news

  • 02.28.14

    Wednesday, March 14 - Ann Arbor Forum on Climate & Adaptation

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - The third Sustainable Ann Arbor Forum for 2014 is on Climate and Adaptation, including a discussion of current adaptation and resiliency strategies within the community, an introduction of the newly launched Community Climate Partnership, a coalition of community stakeholders working to further support the City's Climate Action Plan, and how to take steps to both mitigate and adapt to climate change.

    Event Details:  7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Ann Arbor District Main Library at 343 South Fifth Ave

    Speakers will include: 

    - Mike Shriberg, Education Director, Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute; Lecturer, Program in the Environment (PitE) & Michigan Community Scholars Program (MCSP)

    - Melissa Stults, Science Research Fellow, University of Michigan; Commissioner, City of Ann Arbor Park Advisory Commission and Environmental Commission

    - Rebecca Esselman, Watershed Planner, Huron River Watershed Council

    - Susan Hutton, Vice Chair, City of Ann Arbor Environmental Commission

    - Monica Patel, Policy Specialist, Ecology Center

    - Mike Garfield, Director, Ecology Center

  • 09.18.13

    XSeed Energy puts solar on the Michigan Theater

    A spin-off effort of the Ann Arbor Solar America Cities partnership, XSeed Energy, has installed a 3 kilowatt (kW) photovoltaic system on the landmark Michigan Theater in downtown Ann Arbor. This is the first project for Xseed Energy, which uses a community donation model whereby local residents and businesses contribute to prominant solar demonstrations on local non-profit buildings in Ann Arbor, once enough contributions have been collected. With the cost of solar dropping rapidly, more solar installations are on the rise in Michigan, yet there are many who still cannot afford an entire solar array at their home or business, or who do not have adequate exposure or orientation. Contributing to XSeed helps Ann Arbor move away from fossil fuels as the primary source of building electricity and helps local non-profits lower their energy costs so they can devote more resources to the primary services they provide. Learn more about the project.

  • 08.21.13

    MI Solar Works Offering Zero Down for Solar Limited Time Only

    MI Solar Works is an innovative partnership to spread low cost, rooftop, solar PV systems throughout Michigan. Their Ann Arbor pilot will be closing on August 31st, so sign up today to take advantage of this opportunity. The installed cost of these systems is an unprecedented $3.00/ watt. The program is partnering with Michigan Saves to offer 0% down financing. Part of the US Department of Energy's "Race to the Rooftops" initiative, this partnership is racing to get 6,000 residential and small business Solar PV systems installed in the state by the end of 2014. You can be a part of SOLARizing MIchigan! 

  • 03.13.13

    Ann Arbor's PACE program helps finance first energy projects!

    PACE financing, which is made available through the sale of a bond and repaid by property owners through annual special assessments, features long-term, low, fixed interest rates.The Ann Arbor City Council authorized the sale of PACE bonds during its February 19 meeting. The first bond sale was completed with Ann Arbor State Bank. With this successful sale, the City of Ann Arbor is the first Michigan municipality to sell PACE bonds, joining dozens of municipal governments across the country in taking advantage of this financial tool to improve energy efficiency.
     
    Proceeds from the sale of the PACE bond, estimated to be approximately $560,000, will be assigned to owners of five commercial properties within the City of Ann Arbor that have completed a thorough eligibility and application process in order to participate in the program.

    Energy-efficient lighting, high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, upgraded cooking equipment, roof and wall insulation, and solar shingles are just some of the projects that will receive financing through the first PACE program to launch in Michigan. Download the full press release

  • 03.06.13

    March 11th: UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner @ Rackham

    The Center for Sustainable Systems at the UM School of Natural Resources and Environment annually invites an internationally recognized leader to deliver the Peter M. Wege Lecture on Sustainability. Achim Steiner, the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, will deliver this year's lecture titled "The Imperative of Change: Environmentalism in the 21st Century." The lecture begins at 5pm at Rackham Auditorium.

  • 03.01.13

    Help "Green" Ann Arbor Rental Housing

    The City of Ann Arbor received a grant to increase energy efficiency in rental housing units within Washtenaw County as part of the HUD Sustainable Communities Challenge Grant. A series of focus groups are being held as part of this project. The purpose of the focus groups is to learn more about the barriers, experiences, and expectations of energy efficiency in rental properties from the perspective of different stakeholders (renters, student renters, landlords, contractors, property owners). Upcoming focus groups are listed below:

    Focus Group for Renters
    Thursday, March 7, 2013: 4:30pm to 6pm, Ann Arbor City Hall, 301 E. Huron St, Basement Conference Room

    If you are interested in participating, please email greenrental@a2gov.org.

  • 02.22.13

    DTE Energy’s SolarCurrents Expansion

    DTE Energy’s SolarCurrents customer-owned incentive program is now in its second phase. Joining DTE Energy’s SolarCurrents program is a great way to reduce the costs of installing a solar photovoltaic system, lower your monthly electricity bills, and do your part to safeguard the Earth’s future. Visit the SolarCurrents website to learn more or apply. 

  • 02.14.13

    Measure Your Energy Use: It’s As Easy As Checking Out A Book!

    Wonder what appliances consume the most electricity in your home? Now you can find out – for free! Ann Arbor District Library (AADL) cardholders can check out energy monitors that attach to your electric outlets and measure electricity usage. These monitors are a great way to pinpoint “vampire electronics,” those devices that use electricity even when they are turned off. Visit your local AADL branch to find out more, or visit the online catalog to check out an energy monitor kit.

  • 02.11.13

    Sustainable Ann Arbor: Economic Vitality, Wed Feb 13th

    The second event in the 2013 Sustainable Ann Arbor Forum series will take place on Wednesday, February 13th, 7:00pm-8:30pm, at the Downtown branch of the Ann Arbor District Library. This forum, with the theme of Economic Vitality, will feature speakers including Mary Jo Callan, Director, Washtenaw County Community and Economic Development; Dan Gilmartin, Executive Director and CEO, Michigan Municipal League; Paul Krutko, President and CEO, Ann Arbor SPARK; Ingrid Ault, Executive Director, Think Local First; and Paul Saginaw, Founding Partner, Zingerman's Deli. 

    The program will include a series of short presentations, followed by a question and answer session. Learn more about the event here, or join in a follow-up, conversation-based discussion at the AADL Pittsfield Branch on Wednesday February 20th.

  • 02.04.13

    February 7th: Michigan Energy Forum: Solar, Not Just a Passing Fad

    The solar energy industry is alive and well! New projects, technologies and opportunities are driving the industry to new directions and achievements, ranging from the very successful Solar City IPO to the expansion of DTE’s Solar Currents Program. Join the discussion led by an expert panel including Rachel Tronstein, Former Deputy Director, Sun Shot Initiative, U.S. Department of Energy; Skip Pruss, Former Director of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth; and Dave Strand, COO Ovshinsky Solar LLC. Register here to attend the event at Ann Arbor SPARK's offices at 330 East Liberty Street, Lower Level. Or if you can't attend in person, participate via the live stream of the event, which even gives you the ability to submit questions for the panel.

     

  • 01.23.13

    January 30th: Reception and Screening of "Green Fire"

    The Detroit Regional Chapter of the US Green Building Council and the Six Rivers Regional Land Conservancy have joined forces with Emagine Theatre in Royal Oak to raise awareness and participation in conserving the region’s natural resources. Paul Gantz, the theater owner, is providing a pre-screening reception and facility tours prior to screening “Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic For Our Time” -- a documentary showcasing the life Aldo Leopold, of one of America’s great visionaries and conservationists. Learn more and register to attend.

  • 01.16.13

    "Chasing Ice" at Michigan Theater, January 16th-24th

    While local conversations about climate change often get tied up with observed changes to local weather, the global impacts of the global phenomenon are ongoing and undeniable. Acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog set out to document changing glaciers to help tell the story for those who aren't able to travel to the Arctic themselves. This Oscar-nominated documentary of rapidly disappearing Arctic ice will be at the Michigan Theater at select times from January 16th through January 24th. Visit the Michigan Theater website for more information, including the film's trailer, showtimes, and ticket information. 

  • 01.10.13

    "Climate Science as Culture Change" lecture on January 15th

    Andrew J. Hoffman, Director, UM Erb Institute, will provide a free lecture open to the public on the social side of the climate change discussion – moving beyond carbon dioxide and climate models to focus on values, culture, worldviews, and ideology. Hoffman’s talk will address the problems of using increasing amounts of data without attending to social values of the people or groups being addressed. The lecture will take place at Matthaei Botanical Gardens on Jan. 15, 2013, beginning at 7:30pm, and is presented by the Sierra Club Huron Valley Group.

  • 01.07.13

    Wed. Jan 9th, 7pm - "Sustainable Systems" Forum

    Building on the success of the 2012 Sustainable Ann Arbor forum series, the first of the 2013 forums will focus on the impacts of current and predicted weather changes in the community and on the City’s constructed and natural infrastructure. Speakers will include members of City staff, a representative from Huron River Watershed Council, and a researcher from the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences + Assessment Center (GLISA). The program will include a series of short presentations that will discuss conditions that are changing in the community and past and potential actions to adapt to change, followed by a question and answer session.

    The forum runs from 7pm to 8:30pm in the Downtown Branch of the Ann Arbor District Library. 

    Learn more about the forum series, including topics for future programs, which will run monthly through April.

  • 01.02.13

    Share Your Thoughts on Energy Efficiency

    In spring 2012, the City of Ann Arbor received a grant to increase energy efficiency in rental housing units within Washtenaw County as part of the HUD Sustainable Communities Challenge Grant.

    To start this project, the City of Ann Arbor will be holding a series of focus groups to learn more about energy efficiency in rental units. The focus groups will be held in January and February, and each focus group will last one hour. If you are a renter, landlord, or contractor and would like to participate in a focus group, contact the City by email or call (734) 794-6430 ext. 43720 for more information.

  • 12.27.12

    Climate Action Plan Adopted by City Council

    The City of Ann Arbor Climate Action Plan, which outlines 88 actions needed to meet community-wide short-term, medium-term, and long-term greenhouse gas emission reduction goals, was recently adopted by Ann Arbor's City Council. This Plan is the result of the work of a year-long Task Force made up of City and Clean Energy Coalition staff as well as numerous experts from across the community. Read more. 

  • 12.10.12

    LEED Gold Designation for Ann Arbor Municipal Center

    The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently awarded LEED Gold status to the City of Ann Arbor’s Municipal Center. The internationally recognized Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold designation from the USGBC requires a construction project to achieve certain standards in site design, construction, and operations. In pursuit of the LEED standard, the Municipal Center’s building materials were regionally sourced and made from recycled contents where possible. Construction debris was recycled onsite and certified sustainably harvested wood was used throughout. More than 40 percent of the Municipal Center site’s surface is covered with rain gardens or porous pavement. An open-grid pedestrian bridge allows rainwater to enter directly into the largest rain garden. Read more about how the Municipal Center’s design and construction achieved LEED Gold.

  • 12.03.12

    DTE Energy Expanding its SolarCurrents Incentive Program

    The Michigan Public Service Commission has approved DTE's relaunch of its SolarCurrents™ incentive program for solar PV systems 20 kW and smaller. This second phase of the program will offer 2 MW of capacity (1.5 MW residential, 0.5 MW commercial) in four random selections during 2013 and 2014. Through the program, participating residential customers installing solar panels will receive an upfront payment of $0.20/W installed and an ongoing payment of $0.03/kWh and non-residential customers would receive an upfront payment of $0.13/W installed and an ongoing payment of $0.02/kWh. For more information visit the DTE Solar Currents website.

  • 11.08.12

    "Greening" Area Rental Housing

    This spring, the City of Ann Arbor received a grant to increase energy efficiency in rental housing units within Washtenaw County as part of a HUD Sustainable Communities Challenge Grant. The three-year project aims to increase energy efficiency in the community by targeting renters and landlords in an attempt to help get past the “split incentive” barrier, most commonly when landlords pass utility costs to tenants and so have less incentive to make improvements. This project will bring together several partners, including University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, Washtenaw County, and the City of Ypsilanti. Since rental properties make up approximately 50 percent of the housing stock in Ann Arbor, targeting energy efficiency has the potential to greatly reduce community-wide energy consumption and help the City strive for the Energy Challenge goal of reducing community-wide greenhouse gas emissions 8 percent by 2015.

    A program website is coming soon; in the meantime, contact Jamie Kidwell for more information.

  • 10.25.12

    Washtenaw Residents Eligible for Energy Efficiency $$

    From now through the end of year, Washtenaw County residents can take advantage of extra rebates for energy efficiency upgrades or equipment. The BetterBuildings for Michigan program in Washtenaw County has doubled DTE Energy’s incentive package for key home projects. Eligible activities include home air sealing, attic or ceiling insulation, basement wall insulation, and upgrading to a high efficiency water heater or furnace. Visit the program website for more information on incentives and general program requirements.

  • 02.07.12

    Ann Arbor Launches Energy Resource for City Residents

    The City of Ann Arbor recently launched a comprehensive online information hub to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy to city residents and businesses. Developed jointly by the City’s Energy Office and local nonprofit Clean Energy Coalition, www.a2energy.org will serve as the primary source of energy-related information for local homeowners, landlords and renters, as well as commercial property owners.
    Download details.

  • 01.10.12

    PACE Program is Open and Ready for Business

    Ann Arbor City Council approved a resolution to set the fees for the PACE application process, which cover the title search, application review and annual administration costs.
    Download details.

  • 10.04.11

    Ann Arbor Promotes Energy Efficiency in Commercial Properties

    Ann Arbor City Council unanimously supported the establishment of a Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (PACE) at last night’s session.
    Download full details.

  • 09.20.11

    City Council Passes Resolution of Intent for PACE Program

    Ann Arbor City Council unanimously supported the intent to establish a Property Assessed Clean Energy Program.
    Download details.

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