The city of Seven Hills is planning a major renovation project for most of its municipal buildings, using green strategies to reduce energy costs. Other Cuyahoga County municipalities may follow. ideastream’s Joanna Richards reports.
The City Hall’s roof will reflect sunlight to double-sided solar panels. And a new humidity control system will extend the natatorium’s lifespan. LED lighting will reduce electricity use.
Seven Hills expects a 15 percent return on its $2 million investment. And Mayor Richard Dell’Aquila said he’s proud to reduce the city’s environmental impact, too.
"We’re very pleased to serve as a model in a very small way for some of the things that can be done by larger entities besides little Seven Hills," he said.
The project brings together local government, private business and the nonprofit Emerald Cities Collaborative, which advocates for green municipal building projects. The idea is to target a lot of goals at once: protect the environment, improve infrastructure, reduce government waste, and boost green jobs in disadvantaged communities.
The project in Seven Hills is a follow-up to a federal stimulus program a few years ago. Cuyahoga County funneled federal money to 53 municipalities to study their energy use and look for ways to conserve. Denise Fairchild heads the Emerald Cities group.
"They had done all of these energy audits, but didn’t have the resources to actually do the retrofit work," she said.
Fairchild said the collaboration helps municipalities get the work done, with technical and financing assistance.
Construction in Seven Hills should start in July. Players in that project say another Cuyahoga municipality is next in line. They hope to do similar projects throughout the county.