Sunday, January 31, 2010

GREEN - Federal Tax Incentives

As many of us begin to fill out our 2009 tax returns, we may already be looking ahead for ways to reduce 2010’s tax liabilities. Why not take advantage of the federal tax incentives for greening up your home at:

These federal tax incentives include tax credits for the installation of new qualifying energy efficient heating systems, ventilation systems, air conditioning systems, insulation, roofs, water heaters, windows, and doors. The products must be installed in an existing house and they must be installed at your principal residence. For qualifying products within the above categories, there is a tax credit for 30% of cost (up to $1,500).

For installation of geothermal pumps, residential wind systems, and residential solar, you can get 30% of the system cost back in a federal tax credit. There is no upper limit on the amount of this tax credit.

Slated to begin in March of 2010, a mail-in rebate program will be offered by the State of Ohio for upgrades of qualifying energy star appliances. Check out for more information on this program.

If you are considering a loan to implement these upgrades, then you may qualify for a low interest loan through the state of Ohio ECO-Link program. Find out more about this program here:

Low income homeowners and renters may be automatically eligible for the no cost Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP) through the Ohio Department of Development. More information on this program is available here

Together we can make Bay Village a more sustainable community. With the above incentives and programs, it is easier than ever to take part while lowering your long term energy costs! Just make sure to read the specific details of each program within the given links before purchasing the products.

-Pat McGannon

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

January Meeting Notes

The Bay Village Green Team's first meeting of the year was held on January 12th and attended by 16 members. Beginning with updates on current initiatives, a brief summary was given on each activity which included: BAYarts - Shades of Green Festival happening this August, rain barrels for residents, recycling bins in public places, BV Middle School LEED EB update and the community garden. The remainder of the meeting was dedicated to 2010 goals and how to maximize the BVGT's impact within the community. The team reviewed its mission statement and original high level goals from Oct. 2008 noting a number of accomplishments over the past 2 years. The group discussed ways to maximize its impact in 2010. Some of those suggestions were:
  • focus on the few initiatives that have the biggest impact
  • super charge the efforts to reduce waste while looking for ways to increase recycling in the community
  • look at "Safe Routes to School" programs
  • incorporate sustainability objectives in city policies and practices
One additional note... Don Landers, the Operations Manager of the Service Department, reported that a record amount of leaves were picked up this past Fall. Which in case you didn't know, gets composted and is diverted from the landfill - a BIG win for all of us.

The next Green Team meeting
will be on February 9th at city hall with Dan Norris as our guest speaker. Dan is a member of the Westlake watershed group and will be speaking on organic gardening (a timely topic). All are welcome.

Make a difference, get involved!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Paint a Rain Barrel

Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is hosting a rain barrel art program. Rain barrels are a great way to conserve water and save it for a sunny day!! Decorated barrels make rain water harvesting a work of art! Cuyahoga SWCD is looking for local artists to paint rain barrels to be displayed around the county.

Artists will have two months to paint a rain barrel in any way they choose. Barrels will be displayed across Cuyahoga County in various locations and sold to the public in October. Proceeds will go to benefit the Cuyahoga SWCD conservation education programs.

Important dates for program:
Feb. 15th Deadline to sign up to paint a barrel
March 1
st Artists to pick up barrels (anytime after March 1st)
May 15
th Decorated barrels to be returned to Cuyahoga
SWCD office
June – Oct. Decorated barrels will be displayed around Cuyahoga County (locations TBD)
October Decorated barrels will be for sale to the public

Interested artists should contact Amy Roskilly, Conservation Education Coordinator at 216/524-6580, ext 22 or by February 15th.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Green Rebates

As winter heating bills peak, you may be looking for ways to lower your home’s energy costs. Here are three inexpensive ways to do just that!

  1. Take advantage of the Columbia Gas rebates. Columbia Gas offers low flow shower heads and programmable thermostats at reduced costs. They also offer rebates if you purchase qualified models on your own. Both upgrades help you use energy more efficiently. This translates directly into dollars saved. Check out your Columbia Gas rebate options and subsidized purchase options here:
  2. If you don’t want a low flow shower head, you may like this simple and green alternative. Instead, add a flow control valve to your existing shower head for under $15. This will allow you to vary the amount of water flow while showering. Dial the valve to save water when appropriate. Check your local hardware store for this flow control valve or buy it here:
  3. Lower the temperature on your hot water heater. Overheating water wastes energy. Set your cylinder thermostat to 60°C or 140°F. It can always be raised back up if your hot water runs out too quickly. Experiment to find the most energy efficient setting for your household.
Pat McGannon

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sustainability Symposium

Cleveland Botanical Garden will be hosting Sustainability Symposium 2010 on Saturday, February 6th. This is the fifth annual symposium they have offered on sustainability in collaboration with GreenCityBlueLake Institute and Nature Center at Shaker Lakes. The attendees range across a broad interest span: home gardeners, landscape architects and designers, horticulturists, environmental professionals, educators and students, community gardeners and planners, and just anyone interested in sustainable landscaping. This year's program will feature Joe Lamp'l, author of The Green Gardener's guide: Simple Significant Actions to Protect and Preserve Our Planet. Other presenters completing the program include: David Beach, Victoria Mills, Brad Masi, Charles Benke, Shawn Belt, and Geri Unger. For further details, consult Cleveland Botanical Garden's website, The fee is $90 for CBG members and $99 for non-members.

I have attended at least three of these symposiums and have been excited about all the I learned each time. I am not a landscape professional, but rather a gardener (with several decades of experience) and have been increasingly interested in native plants, sustainable gardening practices, and spreading the word about how we can all make a difference. This, in turn, had led me to become a member of the Bay Village Green Team. Green Team Environmental Committee promotes sustainable landscaping and property maintenance among other activities within our community. Consider whether you, too, are called to attend Sustainability Symposium 2010!

By: Cornelia Ryan

Monday, January 4, 2010

Batteries for the Home

After Panasonic bought a 50 percent stake in Sanyo, the electronics company announced plans to release lithium-ion storage cells for home use. Panasonic’s President Fumio Otsubo stated 'we'll be the first to bring to the market a storage battery for home use, which can store sufficient electricity for about one week of use'. While most recent discussion of battery technology has revolved around cars, this news is no doubt welcome. the companies have already developed test devices that would allow users to run their home with no carbon emissions. along with the storage cell, panasonic is also developing an electric energy tracking system. These new products open up a whole new sector of sustainable electric devices that could shape the industry for years to come.

Source: designboom

Friday, January 1, 2010

Stream-Friendly Snow Removal

We are often aware of rainwater and runoff in the summer months. The puddles and mud make it hard to overlook. But storm water pollution carries on into the winter months as well. In northeast Ohio, snow and ice removal is a fact of life, but the methods we use can have an effect on the health of our streams. Remember, when the ground is frozen, it acts as an impervious surface, and pollution is more likely to run into a nearby stream or storm drain. Below are some simple ideas for keeping your sidewalk and driveway save and keeping storm water runoff cleaner.Manual snow removal - Even if you are going to salt, remove as much snow as possible first. Break out the shovel, snow blower, and garden hoe. Chemical deicers work best on a thin layer of snow or ice. If you are using a snow blower, be careful with the gas as you fill up the tank. The garden hoe can be used to scrape ice, but shouldn’t be used to chip at the surface - it can chip the concrete.Try adding traction - Instead of getting down to bare surface, consider if there is enough traction in the snow. Small amounts of sand can be used to increase traction, but too much sand will cause problems in the storm water system. Sand should not be used in areas that drain directly into the storm water system.More isn’t better - Do you need access to every door of your house, or can you just de-ice the one you use every day? Does the entire patio need to be bare, or do you just need a path across it to the driveway? The recommended application rate for rock salt is about a cup per square yard. Adding more won’t speed up the melting. Calcium chloride works at one cup per three square yards. Combine deicers with scraping, especially in the late afternoon when things are at their warmest.
Skip the fertilizer treatment - In the past, people have been advised to use fertilizers or other urea-containing products to de-ice with the theory that it would end up fertilizing the lawn as well. Unfortunately the ground is frozen and the grass is not taking up nutrients, so most of that fertilizer runs off in the melt water. Overuse of fertilizer can also burn vegetation, especially conifers and evergreen broadleaf plants such as azalea and rhododendron the next time you remove snow.
Be wary of glycol - Many ‘pet-safe’ products contain ethylene glycol or propylene glycol. Both are toxic to aquatic organisms, and ethylene glycol is also toxic to mammals. They both decrease the amount of oxygen in streams, and break down into other potentially unsafe chemicals.

Source: Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District