Business · Conservation · Cultural Heritage · Efficiency · entrepreneurs · eServices · Geography · Historic Towns · intercity transit · Logistics · microtransit · Mobility · museums · Rivers · Sustainable Communities · water quality · waterways

Geography Community and Climate Change

Thesis Increased urbanization and mass migrations over the last century are key to understanding human factors in climate change; these are best understood by a careful reading of history and geography in your community. Regions of the Earth that are successfully addressing environmental problems should assist other communities, regardless of their location, set an example and provide knowledge and expertise.

Geography as defined by Halford Mackinder, bridges the gap between arts and science; it connects history and culture with the environment. Mankind and not nature initiates activities but nature in large measure controls –Fernand Braudel. Those working in harmony with environmental influences will triumph over those who strive against them – WH Parker. Human nature is motivated by fear, self-interest and honor – Thucydides.

wilkes-barre ViewSustainable Communities are created by addressing resource protection climate change air and water quality human health and well-being

My Community the Washington DC, Potomac River and Middle Atlantic Region of the United States is characterized by a highly educated and knowledgeable citizenry that is very sensitive to environmental issues and is engaged locally and regionally.

Key Issues Affecting Climate Change

Chesapeake watershedurbanization, traffic gridlock, population increases, community migrations

agricultural runoffs from rivers and tributaries into

farming in the outlying Chesapeake region and urban area water quality issues have led to bacteria in the waters, resulting in swimming bans in the bay, rivers and the ocean

budget limitations have led to reduced inspection of watersheds, hence less maintenance and increases in storm water failures allowing tens of thousands of pounds of nutrients to enter the waterways

education there is still a disconnect between the scientific community and the public at large; climate issues are still not part of mainstream thinking and daily life even in socially and economically sophisticated communities.  

Local Solutions to Climate Change

Richmond Historic Canal WalkGovernments at all levels are engineering political solutions:

o   an agreement between EPA and Agricultural Organizations to implement pollution reduction programs aimed at restoring the Bay to health by 2025, and

o   local food production and consumption, a plastic bag tax, green roofs, bike and car sharing programs, light rail and other forms of public transport

Real success in mitigating climate change will be achieved when environmentally sound practices are adopted by local populations; in democratic societies, this can be achieved when small businesses and entrepreneurs join government, nonprofit and volunteer groups in this effort.

Issues are taken more seriously when your lively-hood depends on it. Hence, information, education and training lead to sustainable wealth creation.

Global Solutions to Climate Change

self reliant communities images by EffektAt the dawn of the 20th Century only 14 percent of the world’s population lived in cities; by 2025, 75 percent will be in urban settings. There are already 468 cities with over a million in population; 40 of these cities have more than 10 million residents.

These circumstances lead to continued economic, social, security, environment and climate problems. Increasingly there is a devolution from supranational and national to regional and local institutions to tackle these issues.

The more fortunate communities have an obligation to share their know-how, expertise and experience in climate change; it is in their interest to do so.

Tell us about Your Community and Projects

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canals · Conservation · Cultural Heritage · Efficiency · eServices · Historic Towns · intercity transit · Maritime Heritage · Mobility · museums · Rivers · travel plan

Travel Destinations and Learning Experiences

Personalized Travel Programs for families, schools and theme groups with environmental training, visits to state-of-the-art transit facilities and museums featuring the history of rail and water transport.

Communities and Local Public Transport Initiatives

Fegeol busesAmericans are second to none in their love of the automobile but in recent years efficient and affordable public transit – in the form of bus rapid transit, subways, elevated and other rail services and trolley cars – for urban, suburban and intercity service – have been debated, studied and in some instances implemented.

Our US itineraries include cities with established commuter and regional service as well as communities that are implementing new transit programs. An opportunity to meet with local planners and managers as well as travel efficiently, safely and affordably as you visit the United States.

colorado springs streetcarColorado Springs is renowned for its walkable historic areas, its commitment to sustainability and its natural attractions and ample recreational opportunities in the nearby Rocky Mountains. Activities range from family itineraries to educational, cultural and a wide range of outdoor programs. Experience scenic and historic train ride s aboard the Broadmoor’s Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway, the Royal Gorge Route Railroad and Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad. Colorado Springs’ first streetcar service was powered by horses; at its peak, a total of 10 horse-drawn trolley cars operated in the city. In 1890, the Colorado Springs Rapid Transit Railway began replacing the horse car lines with electric power, a system that numbered 44 electric cars by 1900; at its peak, the system covered 41 miles. In 1931, buses began replacing streetcars. Streetcar service ended shortly thereafter.

MAX Light RailMetropolitan Portland’s commuters and visitors have many options to get around in America’s best pedestrian and transit-friendly city. Public transit is comprised of TriMet’s regional bus network and the Metropolitan Area Express – MAX – light rail system, which connects the city and suburbs while the WES Commuter Rail reaches Portland’s western suburbs. Portland Streetcar connects shopping areas and dense residential districts north and northwest of downtown as well as the east side of the Willamette River. The Portland Transit Mall on Fifth and Sixth avenues limits automobile access in favor or bus and light rail service. And Portland’s mainline steam locomotives can be seen pulling excursion trains operated by the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation.

motorbus industryHershey, PA from Roads to Rails, travel back in time as O-gauge trains chug through the idyllic Pennsylvania countryside and multiple scenes reminiscent of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. The Museum of Bus Transportation has partnered with the Antique Auto Club of America Museum to provide museum quality displays of the bus industry – intercity, transit, and school – for the public.  It also serves to showcase the industry’s growth and development in the United States and celebrate the role that the bus industry continues to play in mobility and progress of the American public.

The Motor Bus Industry Occupies a Vital Place in America’s Everyday Life

 

In rural areas and in the thousands of towns and cities across the nation, buses provide personal transport, carrying more persons daily than all other public modes of transportation put together. The evolution of this industry provides a fascinating story of invention, entrepreneurship and the effort of thousands of people risking their time and capital in the hope of creating a profitable business.

Grapevine Vintage Railroad 10-13-07The Grapevine Vintage Railroad follows a scenic route to the Fort Worth Stockyards along the Cotton Belt Railroad right-of-way. The service is a tourist attraction due to its slow speeds. The Grapevine Rail also hosts one of the community’s seven winery tasting rooms. A new train station downtown and north of the airport are included in the proposed commuter route that follows existing rail lines from downtown Fort Worth, northeast to downtown Grapevine and then into the north entrance of Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. The route connects with other transportation services, including the Trinity Railway Express (TRE) commuter rail service, AMTRAK, and downtown bus transfer center at the Fort Worth Intermodal Transportation Center as well as a connection to the Dallas Dart Rail.

Forth worth trolleysFort Worth It is easy to get around Fort Worth or travel to nearby Dallas and Grapevine.Bus the T – Fort Worth Transport Authority – provides extensive service throughout the city and its cultural attractions. Rail the TRE – Trinity Rail Express – connects Fort Worth and Dallas with transfer access to DFW International Airport.Air DFW is only 17.5 miles from downtown Fort Worth via bus, rail or taxi service. From here, you can reach any major city in the U.S. in less than four hours. Walking is a wonderful way to experience the city’ entertainment districts and the Trinity Trails. Bike Sharing: Bike sharing is an inexpensive, healthy and environmentally friendly way to get around Fort Worth. Pick up a bike at any of the 40 docking stations.

Water Resources Management and the Environment

Visit and study the efforts of communities that are in the forefront of water resources management and other environmentally sustainable practices in coastal and river waterfront development in small towns and large cities as well as agricultural communities. Local officials and nonprofit stewards of the environment, among others, will explain their policies, programs and best management practices in wastewater and watershed management, land conservancy issues, LEED certifications, recycling, rainwater collection and energy efficient systems.

eco buildingIn Montgomery County, Maryland Experience Rain Garden Training, a hands-on rain garden building class at a pre-dug site.  After reviewing the criteria for siting and sizing rain gardens, participants determine and finish the grading, install the soil media, build the berm, plant and mulch the garden.

You can also learn the complex procedures that govern the building, watershed and renewable energy permitting process.

Some communities have been in the forefront of land conservation, historic preservation and the arts movements that celebrates land and landscapes and water resources management initiatives:

Weighing Cargoes on the Lehigh CanalIn the Lehigh Valley, the local culture draws from the Moravian settlements experience in which all men were equal; a broad cultural environment in which music, art, education and religious tolerance flourished, as evidenced by the communal dwellings, churches and industrial structures still present.

The Brandywine Valley has focused on Development & Conservancy Issues, including floodplain areas that threaten to devastate water supplies in parts of the Delaware River Valley. Local resident-initiated conservation easements that now protect five and one-half miles along the Brandywine River.

Philadelphia SkylineIn the city of Philadelphia, the waterfront is now a 6-mile walking and biking destination. Trail features include streetscape improvements along the entire waterfront trail, a bi-directional bikeway, pedestrian walkway and rain gardens that collect the first inch of storm water, relieving the city sewer system during major weather events, as well as benches, bike racks, decorative street pavers and innovative solar trail lighting. Center City offers a thriving culture and entertainment scene as well as a contemporary arts museum with training programs and study tours for students, aspiring artists and families.

klyde warren park dallasDallas is the first ISO 14001 certified city in the US – the international environmental standard which sets environmental goals for organizations and communities – and among the first to adopt a green building program that now boasts 5 LEED Gold, 1 LEED-EB Silver and 2 certified buildings. New projects in the city include pedestrian-friendly parks such as Main Street Garden, Belo Garden and the Klyde Warren Park. Dallas also is home to the Trinity River Audubon Center, a LEED certified building with many sustainable features: a vegetated roof, rainwater collection system, energy efficient systems and recycled materials.

Travel Destinations and Learning Experiences

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America · Business · Conservation · Cultural Heritage · Efficiency · Historic Towns · intercity transit · Maritime Heritage · museums · Travel · travel plan

Preserve and Divulge Cultural Heritage

Destinations and Itineraries

Cultural Heritage and Local Museums give meaning and purpose to the objects on display in museums and art galleries as they disclose the historical and archaeological heritage of a community, leverage conservation and the rediscovery of cultural heritage through the arts, history, archaeology, literature and architecture, preserve biodiversity and rediscover cultures associated with agricultural, coastal and river communities

For Friends & Family Theme Groups and Business Travelers

River Market KCLocal Food Wineries and Breweries there are several fascinating examples throughout America of a resurgence in farming that cater to an ever-increasing demand for local, quality and sustainable food, wine and ale consumption in urban, rural and suburban communities, fueled in part by downtown development and neighborhood construction. This, in turn, has spawned a demand for nightlife and weekend amenities for local citizens and out of town visitors.

Experience Uniquely Local Atmospheres Where Historical and Sustainable Attractions are also Present

Milwaukee Intermodal StationLocal Public Transport Initiatives in recent years, efficient and affordable public transit – in the form of bus rapid transit, subways, elevated and other rail services and trolley cars – for urban, suburban and intercity services have been debated, studied and in some instances implemented. Our itineraries include major US cities with established commuter and regional service as well as communities that are implementing new transit programs. An opportunity to meet with local planners and managers and travel efficiently, safely and affordably as you visit the United States.

Canal boat DelphiWater Resources and the Environment visit and study the efforts of communities that are in the forefront of water resources management and other environmentally sustainable practices in coastal and river waterfront development in small towns and large cities as well as agricultural communities. Local officials and nonprofit stewards of the environment, among others, will explain their policies, programs and best management practices in wastewater and watershed management, land conservancy issues, LEED certifications, recycling, rainwater collection and energy efficient systems.

Industry and Commerce Itineraries from Agriculture and Industry to Services and Sustainability

Lockport downtownMany American Communities are transitioning from traditional industrial and commercial activities to technologically innovative ones; in some instances, they are also able to re-establish their traditional economic activities with a successful application of the so-called knowledge economy and, in the process, becoming once again competitive in the world marketplace.

Communications Training Small Business and Entrepreneurship

C&O Canal - GeorgetownCommunities with traditional economies can succeed in a post-industrial environment by utilizing modern communications technologies, updating existing industrial infrastructure, local workforce training as well as supporting small businesses and new entrepreneurial opportunities.

Destinations and Itineraries for Friends Family and Business Travelers

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Business · Conservation · Efficiency · eServices · Historic Towns · Logistics

District Energy Networks

community economic development safe and reliable energy livable towns and cities

District Energy provides and distributes locally generated thermal energy for heating and cooling homes, commercial and institutional buildings, and industrial processes. The system comprises two elements: a central energy plant containing equipment that produces thermal energy in the form of steam or hot water for heating, or chilled water for cooling as well as combined heat and power – CHP – units which produce electricity; a network of insulated pipes to distribute the thermal energy from the central plant to buildings that receive reliable, efficient, affordable, and clean thermal energy from locally controlled and highly efficient central plants.

biogas systemdistrict networks achieve economies of scale by meeting the energy demands of many buildings

High Efficiency and low cost are achieved by producing and distributing thermal energy at a local level. Higher efficiency leads to lower costs over the long term, especially with the utilization of local fuels.

Flexibility and resiliency the ability of district energy networks to take heat from multiple sources, fuels, and technologies makes it very flexible, giving communities more secure energy supplies.

Optimum Supplies new and emerging technologies like heat pumps, fuel cells, or biofuels are easily and rapidly retrofitted, without the need to install equipment in end user facilities.

Local Control ensures that investment decisions are made in the community.

Thermal Energy Services can be delivered through a variety of vehicles, including local municipalities, private sector entities and community-owned, nonprofit special purpose vehicles – SPVs – ensuring that surpluses are re-invested to extend the networks, insulate customer buildings or updating control systems.

Carbon Emissions efficiency is achieved with the utilization of fossil fuels and renewable fuels.

bioman plantdistrict energy offers a complementary infrastructure to gas and electricity networks

Fuel Sources include both fossils and renewables, such as natural gas, oil, coal, biomass, geothermal, solar thermal, and waste to energy that are able to capture and distribute surplus heat from industrial processes and power generation that would otherwise be wasted.  Heat networks aggregate the thermal demand of multiple buildings to a scale that enables the use of technologies with higher efficiencies, or ones that may not be economical to deploy at the individual building level, such as biomass, waste to energy, or combined heat and power cogeneration.

A CHP Plant offers significant benefits. Electrical and thermal energy achieve efficiencies of 75% as well as the flexibility of using different fuel types. Thermal storage during periods of peak demand for electricity can be stored and used later during peak thermal demand periods. Also, electric boilers can be utilized to balance periods of over and underproduction of electricity and provide secure thermal energy and power services to the local area reducing stress caused by grid congestion, transmission and distribution losses while improving overall efficiency and energy security.

Local lower cost, less polluting and secure energy are the premises for diverse communities that provide residential, civic, retail, cultural, and entertainment facilities, within walking distance and with efficient public transit; these are the economic multipliers that create new business opportunities and jobs.

self reliant communities images by EffektLearn More about District Energy Networks for Your Community

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Conservation · Cultural Heritage · eServices · Historic Towns · Maritime · Maritime Heritage · Travel · travel plan

Chesapeake Bay and the Eastern Shore

history geology hydrology fishing and the environment

Chesapeake Bay is an estuary and the largest such body in the contiguous United States and is a very important feature for the ecology and economy of the Middle Atlantic Region. More than 150 major rivers and streams flow into the bay’s 64,299-square-mile – 166,534 km2 covering parts of six states.

Thomas Point Lighthouse Chesapeake BayHistory in 1524, Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano sailed past the Chesapeake, but did not enter the bay. Spanish explorers may have been the first Europeans to explore parts of the bay which they named Bay of the Mother of God. In the late 16th century the British founded a colony and Captain John Smith explored and mapped it between 1607 and 1609. The first designated all-water National Historic Trail was created in 2006 following Smith’s historic 17th century voyage.

The Eastern Shore is home to crabbers, oyster men, gentlemen-farmers and sharecroppers, boat builders and antiques dealers. Activities include fishing, crabbing, swimming, boating, kayaking and sailing.

ChesapeakeTidal WetlandsGeology and Hydrology the bay was formed starting about 10,000 years ago when rising sea levels at the end of the last ice age flooded the Susquehanna River valley.  Much of the bay is shallow; it is approximately 200 miles – 320 km – long and 2.8 miles – 4.5 km – wide at its narrowest and 30 miles – 48 km – at its widest point. Average depth is 21 feet – 6.4 m. Because the bay is an estuary, it has fresh water, salt water and brackish water.

SkipjackFishing once employed up to nine thousand water men and their skip jacks, the only remaining sailing work boats in US waters, engaged in the seafood production of blue crabs, clams and oysters. Now, runoffs from farms and urban areas, over-harvesting and foreign species invasions have made the bay less productive. Oyster farming helps maintain the estuary’s productivity and is a natural effort for filtering impurities and reduce the amount of nitrogen compounds entering Chesapeake Bay.

Chesapeake watershedEnvironment in the 1970s, Chesapeake Bay was discovered to contain marine dead zones – waters depleted of oxygen and unable to support life – that weaken the base of the estuary and its food source.

The runoff and pollution have many components that help contribute to the algal bloom which is mainly fed by phosphorus and nitrogen. Algae prevents sunlight from reaching the bottom of the bay while alive and de-oxygenates the bay’s water when it dies and rots. Also, the over-harvesting of oysters has made it difficult for them to reproduce, which requires close-proximity to one another. The depletion of oysters has had a particularly harmful effect on the quality of the bay as they serve as natural water filters, and their decline has further reduced the water quality of the bay.

Visit Chesapeake Bay and the Eastern Shore

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Business · Conservation · Efficiency · eServices

Financing Energy Efficiency Projects

Energy Efficiency Projects face several financial impediments, including:

Information financial institutions often lack a full understanding of energy efficiency technologies which are almost always investments with long repayment terms;

Commercial Lenders are risk averse to this type of credit exposure while investment funds have a greater appetite for risk but focus on large volume transactions, hence

Energy Efficiency projects that would benefit small towns and rural communities require specific and unique knowledge, expertise and funding sources.

Main Street Historic DistrictsSolutions

Energy Audits provide the necessary information on current consumption patterns and establish baselines for future demand and consumption with IT-based monitoring and controlling systems whose software gathers and elaborates data coming from smart meters.

ESCOs are energy and water service/savings companies that provide design, implementation and financing of energy/water saving projects via retrofits, conservation, infrastructure outsourcing, power generation and supply, as well as risk management as they share in the risk borne by the project beneficiary as the funding source buys energy savings receivables resulting from the project.

NREL Image Processing Occupancy SensorProject Tasks include: identification and evaluation of energy-saving opportunities; developing engineering designs and specifications; project management from design to installation to monitoring; energy supply at the best costs; funding; staff training and ongoing maintenance services; guarantees that savings cover project costs; understanding and applying of energy standards, laws and incentives.

Energy Performance Contracts contain risk allocation, cash flow segregation, financial instruments and controls with the appropriate management information systems.

Economies of Scale and larger volume finance transactions are achieved by linking with similar size and type projects in other small towns and rural communities.

self reliant communities 3 images by EffektTell Us About Your Project

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Business · Conservation · Efficiency · eServices

Green Leases

Green leases also known as aligned, high performance, or energy efficient leases align the financial and energy incentives of building owners and tenants, so they can work together to save money, conserve resources, and ensure the efficient operation of buildings. A green lease is a lease of space in a green building that is designed, constructed and operated to achieve sustainability, water efficiency, energy savings and indoor environment quality.
Building Leases spell out how energy costs are divided between tenants and owners. Often, these leases are not structured in a way that promotes energy savings. Tenants have no incentive to save energy in their leased premises because energy costs are based on tenant square footage. Building owners have no incentive to invest in energy efficiency because the operating expenses are passed onto tenants.
Green Leases promote energy efficiency by creating lease structures which equitably align the costs and benefits of efficiency investments between building owners and tenants.

voltec image​​ A Landlord Tenant Energy Partnership

The Landlord Tenant Energy Partnership is led by the Institute for Market Transformation with the Retails Industry Leaders Association and the International Council of Shopping Centers. Participants have access to guidance in implementing energy efficiency steps, lease negotiations and property operations.

An Energy Savings Checklist replace inefficient incandescent bulbs with CFL bulbs; install and correctly set a programmable thermostat; switch out your shower head for an efficient WaterSense model; use a power strip for electronics and appliances; set the refrigerator to 36°F – 40°F and the freezer to 0°F – 5°F. use shades and insulated drapes to block out the sun in the summer and reduce heat loss in winter.

Energy Management nearly all renters pay their own energy bills but have little say over the efficiency and quality of the appliances and windows in their home.

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