Greening Minnesota - June / July

The regular Greening Minnesota feature was interrupted in June because we were moving over to the new website. But that doesn't mean that the collection of green stories stopped. This month's edition includes stories from and for June and July 2009. This is in some-what chronological order for when the stories were published.

Four creative containers for recycleables (and only recycleables) were unveiled in Mears Park. The Lowertown park is the third location to take part in an experiment by St. Paul and Eureka Recycling to see whether "public space recycling" can be cost effective and help the environment. People can recycle aluminum cans, glass and plastic bottles. If you see them, make sure you don't put garbage in them! That can take away from  some of the benefits. St. Paul has set a goal to be waste free by 2020.

Speaking of recycling, you probably know places where you can recycle electronics and cellphones in Minneapolis and St. Paul. But what about electronic chargers? A recent article by the Star Tribune answers that question for you.

Cub Foods and Supervalu have announced that a Cub store has become the first grocer in Minnesota to be awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold NC2.2 Certification. The Cub store, located in the Phalen neighborhood of St. Paul, is one of three grocery stores in the nation to successfully achieve LEED Gold Certification. Check out the link to read all about the store's green technology, including its 44 skylights that illuminate 75 percent of regularly occupied spaces using a solar powered GPS system that tracks and redirects sunlight as needed.

Workers have given the Target Center some of its first patches of green. Once completed, the $5.3 million, 2 1/2 acre project will be the fifth-largest green roof in the United States. It will prevent an estimated 3.68 million gallons of rainwater annually from draining into the Mississippi River. It is the the third green roof installed by Minneapolis city government. The City Hall and the downtown Central Library both have green roofs.

Next, I'd like to describe the incredible green renovation project undertaken on a 1955 Prairie School home inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright. I'd like to talk in-depthly about how additions to the Dellwood dwelling were made utilizing parts of the 1948 Allianz building demolished in the Minneapolis' Lowry Hill neighborhood to accomodate the Walker Art Center expansion. But I just don't think I could do it justice. Read all about it in this Star Tribune article.

Minneapolis has moved to sever ties with EyeOn Energy, a Colorado solar developer, in hopes of finding another partner better able to install solar electrical-generating equipment atop the city's Convention Center. After more than two years of delays and negotiations, the council voted 10-1 to break off with deal for the company to install photovoltaic equipment to power a small portion of the convention hall's electrical needs. It would represent the largest such project in the Upper Midwest. The city will ask state utility regulators and a board overseeing renewable energy grants to shift a $2 million shared grant for the project solely to the city. If the city succeeds, it then would seek proposals from other solar energy developers.

You're already growing fruit trees to help out the environment and provide your home with delicious fruit, right? If not, it's very rewarding and you should try it. If you are and you constantly end up with too much fruit, you can can share your harvest with people in need by registering your tree with the Minnesota Project's new Fruits of the City program. The program will match "donated" trees with groups of trained volunteers who will pick the fruit and deliver it to local food shelves. Fruits of the City is seeking apple, plum or pear trees, preferably in Minneapolis or St. Paul, and preferably pesticide-free. For more information, visit Sorry, berry bushes are not being registered in this program.

The use of LED lights is exploding in the Twin Cities. In fact, the reconstructed Interstate 35W bridge is now lit by ten pairs of LED street lights. It is the first interstate highway to be lit with LED lighting. LEDs are coming soon to the street lights of Eden Prairie. They already illuminate the parking lot of a Cub Foods store in St. Paul's Phalen neighborhood (which we read about earlier in this post!) For large projects, the long-run savings in energy and maintenance, as well as the environmental concerns, outweigh the short-run costs. Although LEDs cost more to manufacture than other lighting options, they consume a small fraction of the energy of even fluorescent bulbs and last 25 to 30 years.

There are some events happening soon at the local Farmer's Market, located on North Lyndale. The July 19 Locavore program will feature cucumbers. Your kids will learn about ways to enjoy them. There will also be a little song and puppet bit. Also, when you’re visiting the Minneapolis Farmers Market any Sunday this season, buy a little extra produce to donate to Second Harvest Heartland. A collection station will be set up at the Market each Sunday to make donations safe and easy. Join regional growers in helping provide fresh produce to those seniors, children and working families who are facing hunger.

Greening Minnesota - May

Greening Minnesota - April

Greening Minnesota - March


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