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Updating Parking Garage Lighting

Yesterday I posted about a parking garage attempting, poorly, to look like numerous buildings. In researching the garage I discovered in June Cheyenne WY approved spending a little more than $130,000 to upgrade the lighting from metal halide fixtures to LED.

Bob Bradshaw, the city’s special projects director, said the current metal halide bulbs are “burning out at a rate of a couple a day” and can cost up to $260 each to replace.

Not only are the LED bulbs more energy efficient, they last longer and require less maintenance, Bradshaw said. That means the city would save money on both energy bills and maintenance costs with the new lights. (source)

The new lighting is estimated to save $253,077 over the next decade, with the break even point “in just over four years.” While in Colorado & Wyoming electricians finished replacing the old halogen lights in our condo parking garage, located underneath both buildings.  The lights are on 24 hours a day, between electricity and replacements representing over 16% of our annual budget.

Our new lighting is brighter, with better color
Our new lighting is brighter, with better color
The fixtures look just like 4-tibe fluorescents, but these are LEDs.
The fixtures look just like 4-tube fluorescents, but these are LED tubes.

A rebate from Ameren reduced our upfront costs about 30%, but it was still a substantial investment. With a payoff of just 18 months the majority of us voted to proceed.

Once our inventory of compact fluorescents (CFL) has been depleted, we’ll begin using LED bulbs in our stairwells and hallways.

— Steve Patterson


In 2012 A Resident Had To Fight With Ferguson Officials To Keep His Front Yard Vegetable Garden

The post is a repeat of my post A Front Yard Vegetable Garden In Ferguson Missouri from August 2012:

In July one modest house in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson got the attention of many:

A Ferguson resident has won a battle with city officials that could be considered a matter of taste.

The resident, Karl Tricamo, had been feuding with the city for months over the vegetable garden he had planted in front of his house in the 300 block of Louisa Avenue.

The city saw the garden as a blot on the landscape and issued Tricamo a citation demanding he uproot the corn, tomatoes, sorghum, peppers and other crops sprouting there and, instead, seed the yard for grass. The garden measures 35 feet by 25 feet. (stltoday.com)

Other resources:

Numerous pictures were circulated on Facebook & Twitter as front yard gardening advocates celebrated this victory. But all the pictures concentrated tightly on the garden, I wanted to understand the context. I went to Google Maps but no streetview was available just an aerial.

The 45 degree view of the house in Ferguson, before the lawn was replaced with the garden. Click image to view in Google Maps.

I knew I wanted to see the garden and street in person but it’s a 12+ mile drive — and I don’t have a car. So I caught a bus at the North Hanley MetroLink station and I was within blocks.

ABOVE: The MetroBus dropped me off at Suburban Ave and S. Clark Ave, this is looking north on Clark
ABOVE: Looking west on Louisa St from Clark., nice but well-maintained homes. No manicured lawns.
ABOVE: Continuing on Louisa looking for the house & garden on the right.
ABOVE: I’m visiting on Monday August 20, 2012. The garden looks good to my eye given how dry it has been and how late in the growing season it is.
ABOVE: Lawn remains between the sidewalk and driveway
ABOVE: Another view

In an older neighborhood with mature trees locations for a vegetable garden are often limited, most vegetables need full sun.  I applaud Tricamo for fighting the City of Ferguson so he could grow food for his family.

— Steve Patterson


Urban Land Banking Prairie In Chicago

August 19, 2014 Environment, Featured, Parks, Planning & Design, Real Estate, Travel Comments Off on Urban Land Banking Prairie In Chicago

Yesterday’s post was about an interesting parking garage in Chicago, today is the story of why I went up to the top of the garage.

A long block was a prairie with native grades & flowers, it looked well kept because a wide border was mowed.
A long block was a prairie with native grades & flowers, it looked well kept because a wide border was mowed. A concrete curb separates the natives from the tidy lawn.
From the top of the adjacent parking garage you can see fenced-in prairie.
From the top of the adjacent parking garage you can see fenced-in prairie. Click image for map link. 

My assumption is this is a way of land banking until Northwestern decides to build on the land. The block held a large zig-zag 1940s/50s building, razed sometime within the last decade. The block is fenced, it isn’t used as a park. Land here, between Lake Shore Drive and Michigan Avenue, is much too valuable to sit vacant. The campus map doesn’t identify it.

The result is a very neat looking, but easy to maintain, block.

— Steve Patterson


New Solar Carport At The Centennial Malt House Located At 2017 Chouteau

The building at 2017 Chouteau, known as the Centennial Malt House, was built in 1876 as part of the  Joseph Schnaider Brewery complex.

Merged with the St. Louis Brewing Association in 1889, Schnaider’s brewery was shut down within a decade. The Chouteau Avenue Crystal Ice & Storage Plant occupied several buildings; other property including the garden was razed for the enormous International Shoe factory. Eventually, the malt house was relegated to use by a truck parts company. Things looked pretty grim when Wendy and Paul Hamilton, owners of the nearby 1111 Mississippi restaurant, purchased the property in April 2005. Faced with a tight timetable, Paul and his restaurant staff spent many extra hours working alongside an army of contractors led by Spiegelglass Construction Co. Office space under construction on the first floor is already leased; the rooftop bar and bistro Vin de Set should open this June. National City Bank plus federal and state historic tax credits financed the $4 million mixed-use project designed by Tom Cohen. (Landmarks Association 2006 Most Enhanced Award)

To make renovation financially viable the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. Since the Hamilton’s opened Vin de Set they’ve added PW Pizza, Moulin Events, Grand Petite Market, and the Malt House Cellar. They opened Eleven Eleven Mississippi nearby in 2003.

In April 2012
The Centennial Malt House at 2017 Chouteau before the carport was built, April 2012 photo

When I was there a few months ago for the 6th Ward Participatory Budget Project Expo I had no idea a solar carport was planned, it was a pleasant surprise upon arriving for dinner on Saturday.

View of the carport in the center of the small parking lot
View of the carport in the center of the small parking lot
Looking down from Vin de Set's rooftop
Looking down from Vin de Set’s rooftop
Looking toward downtown you can see Ameren's headquarters, the solar carport is at the bottom
Looking toward downtown you can see Ameren’s headquarters, the solar carport is at the bottom

From a year ago:

Hamilton and his wife, Wendy, are investing $98,000 to have solar energy panels installed near the Centennial Malt House at 2017 Chouteau Ave., built in 1876, which houses Vin de Set, PW Pizza and Moulin Events. The 25-kilowatt, photo-voltaic system is expected to be complete by September.
As part of the project, the Hamiltons are installing a solar carport canopy on the east portion of the restaurant’s parking lot. The panels will be adjacent to Ameren Missouri’s headquarters at 1901 Chouteau, and Hamilton said Ameren will purchase excess power generated by the canopy. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Like most projects, it took longer to complete than originally planned. I like how, over the 9 years since they bought the building, they’ve added little by little to utilize the large building.  Missouri’s Historic Tax Credit Program saved an otherwise unsalvageable building, creating many jobs and tax-generating businesses.  The Solar Investment Tax Credit, Ameren rebates, etc made this project possible.  Two tax credits working as intended!

— Steve Patterson


Climate Change Is Here; Readers Think We Need To Do Much More Than We Are Currently

May 7, 2014 Environment, Featured Comments Off on Climate Change Is Here; Readers Think We Need To Do Much More Than We Are Currently

Yesterday a new report confirmed what many of us thought, that Climate Change is already underway:

Climate change is no longer a distant threat, but a real and present danger in the United States, according to a government report issued Tuesday. The report is the latest update from the U.S. Global Change Research Program, and details ways that climate change — caused predominantly by the emission of heat-trapping greenhouse gases — is already being felt across the country. (Huffington Post: Climate Change Is Already Here, Says Massive Government Report)

From Climate Change report issued May 6, 2014. Click image to view Midwest region
From Climate Change report issued May 6, 2014. Click image to view Midwest region

The following is from the Midwest region, which includes Missouri & Illinois:

Key Messages 1. In the next few decades, longer growing seasons and rising carbon dioxide levels will increase yields of some crops, though those benefits will be progressively offset by extreme weather events. Though adaptation options can reduce some of the detrimental effects, in the long term, the combined stresses associated with climate change are expected to decrease agricultural productivity. 2. The composition of the region’s forests is expected to change as rising temperatures drive habitats for many tree species northward. The role of the region’s forests as a net absorber of carbon is at risk from disruptions to forest ecosystems, in part due to climate change. 3. Increased heat wave intensity and frequency, increased humidity, degraded air quality, and reduced water quality will increase public health risks. 4. The Midwest has a highly energy-intensive economy with per capita emissions of greenhouse gases more than 20% higher than the national average. The region also has a large and increasingly utilized potential to reduce emissions that cause climate change. 5. Extreme rainfall events and flooding have increased during the last century, and these trends are expected to continue, causing erosion, declining water quality, and negative impacts on transportation, agriculture, human health, and infrastructure. 6. Climate change will exacerbate a range of risks to the Great Lakes, including changes in the range and distribution of certain fish species, increased invasive species and harmful blooms of algae, and declining beach health. Ice cover declines will lengthen the commercial navigation season.

The last section is “Response Strategies”, from the introduction:

People make choices every day about risks and benefits in their lives, weighing experience, information, and judgment as they consider the impacts of their decisions on themselves and the people around them. Similarly, people make choices that alter the magnitude of impacts resulting from current and future climate change. Using science-based information to anticipate future changes can help society make better decisions about how to reduce risks and protect people, places, and ecosystems from climate change impacts. Decisions made now and in the future will influence society’s resilience to impacts of future climate change. In recognition of the significance of these decisions, the National Climate Assessment presents information that is useful for a wide variety of decisions across regions and sectors, at multiple scales, and over multiple time frames. For the first time, the National Climate Assessment includes chapters on Decision Support, Mitigation, and Adaptation, in addition to identifying research needs associated with these topics.

The report is massive, I’ve only skimmed it a little. Here are the results from last week’s poll:

Q: Which of the following is closest to your current view on the environment

  1. We need to do much more to stop/reverse Climate Change 59 [71.08%]
  2. We’ve gone off the deep end worrying about global warming 10 [12.05%]
  3. We could do more, but there’s no need to be excessive 9 [10.84%]
  4. We’re doing all we can/should do 3 [3.61%]
  5. We’re fretting too much over the environment 2 [2.41%]
  6. Unsure/No Answer 0 [0%]

To those who say we’ve gone off the deep end, I suggest you buy ocean front property for your retirement years.

— Steve Patterson




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