Graham Sustainability Institute

Carbon Neutrality

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Fact Sheet

With over 6,000 vacant land parcels, the City of Saginaw’s tax base is burdened by the cost of maintaining these lots over the four seasons. At the same time, many residents experience limited access to fresh produce. This Dow Fellows team, in partnership with the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy (SBLC), holistically evaluated the feasibility of urban agriculture as a solution for vacant land and food access in the city from a community, policy, and spatial analysis perspective. The results of their comprehensive work will be used by SBLC to plan alternative uses for vacant land, including urban agriculture. If implemented in Saginaw, an equitably managed urban agriculture program could provide a host of benefits to the community including fresh food access, neighborhood beautification, and relationship building.

March 2021
Fact Sheet

With a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 for the state of Michigan, the pressure is on for municipalities and local organizations to reduce their carbon emissions sustainably over the next 30 years. EcoWorks is leading the charge in Detroit with their Net Zero For All Starting Today initiative which places equity and social justice at the forefront of the climate movement. This Dow Fellows team worked with EcoWorks to provide a comprehensive white paper detailing actionable strategies and equitable practices for 5 policy areas in the energy and transportation sectors. Their integrated approach is modeled after the global Project Drawdown which identifies climate solutions based on currently available technology.

March 2021
Fact Sheet

Moving full speed ahead towards a goal of net-zero electricity emissions by 2035, the City of Chelsea is now evaluating a community solar model of municipal electricity generation for low income residents. This 2020 Dow Fellows team evaluated the feasibility of bringing community solar power to Chelsea from a true interdisciplinary perspective that included a financial, environmental, regulatory, and stakeholder analysis. Community distributed solar power could be a win-win for the state by providing affordable electricity to households in need and greening the city’s energy infrastructure. In addition, federal tax credits for clean energy development projects create opportunities for mutually beneficial public-private partnerships between the City of Chelsea and green developers.

March 2021
Dow Fellows Report 2020: Urban Agriculture in Saginaw
Paper/Project Report

With over 6,000 vacant land parcels, the City of Saginaw’s tax base is burdened by the cost of maintaining these lots over the four seasons. At the same time, many residents experience limited access to fresh produce. This Dow Fellows team, in partnership with the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy (SBLC), holistically evaluated the feasibility of urban agriculture as a solution for vacant land and food access in the city from a community, policy, and spatial analysis perspective. The results of their comprehensive work will be used by SBLC to plan alternative uses for vacant land, including urban agriculture. If implemented in Saginaw, an equitably managed urban agriculture program could provide a host of benefits to the community including fresh food access, neighborhood beautification, and relationship building.

March 2021
Dow Fellows Report 2020: Bailey Park, Detroit
Paper/Project Report

Leading the charge in innovation and sustainable architecture, urban planners are now looking to repurposed shipping containers to provide public services like WiFi and charging stations while producing clean energy and creating opportunities for environmental education. In 2020, this Dow Fellows team partnered with the Bailey Park Neighborhood Development Corporation (BPNDC) to evaluate a plan for installing a 3 kW solar-powered shipping container and a rainwater purification system in Detroit’s Bailey Park. As a result of the Dow Fellows’ evaluation, wealth of educational materials, and 3D rendering of the park’s infrastructure, BPNDC now has the resources in place to secure funding for this community development project and engage local youths in sustainable technology and design.

March 2021
Dow Fellows Report 2020: Soil Tax Incentives
Paper/Project Report

Though celebrated for its production of cherries, squash, and winter greens, the Michigan agricultural system is also a primary driver of soil sedimentation which can lead to habitat degradation, loss of fertile topsoil, reduced recreation value and use, increased flooding, and infrastructure damage. While farmers may see more direct impacts from sedimentation, local governments and citizens also bear indirect costs. In 2020, this Dow Sustainability Fellows team partnered with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to develop a soil tax incentive model that could quantify the indirect costs of soil erosion and sedimentation to non-agricultural stakeholders. With this model, TNC will build and advocate for a sustainable funding program for statewide soil conservation efforts that will provide salient benefits to overall community and ecosystem health.

March 2021
Dow Fellows Report 2020: Utility Affordability
Paper/Project Report

With more than 50,000 water shutoffs in the first quarter of 2020 alone, low-income Detroiters face a mounting burden from utility bills that are much higher in proportion to the national average. Though federal and state programs offer assistance to households in need, there are barriers to participation and insufficient resources to meet the scope of the need. In 2020, this Dow Fellows team partnered with EcoWorks Detroit, a local nonprofit founded in 1981, to build the financial model for a new Turnkey Home Retrofit (THR) program that would lower utility bills for low-income Detroit homeowners. Equipped with the financial model and implementation framework developed by the Dow Fellows team, EcoWorks is ready to lead the charge in implementing comprehensive utility efficiency measures and home repairs through innovative and inclusive financing mechanisms.

March 2021
Dow Fellows Report 2020: Net Zero F.A.S.T.
Paper/Project Report

With a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 for the state of Michigan, the pressure is on for municipalities and local organizations to reduce their carbon emissions sustainably over the next 30 years. EcoWorks is leading the charge in Detroit with their Net Zero For All Starting Today initiative which places equity and social justice at the forefront of the climate movement. This Dow Fellows team worked with EcoWorks to provide a comprehensive white paper detailing actionable strategies and equitable practices for 5 policy areas in the energy and transportation sectors. Their integrated approach is modeled after the global Project Drawdown which identifies climate solutions based on currently available technology.

March 2021
Dow Fellows Report 2020: Chelsea Community Solar
Paper/Project Report

Moving full speed ahead towards a goal of net-zero electricity emissions by 2035, the City of Chelsea is now evaluating a community solar model of municipal electricity generation for low income residents. This 2020 Dow Fellows team evaluated the feasibility of bringing community solar power to Chelsea from a true interdisciplinary perspective that included a financial, environmental, regulatory, and stakeholder analysis. Community distributed solar power could be a win-win for the state by providing affordable electricity to households in need and greening the city’s energy infrastructure. In addition, federal tax credits for clean energy development projects create opportunities for mutually beneficial public-private partnerships between the City of Chelsea and green developers.

March 2021
Dow Fellows Report 2020: Washtenaw County Parks Resilience Planning
Paper/Project Report

In response to the mounting challenges associated with our rapidly changing climate, the 2019 Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners declared a goal of eliminating greenhouse gases by 2035 and developing a Climate Action Plan with community resilience at the forefront. In 2020, this Dow Fellows team partnered with the Washtenaw County Commissioner’s Office to provide recommendations for the Climate Action Plan through a greenhouse gas inventory, the development of a community needs assessment, and a review of climate mitigation and adaptation strategies, including the development of a community resilience hub. Moving forward with the Climate Action Plan, Washtenaw County will leverage the work of the Dow Fellows team as a foundation for driving down carbon emissions, greening the energy grid, and implementing strategies to boost community climate resilience and disaster preparedness.

March 2021

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