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Examples of the Office’s current work, which is being conducted in partnership with more than 12 City agencies and 17 external partners include: 

Food Policy

Food Policy presents numerous opportunities to improve access to healty, affordable, local food for all Detroiters, and provide jobs in the local food economy.
The Office of Sustainability is working in coordination with other departments to:

  • Train more Detroiters to be able to benefit from the burgeoning local food economy
  • Coordinate a broad array of City efforts including direct food provision, nutrition education, healthy food purchasing, and communication of licensing requirements for food businesses
  • Support community-led initiatives, including healthy food access programs, urban farming and others
  • Analyze data to diagnose root causes of problems, surface opportunities, and develop targeted strategies

Green Stormwater Infrastructure

The use and promotion of Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) can help reduce surface flooding, basement backups, and untreated combined sewer overflow discharges into the Detroit and Rouge Rivers and provide critical open spaces and amenities for neighborhoods. Green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) diverts runoff of rain and snowmelt from the sewer system while providing environmental, social, and economic benefits. GSI helps control the rate, volume and quality of drainage from impervious surfaces, such as streets, rooftops, and parking lots. It helps to maintain and restore natural hydrology by infiltrating, evapotranspiring, capturing, or using stormwater. GSI replicates the natural systems that occur at a variety of scales, from single lot to neighborhood to watershed. Common practices at a single lot scale can include rain gardens, bioswales, permeable pavement, infiltration systems and water reuse systems. Larger scale practices can include such amenities as ponds and wetlands. The Office of Sustainability is working in coordination with other departments to:

  • Promote and coordinate both large-scale and pilot GSI projects on City-owned and private properties
  • Provide GSI training for local contractors and landscapers
  • Explore district scale GSI projects and financing mechanisms
  • Examine codes and policies that conflict with the goals of infiltrating water naturally
  • Coordinate large scale green infrastructure projects on City owned properties

Buildings and Energy

The City spends tens of millions of dollars annually on energy-related costs. Reducing energy usages in municipal buildings reduce energy costs, increase energy efficiency, decrease air pollution, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Office of Sustainability is coordinating the following projects to advance this priority initiative:

  • Analyze data for energy and water usage at all municipal buildings and across all departments
  • Complete energy audits on 70 City buildings and facilities by Spring 2018
  • Establish an Energy Manager Position and Energy Team at the City
  • Develop an investment strategy for City buildings to save energy and money through retrofits
  • Require green building criteria for all City building projects to create more energy efficient and healthy buildings
  • Incorporate more Hybrid Electric vehicles for the city fleet

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