SOUTHGATE (WWJ) — Meadowlark Energy, an Ann Arbor-based green home general contractor, said Wednesday that it will partner with the Michigan Suburbs Alliance in the Green Anchors project to manage the construction portion of the program.
A pilot project is underway in the Detroit suburb Southgate to rehab abandoned or foreclosed properties and make them as energy efficient as possible. The program involves an intensive rehab of several neighborhood homes to bring their energy and water usage to a minimum. The goal is to demonstrate that even homes built in the 1950’s can be models of sustainability — with low energy bills.
The over-arching idea is to have the residents of these rehabbed homes trained as neighborhood “coaches” who can act as ambassadors of sustainability and connect their neighbors to resources that will help them undertake energy/water-saving measures in their own homes. These coaches will become part of the fabric of their local community, supporting community efforts such as establishing rain gardens and bike lanes.
“Meadowlark is a good partner for this program because we have been touting sustainability for years,” said Meadowlark president Doug Selby. “Whether it’s building a super energy-efficient LEED Platinum home or encouraging homeowners to change their light bulbs from incandescent to CFL’s or LED’s and everything in between, we try to educate our customers and get them to take sustainability in manageable steps – both for their lifestyles and their budgets. Even small steps can make big differences when done en masse.”
To date, two foreclosed homes have been purchased for this project and are currently under construction. One home has been vacant for more than three years and is in need of significant structural repair.
“These homes need some work,” said Jennifer Young, energy programs manager for the Michigan Suburbs Alliance. But she said with a bit of imagination, adn grants from Wayne County’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program and the City of Southgate’s Home funds, “we are looking forward to transforming these vacant homes into strong anchors for this wonderful neighborhood.”
Project managers say they hope Green Anchors will be a model for neighborhoods that are sustainable and desirable, and will not only build a sense of community, but will also draw people into the neighborhood — growing the community, helping to retain property values and having a significantly smaller carbon footprint.
The Michigan Suburbs Alliance is a Ferndale based nonprofit founded in 2002 to address the challenges of metro Detroit’s “inner ring” suburbs. More at http://www.michigansuburbsalliance.org.
More about Meadowlark Energy’s efforts on sustainability for homes at http://www.meadowlarkenergy.com.