Time is Running Out to Save up to 10% on Solar

If you have thought about solar energy for your home, business, or pergola, time is running out for you to save up to 10%! This program is called Solarize Bloomington Phase 2.

Monroe County residents will need to take part in an informational session which will take place this Thursday, August 17 at 7:00pm at the Ellettsville Public Library. If you can not make this session, there are only two more before the September 15th deadline! 

This program is run by the City of Bloomington and SIREN.

Green Parking Garage

Great picture of the Monroe County Employee parking garage at this morning’s farmers market. You can see the solar panels on the roof soaking up the sun, and the living wall on the right of the building is looking colorful! Just another example of the green efforts of County Government!

Where Local Politicians Stand on Environmental Issues

Early Voting Begins In Iowa For Presidential ElectionWith 2016 elections less than a week away, this is your look at how local races treat environmental issues. Below you’ll find candidates in categories by the seat they seek. While we understand that early voting has been strong in Monroe County, we want to ensure that local candidates stances on environmental issues are well known.

There is a Referendum Question on hunting and we recommend you listen to the October 21st taping of Noon Edition before you step into the voting booth.

Happy voting!

Ahead of the Food Curve

local-farms-local-foodIn an ongoing look at sustainability assets in Monroe County, there is one business that has helped shape the way we grow, eat, and learn about food: Bloomingfoods.

Food policy so often focuses on access. In fact, you need only to look at the recent focus on food deserts. There is even a map dedicated to showing how far away a certain residence is to a source of food, and this is important.

But in Monroe County residents have been spoiled by access to good food provided by  Bloomingfoods. Started in 1979, they were incubated by residents who sought food they couldn’t obtain elsewhere. Over the years they have grown throughout Monroe County and have offered local food producers access to a growing market, and in return residents found an increasingly local array of produce. Bloomingfoods also promotes local sustainability through print and online publications and support of local non-profits.

Bloomingfood’s most recent contribution has been to help our region prepare for a seachange in the way we think about groceries in Monroe County. As Bloominfoods expanded throughout the county, new businesses have come to Bloomington to reach households increasingly interested in sustainable agriculture and knowing more about the food they are feeding their families. This has in turn put positive pressure on growers and the evidence can be seen in the produce section of Bloomingfoods, Lucky’s, Kroger, and soon others. The crowds at the Bloomington Farmer’s Market also show this positive pressure. The end result is that interest and consequently knowledge of sustainability is growing in Monroe County.

Members of the Monroe County Environmental Commission composed this post. Their charge includes “educating the community and engaging residents and businesses in supporting initiatives which will help ensure a healthier and more economically viable future for the County.” The public is welcome to attend these meetings the second Wednesday of every month at 5:30pm.

Solar Panels are About to Become Even Cheaper…

pvpanelsSolar is expanding in Monroe County and the City of Bloomington is making it cheaper for you to install panels on your home or business!

In an effort to put new PV panels up at City Hall and at Police headquarters, the city plans to put out a request for proposals. The vendor will include a per watt price as well as installation costs for area residents. The bundling of the two large City projects will help reduce the per watt price for area residents. While the city will not be a party to private agreements between the home owner and the solar installer, they are helping residents reduce the cost of installing panels on their homes.

If you have questions about this great opportunity, please contact the City of Bloomington’s Department of Economic and Sustainable Development.

Another similar program is being advocated by residents of Elm Heights and Bryan Park in Bloomington who will band together to make a larger purchase of solar panels which will reduce costs for everyone participating. More information can be found at www.facebook.com/ElmHeights.

The good news is that local solar installations are increasing and cost continues to decrease. Moreover, you and your neighbors can band together and reduce costs based on the Elm Heights model!

If you would like to know more about solar in Monroe County or find an installer, Siren Solar is an organization that “has been a leading educator and promoter of renewable energy and energy conservation in the state of Indiana”. Contact them and discover how fast solar has grown in Monroe County at https://www.sirensolar.org/solar-map/.

Members of the Monroe County Environmental Commission composed this post. Their charge includes “educating the community and engaging residents and businesses in supporting initiatives which will help ensure a healthier and more economically viable future for the County.” The public is welcome to attend these meetings the second Wednesday of every month at 5:30pm.

Grasping Water

hands-waterFor those of us who live in or near Bloomington, Indiana the environment is very near and dear. But keeping track of all the resources, how to stay educated, and where to become involved is like grasping water.

Monroe County boasts three lakes for boating, fishing, and swimming. We also get our drinking water from at least one of those lakes. The water also supplies shelter, food, and rest to countless species of resident and migratory animal. To see these beautiful creatures, there are miles of trails through the woods, meadows, and wetlands. There are dozens of parks, miles of bike paths, and land set aside for future generations through Sycamore Land Trust.

In order to protect these resources and educate the residents, caring citizens have come together to form all sorts of organizations. Some of these you might know: Sierra Club, Green Drinks, and more. Other organizations are home grown and are less known, although the work they do is as important: MC-IRIS, the Indiana Forest Alliance, Earth Care, the Center for Sustainable Living and even more. The number of these groups alone can be mind boggling.

This blog’s goal is to keep readers updated on opportunities and important issues to help navigate the overwhelming world of resources that is Monroe County, Indiana. We hope you enjoy the content, and we’ll see you out in the beauty of nature.