position as an area of the nation most affected by rail emissions make an Illinois company poised to help the region once again become a center of rail manufacturing and innovation. The National Railway Equipment Company (NREC) is a 25-year old company with five locations in Illinois that manufactures the world’s leading low emissions/high fuel efficiency locomotive.
On August 5th, CNT, along with Respiratory Health Agency, Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation, and National Railway Equipment Company (NREC) co-sponsored The “Future of Rail” tour which illustrated Illinois’ capacity to meet our nation’s rail, environmental and manufacturing needs. The tour spotlighted NREC’s exciting N-ViroMotive Genset Locomotive, an Ultra Low Emitting Locomotive, whose state-of-the-art technology allows for massive reductions in particulate emissions and noise, fuel consumption, and carbon dioxide emissions compared to conventional locomotives.
Look at photos from the “Future of Rail” tour on CNT’s Flickr page. Read about sites visited and learn more about the N-ViroMotive under each photo. (Photos are courtesy of James Street Associates).
Tuesday, September 15th, 2009
Congressman Danny Davis kicked off a roundtable in Chicago’s Downtown Omni Hotel on Monday by providing a legislative context for the newly reinvigorated, federal commuter benefit program designed to save taxpayers millions of dollars, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The program is called “Commuter Tax Benefits”, and on Monday morning CNT and its partners hosted more than 100 business leaders and a panel of experts to discuss the “win-win-win” possibilities for employees, employers, and the environment.
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Monday, September 14th, 2009
Last Thursday, CNT hosted a press conference highlighting the benefits of energy efficiency provisions in the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES), also referred to as the Waxman-Markey Bill H.R. 2454, which passed the House of Representatives in June.
Discussions of ACES often focus on the proposed cap and trade program outlined in the bill, but the report released last week by Environment Illinois and the American Council for an Energy- Efficient Economy (ACEEE) makes clear that the benefits of the energy efficiency provisions are sizable and should not be overlooked.
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Wednesday, September 9th, 2009
WHAT: The Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) and students from the Mercy Home After School Center will install a native plant garden in the courtyard of an affordable multi-family apartment building in Austin, to utilize rainwater and bring green infrastructure to a space where concrete used to dominate and contribute to pollution and flooding problems.
WHEN: Wednesday, September 9, 2009 @ 3:00 – 6:00
WHERE: Mercy Housing Lakefront
4943 Quincy Street (Please use the courtyard entrance)
Chicago, IL 60644
WHY: The garden will serve as an important green infrastructure installation which will cool the otherwise paved over courtyard, replenish the groundwater supply and help keep stormwater from overloading the local sewer system and causing basement backup flooding. Native prairie plants help absorb and conserve water because their deep roots are adapted to our climate and rainfall, so can survive cycles of wet and dry weather more effectively than non-native plants. The rain garden will also be a valuable learning tool for the students.
The Mercy Home After School Center garden joins several other green infrastructure improvements completed in this project. Recently, CNT installed a super barrel at a Mercy Housing youth garden across the street. A super barrel is a 330-gallon repurposed industrial container that attaches to a building’s downspout, collecting and storing rain water from the roof for future use, holding six times the volume of a typical home rain barrel in 4 times the space.
Green infrastructure manages stormwater by capturing raindrops where they fall. It also supports urban sustainability and uses limited financial resources more efficiently by harnessing the natural filtering abilities of plants, trees and soil to protect water quality, reduce runoff volumes, and recharge groundwater supplies.
This project is made possible by the Cook County Green Affordable Housing project, funded by the Home Depot Foundation.
WHO: The Center for Neighborhood Technology, a Chicago-based nonprofit focused on urban sustainability, and Mercy Housing Lakefront, which acquires and develops program-enriched housing for low-income populations.
CONTACT: Steve Wise, Natural Resources Program Director, CNT, 773-269-4042, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009
CNT recently added another tool to our stock of stormwater management solutions. The National Green Values™ Calculator (GVC) is a tool for quickly comparing the performance, costs, and benefits of Green Infrastructure (GI) to conventional stormwater practices. The GVC is designed to take you step-by-step through a process of determining the average precipitation at your site, choosing a stormwater runoff volume reduction goal, defining the impervious areas of your site under a conventional development scheme, and then choosing from a range of Green Infrastructure Best Management Practices (BMPs) to find the combination that meets the necessary runoff volume reduction goal in a cost-effective way.
The Calculator also estimates annual and life cycle benefits of reduced air pollutants, carbon dioxide sequestration, compensatory value of trees, groundwater replenishment, reduced energy use, and reduced water treatment benefits.
To get started, select a tab at the top to enter site information. Default values (that you can always change as the user) are provided throughout the calculator, so you can begin on any step. The Calculator provides output in a printable format, you can save the data output and share by creating a permanent link.
Try out the new National Green Values Calculator