Des Moines selected for Greening America’s Capitals project


Photo by jimmywayne, Flickr.
Photo by jimmywayne, Flickr.

Des Moines has been selected this year as one of five cities to take part in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Greening America’s Capitals project.

This project incorporates green building and green infrastructure strategies on parts of the cities, which can be used as a model for future construction projects.

In Des Moines, the project will focus on the 6th Avenue Corridor. The environmentally friendly plans include adding street trees, permeable pavement and rain gardens.

Read more from Iowa Public Radio here.

Chicago prepares for climate change


Photo by Gravitywave, Flickr

The New York Times is reporting that the Windy City is gearing up for a hotter, wetter climate.

Climate scientists found that current trends will eventually lead Chicago toward weather that is more commonly found down south.  The city is responding by repaving using pereable pavement, changing up the trees being planted and considering installing air conditions in all of its public schools.

Read part of the Times‘ coverage below:

The Windy City is preparing for a heat wave — a permanent one.

Climate scientists have told city planners that based on current trends, Chicago will feel more like Baton Rouge than a Northern metropolis before the end of this century.

So, Chicago is getting ready for a wetter, steamier future. Public alleyways are being repaved with materials that are permeable to water. The white oak, the state tree of Illinois, has been banned from city planting lists, and swamp oaks and sweet gum trees from the South have been given new priority. Thermal radar is being used to map the city’s hottest spots, which are then targets for pavement removal and the addition of vegetation to roofs. And air-conditioners are being considered for all 750 public schools, which until now have been heated but rarely cooled.

“Cities adapt or they go away,” said Aaron N. Durnbaugh, deputy commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Environment. “Climate change is happening in both real and dramatic ways, but also in slow, pervasive ways. We can handle it, but we do need to acknowledge it. We are on a 50-year cycle, but we need to get going.” Continue reading

On the Radio: Charles City – Paving a more sustainable Iowa


The arrows show how water moves through the porous pavement. Source: Charles City Green Streets Evaluation and Design Report

Listen to this week’s radio segment on the green efforts of Charles City, a Northeast Iowa town of about 8,000.

Read more about the project here, or check out the report below.  Continue reading

Water quality improvement, flood mitigation among perks of finished Charles City paving project


Charles City, the North Eastern Iowa town, is working to reduce flooding and improve water quality through permeable pavement and improve water quality.

Charles City is working to reduce future flooding in a big way.

The city just put the finishing touches on a $3.9 million permeable paving project that aims to reduce chances of flooding and improve water quality, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports.

Rainwater can now infiltrate the ground through gaps between pavers that are not grouted together, reducing the need for storm structures.

The project, which spans 16 blocks of the city, is the largest of its kind in the state and possibly the nation, according to the report.