Saturday, July 18, 2009

Green up to my eyeballs....

The last two weeks has been crazy...James and Kim kept coming to get me to take me here, there and everywhere on what I call their Green Journey. I'll try to give you the rundown but there were a few times I had to stay behind to rest...I don't have anywhere near the energy that they do.

First stop, the ColumBUS.

We decided to catch the Route 2 bus at Target @ 12:37pm. When the bus came, we climbed on and to my suprise, there was my neighbor, Haywood, driving the bus.

He lives next to me and my parents so I introduced him to Kim and James and off we went.

We made new friends and saw lots of places we haven't been to yet in Columbus. Overall, it was an awesome trip and Kim and James and I learned a lot about the ColumBUS on our one little ride.

The ColumBUS has 4 different routes and makes 62 stops with a 10 minute break at the Downtown Depot. If you can't quite make it to your stop on time, you can catch the bus at any intersection on the route as long as it is safe for the driver to stop there. The BUS runs Monday through Saturday from 6:00am to 7:00pm and is $0.25 per ride for anyone 18 or over and is free for all children and teens under 18. You can also buy a $5.00 pass if you are going to be a frequent rider that is good for 25 rides. You can check out the website, "City Services" for Half Fare guidelines, BUS schedules, and additional information on Columbus's coolest form of transportation.

As you already know, James and Kim haven't lived in Columbus long-they moved from Indianapolis at the beginning of June-and they had only ridden the IndyGo bus once before so they were newbies to the BUS experience. They are now BUS lovers for life! They know now all the benefits of riding bus! It's not only what all the cool kids are doing now, it's one way they can help the environment-a literal Green Journey. Did you know that if one in ten Americans used public transportation regularly, we would cut our nation's usage of fuel by 40% and emission caused by this fuel we speak of is the largest contributor to smog-YUCK!

Do the environment and yourself a favor-check out the ColumBUS!!! You just might catch a glimpse of me on my way out to visit Kim and James! (They're kinda growing on me!)

Next stop, the Bartholomew County Landfill and Reuse Center.

When Kim and James told me they were going to the Reuse Center, what I heard was "the dump"...little did I know, it was sooooo much more! When we arrived at the Reuse Center, the first thing I thought was TREASURE!!! There were perfectly good items sitting in this building-it was AMAZING!!! All I could think was "why are people throwing away this perfectly good stuff?" Come to find out, there is a purpose behind this wonderful place.

At the Reuse Center, people can drop off or pick up items for FREE! It doesn't get any better! It's located at 811 E 450 S and it is open for drop offs or pick ups Monday through Friday from 7:30am to 4:30pm and Saturday from 7:30am to 4:00pm. We met Burton, the man with a plan....he gets first choice of all the good stuff that people leave at the Reuse center so he's got it made!
Also, attached to the Reuse Center is the Little Red School House Too. Here teachers can come and pick-up reuse materials to use in their classroom and the only condition is that they inform their class that the materials they are using are benefitting the environment because they would have otherwise been discarded. Reusing these materials saves natural resources, electricity and prevents pollution.

So our trip the Reuse Center was pretty educational and Green and very worth the trip and look at the awesome bike that someone didn't want anymore! Not a thing wrong with it! It's going to make some little girl very very happy!

To learn more, visit
This trip was very inspiring so we began a mission to collect as many newspapers as we could to recycle. Next stop, the Internet!

So Kim placed adds on and asking for everyone's old newspapers. This turned out to be a very lucrative newspaper collecting option! People really do save their old newspapers and for many different reasons! The only option is not to just dump them in a recycling bin. You can use them for packing and storing materials. You can use them in many arts and crafts projects. And did you know you can use them to polish windows after cleaning? All of these options are amazing ways to preserve national resources! I found this really cool article called Eighty Uses for Old Newspaper on the internet. Check it out!
So they collected and collected and much it took up the seat I like to sit in when I ride with them in the van. And after collecting until they newspapers coming out of their ears, we dropped them off at Harrison College today.

Come to find out, they are donating them to a local elementary school that recycles papers to supplement funding for the school. Awesome! I never imagined how much joining the CYP Amazing Race would help us help others. ....I'm getting a little weepy so I think it's time to move to the next stop...

The Kroot Corporation!...wait....are you wondering what Kroot has to do with our Green Journey? So was I! But now I realize how very uneducated and un-Green I was...

According to the History, an early version of Kroot's was founded a century ago (that's 100 years ago, to you rocket scientists) by Joseph Kroot in Indianapolis. In 1900 he bought land in Edinburgh and began a salvage operation and in 1907, he moved his business to Columbus. (Yay!!! He was a Indy-to-Columbus transplant just like Kim and James!) Currently, Kroot's is in it's fourth generation of family ownership and is still going strong. The company is currently run by Art Kroot, grandson of Joseph Kroot, and his son, Josh.

We had the great fortune of getting a tour of Kroot's from Josh (should I have asked for an autograph??? Kim and James didn't and I didn't want to look like a dork!) As I said before, I wasn't exactly sure why Kroot's was a stop on our Green Journey, but I know now that their business has to be responsible for keeping more out of our landfills than any other industry. The way it works is this:
People bring scrap metal in, they weigh it,

catergorize it by ferrous (metal containing iron) or non-ferrous(if you need me to define this for you, i'm laughing at you right now), remove it from the vehicle it was brought in on,

and the person who brought it in gets money depending on the amount of weight removed from their vehicle. Awesome! About 1/3 of Kroot's business is Non-ferrous metals (aluminum, copper, lead, zinc, tin, etc) and 2/3 Ferrous (steel, stainless steel, wrought iron, cast iron, etc).

Watch this!

Did you know that if you take in a pound of aluminum cans today(about 32 cans to a lb) you get $0.33? And if you take in over 100lbs you will get $0.38 per pound? One man's trash, another man's treasure! Now the price per pound varies often, so it may not be the same today as it is next week; you are always welcome to call ahead to check the day's prices.

After Kroot's receives the scrap metal and they have determined if it is ferrous or non-ferrous, they use two different practices to process different sizes or types of metals. The first is Baling-soooo awesome and sooooo environmentally friendly! They take large items that would take up a lot of room in a landfill and squish them down into these tiny bales of shiny metal that they then resell to steel mills to use in the production of new steel-recycling at it's best!

The second practice is Shearing. In Shearing, pieces of scrap are loaded into a hydraulic shear which cuts them into smaller pieces and are then remelted and used in the production of grey iron castings-the Kroots are Green geniuses!

So after wandering around and checking out the yard and the items people have determined to be scrap that I would have loved to take home, I have decided that Kroot's is my favorite stop so far on our Green Journey.

I decided to stay and play at Kroot's for awhile so the Journey had to continue without me.

While I sifted, Kim and James went to visit Jackson Place Apartments. I'll let her tell you about it; Kim, the blog is all yours....

Thanks Cocoa!

On July 15th, 2008 Casa Verde (meaning "house of green") broke ground on an environmentally advanced project for completely Green housing and Jackson Place is an amazing example of their work.

Casa Verde is a member of U.S. Green Building Council and follow the LEED Building Rating System to ensure that all of their buildings are high quality and sustainable and are up to the highest green standards. A fact I found interesting was that using local suppliers for all materials gives you "bonus points" in achieving a Green rating so Indiana businesses, such as James Hardy, maker of Hardy plank (which is used on many of the outer surfaces of Jackson Place), are benefiting from the Green Movement.

There are many overall benefits of owning a Green home or business, but I know that my first thought when I think Green has been "expensive." However, after spending time with Jean Donica and Patrick McGuire (amazing and knowledgeable people!

I learned so much about the overall cost benefits of building and buying Green. Operation costs alone are much lower in a Green building and with the high cost of energy now, this is a huge priority for someone purchasing a home. Also, Columbus has granted a ten year tax abatement to Jackson Place so over the next ten years a buyer will receive credits toward their total tax bill.

Some features of Jackson Place are:
* Indoor underground secured assigned parking spaces
* Smoke-free community
* Outdoor heated pool and community gardens ("the Rain Gardens")
* Rooftop gardens with a green roof available as an option
* Outdoor clothes drying facilities
* Elevator
* Energy Star rated Appliances, Windows and Doors
* Five layers of soundproofing between units

Here is a look at the work in progress...

Some things James and I noticed on our tour were that all light fixtures are LED (which have proven to be more efficient),

all units have advanced sprinkler systems for fire safety, and some units have 3-sided fireplaces. (how cool!) There is also roof access from many of the units that can be used as garden or gathering space or whatever the homeowner decides. Here is a look at the amazing views from the roof...

The project is broken down into three phases, phase I being what you see on Jackson St right now. There are 13 units in Phase I and when all three Phases are complete, there will be 45 total live-work units. I can't wait to see the finished product!

We got a chance to talk for a minute to one of the owners and Jackson Place main-man, Michael Greven. Michael has over 25 years of experience in the construction industry. He spent several years in Africa with the Peace Corp and 2 years working in construction in Jubail, Saudi Arabia and this experience has guided him to focus on energy efficiency and sustainability in architechural design. He welcomed us and gave us information on some of the features of his project. One really interesting piece of info he gave us was that all stormwater will be directed to the Rain Gardens so no drop will go to waste.
There are so many more features and so many reasons why Jackson Place is an economical and intelligent option for someone looking to purchase a home that will be just as efficent for their great grandchildren as it is today.

Back to you Cocoa!....

Alrighty, last but not least on our Green Journey was a stop off at Kim and James' work, which also happens to be my parents' place of employment. All this talk of the environment had me wondering what my parents are doing in their business to make it more Green. Kim and James did some investigating and found that Lemley's Catering is more Green than they expected. As a matter of fact, the owner, Max Lemley, is an LEED Advocate and a big Jackson Place supporter. He has instructed a class called "Why and How LEED Certified Buildings and Homes Saves Pocketbook Dollars." He has held many positions on many boards always representing the Green side in business.

Lemley's is making an attempt to go Greener by using a tankless water heater,
writing Thank You notes to clients on paperless notecards,
recycling all cardboard and paper
and are currently developing bio-diesel fuel to use in their diesel truck.
I am proud to know that my parents care about the environment and that Kim and James are doing their part to help them in their efforts.
So that's a wrap on our Green Journey. I never expected to learn as much as I did so Kim and James must feel like geniuses after all we've done. Yes, I'm tired and yes, in the beginning I was nervous about hanging with these yahoos but now...well, I've made some really good friends and forged a great bond with Kim and James. I'm ready for what comes next...bring it on!!!