Expanding Green Initiative Projects

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Sarah Waldrop
Holt Journal staff writer

Delhi Township set the standard last fall by winning Gold at the Michigan Green Communities conference in natural resource conservation, green economic development and energy efficiency. A year later, Delhi is continuing to maintain this status by implementing new green initiative projects and continuing past ones.

From the implementation of the new Scrappy program to the annual Reuse Rally, the Department of Public Services and the Township Board members are constantly working on green initiative projects, Department of Public Services Administrative Secretary Eva Walacavage said.

“Sandra Diorka [Public Services Director] is very committed and spearheads many of the green initiative projects including the Scrappy pilot program,” Walacavage said.

Although the sheep are the face of green initiative projects in Delhi, the latest project to launch is the piloted Scrappy program. This program allows students to not only recycle cans and bottles, but their food waste as well into bins called Scrappy. From there the bins are taken to the wastewater treatment plant and poured into the digesters to form electricity.

“Many National Honors Students volunteer as a part of their program to recycle paper and plastics along with the food bins,” said counseling office secretary Pam Livingston.

The current Scrappy program remains solely in schools, but may include commercial partners in the future, Sandra Diorka said in an email.

Sheep, gardens and other initiatives

Other programs that have evolved are the Delhi sheep, the community gardens and the Reuse Rally.

The flock was purchased in 2008 to act as an alternative to landscape maintenance of the native grass around the waste-treatment site. The sheep have now taken on the role of producing wool product.

Many community gardens have been expanded since their arrival in 2009. These garden plots are free and allow community members to plant and grow their own vegetables and plants. Free gardening seminars are provided for beginner gardeners. A rain garden was also installed at the Township Hall. Rain gardens help filter runoff pollution and can protect local rivers and streams.

Recently, medical drugs and electronics have been accepted as recyclable materials in Reuse Rally. At this event, people come and recycle items they do not want or need anymore and can chose to take any item from the rally. The rest is taken to the recycle drop off site, which can be accessed all hours of the day.

A building that sets an example

Delhi Township is also the first in the area to be recognized for having a LEED silver certified building. This Leading in Energy and Environmental Design building is equipped with a green roof and geothermal heating system.

The Department of Public Services wanted to see the building commissioned due to runoff and setting an environmentally conscious template to follow in the future. After the senior center was constructed by the Downtown Development Department, there has been a rise in activity at the center by creating camaraderie and a comfortable environment, Director of Parks and Recreation Mark Janks said.

The Sam Corey Senior Center ultimately saves on electric costs because of the geothermal heating and cooling system uses the earth’s heat as an essential component. Plant material on the roof helps keep the building cool and purifies the runoff during rains.

“The Sam Corey Senior Center is a game-changer for green initiatives in the community,” Janks said.

Programs engage the community

“Through implementation and education of the multiple programs for over a decade and the strong partnership between the township and Holt public schools,” has lead to the community becoming increasingly passionate about green initiative projects Diorka said.

Programs such as Scrappy and the Water Quality Awareness open house engage members of the community to actively be green and energy efficient. For many of these programs to be successful, the participation and education of the community is required. Over the past several years, the community has proven how passionate they are about these programs by being involved and being successful in green economic development and energy efficiency.

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