Here is a summary of potential projects as brainstormed by the Green Council at our recent meeting.
Developing a Community Solar Program
Ashley Craig, Sarah Wochos, Mike Piskur, Chuck VonDrehle
Objectives: Hold a series of informational meetings where interested homeowners and renters attend and learn what is involved in installing solar on their roof. Coordinate with the city to simplify the permitting process. Set up a lower price bulk plan with a solar company when a larger number of home/building owners are interested in participating. Work with city to get an expedited mass application for permits. Work with local banks to get a micro-financing deal. Secure funds from the Illinois Power Authority to make the project plan economics work better.
The main appeal of the project would be the reduced price, the help with research, and the hand-holding through the permitting process. These are the main current barriers to solar at this time.
Biodiversity/Prairie Ward Project
Eli Suzukovich, Kevin Anderson, Sarah Abu-Absi, Dara Salk, Steve Christy, Julie Peterson, maybe Julie Hochstadter
The prairie ward concept was born in the Education Department of the American Indian Center in 2010. The idea was to combine forest preserves and residential areas to create an urban space where native habitat restoration and homes could co-exist. This would also help restore native prairie and savanna ecosystems that would support native and migratory birds, insects, and mammals, control excessive rain runoff and flooding, and help clean and cool the air.
In terms of residents, this concept would surround home and apartment dwellers in a park-like atmosphere. The goal would be to raise environmental and ecological awareness among local residents, engage home owners in habitat restoration and monitoring, and to provide safe havens for pollinating insects, especially bees and butterflies (along with beetles, flies, wasps, humming birds, and moths). Neighborhood green spaces such as parkways, parking lots, parks, right-of-ways, and recreation areas would be planted with native flora that would meet the harsh demands of urban life and provide food and shelter to various birds, mammals, reptiles, and insects.
The Tree Inventory
Members yet to be identified
A database will be created for tree location, species, approximate size and age, etc. This will provide a beautiful way to help people show each other the special trees that we need to protect from careless damage. We hope that the project will lead to increased communication on our appreciation of trees, the value they have to the people who know them best and help us to have a healthy tree population in our neighborhoods. This project could be done by the block clubs, volunteers, and students and anyone who cares about being good stewards of the trees around us.
The Nurturing Project
Sarah Abu-Absi, Tom Jacks, Julie Hochstadter, Julie Peterson
This includes various ways to feature the amazing work you are already doing, to gather new volunteers for all of our projects, to raise funds for all of our work, and to help the ward office and us all disseminate information. This could include a website, events, a fiscal agent for new small projects, etc.
The Cool Ward/Green Energy Project
Tom Jacks, Julie Peterson, Ernie Constantino
After the 100 degree heat wave, we’ve got so many people really worried about global warming and future heat waves. There are some things we can do to prevent the heat locally. Black hot asphalt and tar rooftops need to be reduced. Planting trees, transitioning to sustainable asphalt alternatives, and using either silver roof paint or installing green roofs can reduce the temperature of the immediate surroundings of your home. We also can work to increase the use of green energy in the ward through the Solar Panel project and encouraging people to sign up with wind energy providers.