A Green Energy Village in Detroit Eastern Market: Establishing a Strategy for Scalability and Integrated Assessment

Summary: 

Graham Catalyst Grant - Graham Sustainability Institute supports a range of short-term, small-scale collaborative activities. These grants are intended to help better define an issue or decision maker needs, gather resources and develop partnerships, and determine next steps.

This catalyst project will bring together an interdisciplinary team of researchers from UM-Dearborn and UM-Ann Arbor to develop strategies for 1) establishing a scalable proof of concept and 2) evaluating the potential energy output, environmental impact, and socioeconomic benefits of a Green Energy Village (GEV) demonstration project to be constructed within the Eastern Market District in Detroit.

In 2016, CAN Arts Handworks (CAH), directed by master metalworker Carlos Nielbock, received a Knight Arts Challenge Grant for their Wind Turbine Project, with Eastern Market Corporation (EMC) as a partner. This high-profile public project involves the installation of two unique hand-built windmills within the Eastern Market District, one adjacent to the Dequindre Cut entrance, and the other on the plaza outside of Shed 5. These highly flexible windmill designs, fashioned from used truck axles, satellite dishes and other found objects and materials through a process called ‘up-cycling’, will have several functions: one will power wireless internet servers and charging stations for public use in the Market, and the other will be used to irrigate urban agriculture at the former Greening site.

CAH and EMC plan to expand this concept into a larger demonstration project, tentatively called the Green Energy Village (GEV). In addition to establishing an interdisciplinary working partnership, this project will set a timeline and goals for scaling-up the existing windmill designs into the GEV, assisting community partners in the process of defining key challenges, and projecting long-term impacts for surrounding resource-stressed communities in terms of sustainable energy, environment and jobs.

Project Team also includes:

Dan Carmody - Eastern Market Corporation
Lydia Levinson - Eastern Market Corporation
Carlos Nielbock - CAN Art Handworks
Janai Gilmore- CAN Art Handworks

Sponsor: 
University of Michigan - Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute