For questions on recycling, please visit the SOCRRA website.
ReGreening Your House
The U. S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the American Society of
Interior Designers (ASID) have teamed up to create the REGREEN program.
While every home will require special attention, this list is intended
to prioritize the goals. Care should be taken upon initial inspection to
identify critical areas of need. The Building System and Indoor
Environmental Quality are primary areas of concern. Conservation of
energy and water are also critical. Lastly, functionality and aesthetics
should also be considered.
The following is a suggested guideline for the rehabilitation of
residential structures in Ferndale. On a case-by-case basis, the
following may apply:
- Install low-water-use kitchen faucet (WE41)
- Replace toilets with high-efficiency toilets (WE42)
- Install low-water-use shower heads (WE43)
- Install water-conserving faucet aerator (WE44)
- Choose high-efficiency water heater (EA79)
- Insulate hot water heater (EA80)
- Insulate hot water pipes (EA81)
- Set water temperature no higher than necessary (EA82)
- Install CO and smoke alarms (IEQ164)
- Install bath ventilation (IEQ167)
- Install ceiling fans (EA76)
- Install energy-efficient electric lighting (EA85)
- Install programmable thermostats (EA67)
- Properly seal and insulate HVAC distribution system (EA70)
- Make sure ducting is clean (EA71)
- Minimize dryer duct length and number of turns (EA73)
- Replace appliances with energy efficient models (EA93)
- Install attic insulation (EA49) Use high-recycled-content,
formaldehyde-free insulation (MR117)
- Insulate rim joists and bond (EA55)
- Upgrade existing windows (EA56)
- Upgrade existing exterior doors (EA57)
- Weather-strip doors and windows (EA58)
- Install awnings or other exterior window shading systems (EA62)
- Design landscape features to minimize heat effects (IDP 17) Make
use of trees and landscaping to reduce cooling loads (SS30)
- Design to minimize outdoor water use (IDP 18)
- Provide rainwater collection system (WE40)
- When possible, use FSC-certified wood (MR118)
- Use low or zero VOC construction adhesives, caulking and sealant
- Use existing or refurbished materials, products that are recycled
or have recycled content and low or no VOC content items.
For complete information and many more suggestions, see the ASID and
USGBC REGREEN Residential Remodeling Guidelines Second Edition at
Also go to REMrate or
TREAT for an energy calculator.
The Ferndale Environmental Sustainability Commission’s Green Tuesday
Seminar Series is aimed at providing local residents with the
information they need to become better stewards of the environment. The
seminars are held the second Tuesday of the month at the Kulick
Community Center in Ferndale (1201 Livernois) from 6:30pm-8:00pm. The
seminars are FREE and open to public (you need not be a Ferndale
resident to attend).
Snow Melt and Water Quality, Tips for Protecting our Water
When snow melts, stormwater, which is water that doesn’t soak into the ground
or other porous surfaces, is carried UNTREATED from your storm drain to nearby
lakes, rivers and streams. The presence of chemicals and other pollutants like
fertilizers, pesticides, and fluids from your car that are found on your yard,
driveway etc. are carried in the stormwater to nearby water bodies where they
impact the water quality and the wildlife that depends on it.
In order to be a good steward of our lakes, rivers and streams as the snow
begins to melt and springtime approaches, residents should take the following
tips into consideration:
- Make sure ALL pet waste is picked up and discarded properly and in a
- Make sure all storm drains are cleared of leaves, trash and other matter.
- Pick-up the area around your home and make sure all debris is discarded
responsibly, recycled or composted.
- Direct gutter spouts away from paved areas.
- Sweep up any extra salt that is still on your sidewalk, driveway, etc.
- Properly and cautiously clean-up and dispose of any spilled chemicals or
- Fill a rain barrel or garbage can with snow and use the melted snow to
water house plants. (You can also fill smaller containers like a bucket or
watering can with snow and bring it inside for watering house plants.)
- Check your car for any fluid leaks, and make necessary repairs.
- Wash your car at a car wash or on your lawn instead of in your driveway.
- If you fertilize your yard, please make sure to use phosphorous free
- NEVER pour anything down a storm drain. It’s illegal!
For more information please contact the Ferndale Department of Public Works
or visit the Clinton River Watershed website to read about what you can do to
manage stormwater on your property and protect water quality all year round.
August - How to Go Back to School Green
Make a list of what you need. You may have
items left over from last year that you can still use.
When looking for backpacks, folders,
notebooks and writing utensils, choose ones that are made of
recycled and non-PVC materials. Also choose to support companies
that are committed to stopping climate change through their business
practices. Before you buy, you can check out each company’s
Purchase refillable pens and pencils to
Look for the Forest Stewardship Council or
FSC label on pencils and paper products. The Forest Stewardship
Council certifies wood and paper products grown in forests that are
As with all purchases, choose products
with the least amount of packaging and avoid plastics if possible.
Print on both sides of paper and recycle
it when you are through using it.
Pack lunches in reusable lunchboxes and
use reusable sandwich bags. New companies on the internet are
offering cool alternatives to disposable products. Check out
which sells stainless steel lunchboxes with molded compartments for
food and customizable magnets for the outside. Or try
which carries several brands of stylish, and conveniently designed
reusable lunch products for all ages. Remember to pack your reusable
lunchboxes with organic foods.
Don’t buy plastic bottled water. There are
many different styles of reusable bottles that are very handy
including designs that can clip to book bags or that fit in or with
the reusable boxes.
If you are upgrading your computers or
cell phones for the school year, recycle your old models. You can
drop off old electronics at retail stores that recycle, like Best
Buy or at SOCRRA with an appointment. You may also want to consider
extending the useful life of your electronics by donating them to
organizations that will refurbish them for people and charities that
Walk, ride your bike, or carpool to
To get more information on Going Back to
School Green, attend our next Green Tuesday on September 14th at 6:30pm
at the Kulick Center. Green Tips are also posted at
in the Public Forum. Finally, you can join the FESC Facebook group to
get reminders and information on all upcoming events.
Make Your Own Compost
Healthy soils have at least 5% organic
content. If your soil is healthy, everything in your yard grows better.
Your vegetable will yield more, your flowers will bloom more vigorously,
and your trees and grass will look better. By adding compost, you won’t
have to spend your money on commercial fertilizers that are harmful to
the environment. You will reduce watering and help absorb storm water
runoff because compost retains more water. You will also help recycle
some of your yard wastes keeping them out of landfills and our public
yard waste system. Here are some simple steps to make your own compost:
Choose a container style. Square compost
bins occupy a corner of your yard, are easy to make, and can be any
size. Tumbler-style composts bins have a closed compartment
suspended on a frame. They have the advantage of being easily turned
and relocated but are slightly more complicated to build. Worm
composts are the best for composting food wastes but are usually
smaller than square or tumbler composts. For designs and
how-to videos. Containers can also be purchased at retail stores
like the Green Thumb Garden Center on Woodward Ave in Ferndale or at
the Department of Public Works at 521 E. Cambourne.
Fill your bin with the right kinds of
organic matter. Square and tumbler bins need both green matter, like
grass clippings, and brown matter, like leaves and twigs. It is a
good idea to chop these up with a lawnmower because the smaller the
pieces, the faster the microorganisms can eat them. You can add
other things like hedge trimmings, pine needles, straw, sawdust,
coffee grounds, tea bags, garden waste, and small amounts of fruit
and vegetable peelings. Be sure to bury your kitchen wastes in the
pile to avoid pests and odors. Do not add dairy products, fats,
cooked food, meats, or manure.
Add compost. Add a small amount of
finished compost to your pile in order to introduce the beneficial
Water regularly. If the pile dries out,
the composting process slows down. Collect rainwater in barrels to
use for watering your compost.
Turn your pile often. Composting properly
creates bacteria that need air. They break down matter quickly and
without creating smelly odors. If the pile compresses and loses its
internal air pockets, the good bacterial will die. It will be
replaced by slow-working bacteria that create slimy compost and
To get more information on composting check
out the Lawn & Garden videos on the Southeastern Oakland County Water
Authority website at
socwa.org. Free finished compost is available at the Southwest
Storage Yard located off Central and West Marshall behind Ferndale High
School every Saturday in May, 8:00am to 12:00pm and at the DPW Yard
during regular business hours.
April Green Tip: Green Spring Cleaning
- Use non-toxic, biodegradable, cleaners and detergents made from renewable resources. Many conventional cleaners are made from petroleum products that have harmful heath effects. But don't dump your toxic cleaners down the drain. Call SOCRRA's Special Household Waste Hotline for a disposal appointment @ (248) 288-5153.
- Open your windows while you clean. Fresh air circulation will help remove toxins produced from cleaning products, paints, furniture, and synthetic materials that pollute indoor air. House plants such as peace lilies, gerbera daisies, and English ivy are among the best plants for producing oxygen and absorbing formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and benzene. For a 2000 sq. Ft. house, NASA recommends 15-18 plants.
- Don't use commercial air fresheners. Sprinkle baking soda on carpets before vacuuming to absorb odors. Place herbs, citrus peels, fruits, or cinnamon sticks in a ceramic burner with water and teaspoon of vegetable oil to make a natural air freshener.
- Make your own household cleaners from ingredients like white vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice. You can find easy recipes online to replace any conventional cleaning product.
March Green Tip
- Consider purchasing a rain barrel: One ¼ inch of rain is enough to
fill a 55 gallon drum (approximately 1000 square feet of roof space).
Rain barrels reduce demand on the municipal water supply. They reduce
storm drain runoff, which at a minimum, reduces the energy needed to
treat storm and waste water.
- Statistics vary but typically a gas powered lawn mower emits as
much pollution per hour as 40 cars.
- Yard waste, specifically grass clippings, make-up 20% of municipal
solid waste collected and most of it ends up in our landfills.
Mulching or composting this waste is a must.
- Use household newspaper, cardboard and office paper before using
mulch. Place up to 10 sheets overlapping then water it down. No need
to cut grass first. Lay mulch over the paper barrier and you will
enjoy a weed free prepped surface good for planting and landscaping.
- Reduce your lawn size. The benefits of lawn reduction:
- Save time on mowing using less fuel and emitting less pollution
- By adding native, drought resistant plants you will promote a
habitat for wildlife
- You will conserve water
The FEIC encourages all Ferndale residents to stop using single use
plastic bags for shopping. Instead bring along a canvas bag for your
The EPA estimates that each year 500billion to 1 trillion plastic
bags are used and less than 1% are recycled. When plastic bags are
thrown away, as they break down in the land fill, they release toxic
poisons that contaminate our soil and waterways. This harms the fish,
birds and animals in our local lakes, streams and rivers.
Not only that, but who is tired of seeing plastic bags fly all over the
Many countries and American cities have already banned these bags, or
are in the process of doing so. Ann Arbor is working on being the first
city in Michigan to ban plastic bags. At this time, Ferndale does not
have a plastic bag-ban, so it is our civic duty as citizens to take the
initiative to begin using cloth or canvas bags and to encourage our
local leaders to take a stand on this issue.
Benefits of biking to work instead of driving a car:
- Save money- a bike is cheaper than a car: no car payment, no
insurance; and at $4 a gallon, you’ll save a bundle every month just
- Better for your health- Commuting by bike reduces pollution that
causes asthma and bronchitis. A commuting cyclist is also less exposed
to air pollution than a commuting motorist. Also, cycling exercises
the heart better than walking without the pounding of jogging.
- Better for the environment- it helps reduce your carbon footprint
and helps others as much as it helps you! Bicycling adds NO emissions
to the environment.
- It’s Fun!- Join the Sierra Club August 9th at the annual Green
Cruise where you can Join the Parade • Wear Green • Dress Up in
Costumes • Decorate Your Bike • Be Creative! The Sierra Club organizes
the Green Cruise to celebrate green forms of transportation, and
provide information on what you can do to be greener.
Stormwater Protection Tip
The water that enter your storm drain flows untreated to your
nearby lakes, rivers and streams carrying with it oil and chemicals from
roads, fertilizers and pet waste from your lawn and a whole variety of
other debris and contaminants.
Here are a few of tips to help protect our lakes, rivers and streams:
- Never dump motor oil, chemicals, pet waste, dirty or soapy water
or anything else down a storm drain.
- Promptly dispose of your pet's waste in the trash or down the
toilet where it will be properly treated.
- Sweep excess fertilizer, grass clippings and dirt back onto your
- Choose a fertilizer with low or no phosphorous and that is a slow
- Water wisely. Your lawn needs about an inch of water a week.
Water your lawn in the early morning or evening.
- Adjust your sprinklers to water only your lawn and plants, NOT
your driveway, sidewalk, or street.
For more information visit:
Healthy Yard Tip
A healthy, low maintenance, pesticide free yard is good for your
family and the community. Fertilizers can contain dangerous
chemicals that aren't good for our kids, our pets or our water.
Find out what your yard really needs by testing your
soil. For $9 you can collect a soil sample and send it to your
local MSU Extension office and they will let you know what nutrients
your soil is lacking, for more information, visit the
MSU Extension Soil Pages for Consumers.
If you are going to use a fertilizer, make sure that
it is organic and that it doesn't contain phosphorous. Phosphorous can
wash off your yard and create harmful algae blooms on nearby lakes,
rivers and streams. Phosphorous free lawn fertilizers can be
purchased locally at the Ace Hardware on W. 9 Mile.
Plant native plants. Native plants are
beautiful, low maintenance and require very little watering. For
information on what plants are native to the area and where you can
purchase them, check out the Wildflower Association of
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb Tip
Why You Should Replace Your Light Bulbs with Compact Fluorescents
- If every one of 110 million American households bought just one
compact fluorescent bulb, took it home, and screwed it in the place of
an ordinary 60-watt bulb, the energy saved would be enough to power a
city of 1.5 million people.
- Compact fluorescents emit the same light as classic incandescents
but use 75% or 80% less electricity.
- A $3 swirl pays for itself in lower electric bills in about five
- Compact fluorescents, even in heavy use, last 5, 7, 10 years.
- The single greatest source of greenhouse gases in the United
States is power plants–half our electricity comes from coal plants.
One bulb swapped out: enough electricity saved to turn off two entire
power plants–or skip building the next two.
- In terms of oil not burned, or greenhouse gases not exhausted into
the atmosphere, one bulb is equivalent to taking 1.3 million cars off
- Sierra Club is offering these bulbs free of charge to encourage
their usage! Contact Tiffany at the Sierra Club Office: (248)
549-6213 for details.
Recycling not only benefits our environment by reusing resources and
saving energy, but recycling also benefits you and your community by
providing a rebate for every ton of recyclables. And recycling is as
easy as 1, 2, 3...
- Start by getting a bin. You can pick up a bin for $10 at the
Department of Public Works located at 521 E. Cambourne. For more
information call (248) 546-2519
- When you pick up your bin pick up a pamphlet about what you can
recycle. And for more information visit SOCRRA's website.
- Set-out your bin on collection day. Recycling is collected on the
same day your trash is collected.
You can also drop of materials at SOCRRA's recycling drop-off center
at 995 Coolidge in Troy, across from Meijer. They will take all of the
things that you can recycle at the curb and MORE! For FREE!
For additional information,
email the Ferndale
Environmental Impact Commission.
DTE's Green Currents Renewable Energy Option
The objectives of the program are to:
- Promote independence from fossil fuels.
- Promote human health and sustainability by reducing air pollution.
- Create jobs through a local energy economy.
Customers can select a renewable energy option that best fits their
For $2.50 a month in addition to normal charges, residential customers
can purchase a 100 kilowatt hour block of renewable energy that's equal
to 15-20 percent of a typical home's monthly electric usage. You can
purchase up to 10 blocks per month.
Residential customers can also choose to match 100 percent of their
home's electricity consumption with renewable resources for an
additional cost of 2 cents per kilowatt hour, $10 to $15 per month for a
typical household. The green currents portion of my bill has ranged
from $6-8 per month.
Business customers can purchase 1,000 kilowatt hour blocks of green
energy for $20 a month -- or match all of their electricity usage with
renewable power for an additional cost of two cents per kilowatt hour.
Interested parties can get more information or enroll at
www.greencurrents.com or (866) 207-6955
Comments are welcomed.
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The City of Ferndale, Michigan
300 East Nine Mile Road
Ferndale, Michigan 48220
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