Recently we heard about a new way to engage people in the Hudson Valley on issues regarding sustainability; everything from agriculture, economic development and transportation to waste-stream issues and renewable energy:
“Engage MidHudson is an online platform where citizens and government of the Mid-Hudson Region share knowledge and brainstorm project ideas and initiatives that will help build a more sustainable region” and “is being developed in support of the Mid-Hudson Regional Sustainability Planning Project, led by the Mid-Hudson Sustainability Planning Consortium. The Consortium is steering the development of the Mid-Hudson Regional Sustainability Plan as part of the Cleaner, Greener Communities Program announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in his 2011 State of the State address.”
The forum is designed to help the best ideas rise and be cultivated through constant engagement with its users. For instance, if you post an idea you are awarded a certain amount of points. Commenting and adding to existing ideas also gains you points. Eventually, the more points you get the more chances to win prizes donated by area businesses.
We are happy to see that there is a section on Energy, encouraging people to think strategically on how to be more energy efficient and how to encourage the idea as a model for economic development. For instance, the forum asks, What do you view as the key sustainability issues related to energy in the Mid-Hudson Region? And then gives you the choice of answers: Efficiency, Clean Generation, Reliability and the infinitely fertile, Other. It will be interesting to see what answers people in the region gave.
In other news, recent site assessments have uncovered for us the issue of solar panels on historic buildings and in historic districts. There are two sub-issues often addressed: aesthetics and the structural soundness of older structures.
One of the ways that it has been suggested to combat the problem of aesthetics is to either place panels away from street view or to use the pure black panel type that has no metal frame or rims. Other options include using panels that extend only a shorter distance from the roof’s surface and the replacement of light-colored asphalt shingles with a darker variety that would better blend with the solar array.
Most of the above information came straight from the Sustainable Cities Collective piece entitled, When Values Collide: balancing green technology and historic buildings. The article includes lots of interesting photos, including this one of a historic home with solar panels:
Now, the problem with stability of the roof on an old and/or historic home is a little more tricky because it often will mean replacing the roof and more money spent. That is why Vanguard has been working to find a good local roofer with a solid reputation, someone to whom we can refer people who have older structures but still want to reap the benefits of solar power. We are still on the lookout!
Finally, stay tuned for a great project we hope to start this week, down in southern Westchester County! We are doubly excited to see how this one will looks once it is complete.