Mid-May update

t’s time for an update. I have to apologize for the lack of posts — I was knocked down for a few weeks with a persistent virus that prevented me from getting out and doing some reporting. But my immune system has kicked back in, and I do have some information I can share.

In a sense, it’s been a good time to be gone, because we have continued to deliberately slow the pace of work at the GG until we receive Brownfield accreditation. Once we receive accreditation, and are declared obsolete, we will move quickly to finish the building by early fall. The good news is that we have 2 Brownfield meetings scheduled in the next couple of weeks, one with a sub-committee of the City Council (on May 20th), and one with the entire City Council (May 25th), which should be the end of the process.

Just because the Brownfield has kept us from full-tilt construction doesn’t mean that we haven’t been busy. We have completed all of our detail design work except for the PV panels (that will help provide electricity), and that work will be done next Friday.

We are also big into materials sourcing right now. Kirsten Lyons is working with Joe Gallagher to find what we need. Our goal is for 50% of the new materials we need to bring into the building to come from the U S waste stream. Kirsten was over at Architectural Salvage Warehouse this week with Tom, looking for internal doors. One thing we can tell you right now — even though there is quite a bit of deconstruction happening in the city, accessing materials for reuse is still pretty hard. Not much is on Craigslist coming from the City of Detroit as far as materials are concerned. However, we have become friends with some people working in the construction industry who call us periodically when materials become available.

Another thing we are doing to reduce the number of materials we bring in is to look at what materials we have, then make a design, rather than vice-versa. For example, we’re having Dormouse, a metal fabricating company, make our stairway out of our old steam pipes.

The Green Alley is moving full steam ahead. Water main leaks have been repaired, the sewer leaks have been repaired, and a new liner is almost completely in the sewer (will be completed Monday). Redford Cement, our excavation company, will start removing cement early this coming week. The sewer work took one week longer than expected, so we have adjusted the planting from Memorial Day weekend to the second week of June.

One last thing. Laurie Catey and Kirsten Lyons have been working for some weeks now on our application for rebates in the DTE Energy Savings (YES) program. This program offers rebates in 3 tiers, based on a 10%, 20% or 30% efficiency you will have when you add energy saving features to your home. We used their modeling tool and found that we were 80% more efficient. In other words, we are off the charts, or way too efficient. So the initial estimates found that we didn’t qualify for a rebate because we’re too efficient. Somehow Laurie and Kirsten figured out a way for us to participate, and I’ll interview them this coming Friday and post their explanation for you to see.

I always like to post a picture, so here is one from the Art Center Community Garden Build on Saturday, which we participated in. 90-plus raised bed gardens!


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