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    Tour the Lake Winds Energy Park at the 2012 Michigan Energy Fair

Tour the Lake Winds Energy Park at the 2012 Michigan Energy Fair

Every year the  Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association (GLREA) holds their annual Michigan Energy Fair (MEF). The Energy Fair takes place June 22-24, 2012 and it’s at a new location, the Mason County Fairgrounds in Ludington.

The location will allow the MEF to feature tours of Consumers Energy’s Lake Winds Energy Park that is currently under construction. This 100-megawatt installation will hold over 50 wind turbines, and the tour will give you a unique opportunity to see wind turbines as they are being constructed.

This is exactly the kind of opportunity to get up close and personal with the technology and people who are creating Michigan’s new energy economy that MEF offers. With a focus on Michigan’s energy future options and how Michigan’s businesses and families can save energy and money, the Energy Fair will feature over 50 workshops and 40 exhibitors of energy technologies and sustainable products for homes and businesses, including how to finance renewable energy projects.

For more information, please contact Samantha Keeney at Samantha.keeney@glrea.org or 517-646-6269 and get details at www.glrea.org. Also don’t miss this interview with John Sarver, Executive Director of the GLREA about the Michigan Energy Fair.

March Michigan Event Calendar

Our monthly calendar contains a selection of what’s cool to do in Michigan. If you have an event to share, please POST IT IN THE COMMENTS. We read them all and might add yours, but if you email us, we simply can’t add the event!

If your event is ticketed and you would like to give tickets away to promote it, please go to this page!

Approaching Spring by mayerdavid1978

Our Michigan event calendar for the month of March features all kinds of signs that spring is just around the corner with some cautious reminders that objects around the corner may be further off than they appear.


“March is a tomboy with tousled hair, a mischievous smile, mud on her shoes
and a laugh in her voice.” – Hal Borland

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” – Charles Dickens

“Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn.” – Lewis Grizzard

“Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.” – Doug Larson

“Spring is nature’s way of saying, Let’s party!” – Robin Williams

Fast Facts

March’s birthstone is Aquamarine and Bloodstone. They symbolize courage.

Its birth flower is the Narcissus.

March in the Southern Hemisphere is the seasonal equivalent of September in the Northern Hemisphere.

Daylight-Savings time occurs on March 13, 2010, at 2:00 AM – time to spring ahead!

Think spring! The vernal equinox occurs on March 20, 2011, at 11:21  PM EDT.

Lansing Home and Garden Show ~ March 17-20, 2011

Lansing Home & Garden ShowThe 2011 Lansing Home & Garden Show transforms the MSU Pavilion on the campus of Michigan State University with incredible gardens, extensive landscaping projects, a flower show, four free seminar stages and hundreds of exhibits featuring construction, remodeling, kitchens & baths, retail garden centers, pools and spas and home services. Seminar topics are wide-ranging and include the latest trends in energy efficiency, fix-it tips, interior design, cooking & grilling demonstrations and gardening maintenence and design. There are also a dozen demonstration gardens and workshops and activities designed for kids.

Admission is $8 for adults and $4 for kids (under 5 free) and Saturday is Kids Day – 14 & under get in FREE before noon. Discount coupons and more information are available online!

As you start thinking about home improvement & gardening this spring, don’t forget to check Absolute Michigan for great businesses specializing in furniture & appliances, home decor & interior design, home improvement & repair and landscaping & gardens from all over the state who can help you take your home to the next level!

Solar Explosion: Solar Energy in Michigan

Enrico Fermi 2 by daryl.larkin
Enrico Fermi 2 by daryl.larkin

Michigan Solar Solutions says that Michigan is Poised for ‘Solar Explosion’ in 2010:

According to company President Mark Hagerty, the year is shaping up to be “a perfect storm for solar” in the state.

“Many people think that solar won’t work in Michigan because it’s too cold and it doesn’t get as much sun as other places, but that’s misconstrued,” Hagerty said. “Michigan has an average of 4.2 hours of peak sunlight per day each year. Florida, the ‘Sunshine State’ only has about five hours. Solar panels are less efficient the hotter they get and actually produce more power when it gets cooler. While the Southwest may get more hours of sun, the panels produce less voltage per peak hour because of the heat.” He added that in 2008, his company’s solar panels produced 1.2 times the rated output at 10 degrees below zero.

One reason Hagerty says Michigan is the place for solar power in 2010: rising electricity prices and increasing state and federal incentives mean that renewable energy has never been cheaper.

Now you have to figure that a company called Michigan Solar Solutions is going to be pretty bullish on solar energy, but we did a little checking and found that Michigan is a lot better than you might think for sun power:

I’ll bet there’s a lot more solar energy info for Michigan out there – share it in the comments!

Flint’s Carriage Town makes a comeback

Electric Blues by Rudy Malmquist
The Mason House c 1872 in Carriage Town by mansardroofsf

The New York Times has taken note of an area in Flint called Carriage Town that is making a comeback due to some industrious and motivated homeowners. In the midst of an otherwise impoverished area and dire economic circumstances these people are taking advantage of real estate deals and restoring the beautiful old homes that make up the area. The article Faded Glory: Polishing Flint’s Jewels also notes that as people move in businesses follow and once again becomes a community.

In a city that is synonymous with faded American industrial and automotive power, Carriage Town’s success is both unexpected and inspiring. A persistent group of long-term urban homesteaders — along with newer arrivals eager to live near a downtown showing signs of life — has restored dozens of Victorian-era houses and buildings in the last 20 years. While many Flint neighborhoods feel all but abandoned, in Carriage Town home ownership has increased 10 percent over the last decade, according to Census data.

In a worldwide recession, development projects with more than $47 million in public and private financing are in progress or recently completed in the 30-square-block Carriage Town area, including the conversion of the derelict Berridge Hotel into lofts and the ongoing renovation of the long-vacant Durant Hotel into 93 apartments and commercial space. There are even plans for a neighborhood grocery store.

But there’s no denying that Carriage Town is a work in progress, and that those who call it home must deal with challenges like speculators, abandoned houses and lack of code enforcement by the cash-strapped city.

For more images of Flin’t Carriage Town check out this slideshow from Flickr…

When Ice Attacks: Saginaw Bay homes damaged

Weird Wednesday already? Nope. Huge piles of ice were pushed by NE winds into homes along Linwood Beach (just north of Bay City), forcing evacuations and causing damage. Linwood Beach residents return to find ice piled around, inside and atop their homes from the Bay City Times begins:

“I was making a grocery list in the kitchen and the next thing you know, we had this,” said Angie Hughes, nodding at the ice resting inside her kitchen.

“Once we saw the first two piles of ice coming over the seawall, we just ran,” Steve Hughes said Monday, returning to assess the damage. “I just remember hearing the kitchen window explode and the kitchen table getting thrown back.

“It was just incredible to see. It’s got to be about 50 tons of ice that came up here in less than a few minutes.”

It has some great photos from this latest ice incursion from Saginaw Bay and also from a similar incident in 1946 when Lake Huron ice devastated homes along the bay.

Change a Light, Change Michigan

Changing your incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) can do all that.

Starting October 1st these light bulbs will be available at an unbeatable price: 99 cents at participating Meijer, Kroger, and Menard’s stores, as well as seven Lansing-area and three Upper Peninsula Ace Hardware stores. At that price, these bulbs are sure to fly off the shelves.

Thanks to grants by the Michigan Public Service Commission to various organizations, these discounted light bulbs will get into the hands of more and more Michigan homeowners. That will mean lower bills for customers, reduced need for additional electric generation, and a cleaner environment.

Governor Granholm has gotten into the spirit, too, by declaring today “Change a Light Day.”

The folks at Energy Star are encouraging people to “change a light.” Be sure to take the pledge and visit their Web site. And remember to give the “State of Michigan” credit as the pledge drive-sponsoring organization. It’s a friendly competition that Energy Star hopes will generate more energy savings and enthusiasm.

2008 Michigan Energy Fair, June 27-29 in Manistee

Spinners 1 by n8xd
Spinners 1 by n8xd

The 3rd annual Michigan Energy Fair will be held June 27-29, 2008 at the Manistee County Fairgrounds in Onekama. Billed as “one of the most comprehensive expositions of renewable energy generating equipment, home and business energy efficiency techniques, and technical workshops in the state”.

The 2007 Michigan Energy Fair hosted over 4000 attendees who viewed the products and services of over 100 sponsors and exhibitors. Check out the video below in which fair organizer Jeremy Wittrock talks about the 2007 event

The Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association is bringing in several noted speakers including Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Dr. Richard Blieden, and David Konkle. Workshops will address topics including wind energy, green building, geothermal heating and cooling, home energy efficiency and energizing Michigan’s economy.

Michigan send $18 billion dollars to other states in energy costs. With activities for kids, food, music and a wide range of exhibitors, the Michigan Energy Fair is a great place to learn about how we can go about reversing this drain on our state’s economy.

Energy Fair Links

Recap of the 2007 Michigan Energy Fair

Recap of the 2006 Michigan Energy Fair

The Michigan land Use Institute reports on the 2007 Michigan Energy Fair (with video) and also on the 2006 Michigan Energy Fair.

Check Absolute Michigan keyword energy for a gigawatt more related links and articles.

Building Green in Michigan

grand rapids art museum by chadâ„¢

When the topic of ‘green building’ comes up many still think of images such as earthships, built from recycled materials including used tires. Although efficient and intelligently designed, they didn’t necessarily appeal to the maintstream home owner or developers. Today green buildings appear much like any other home or building. They are designed to save money, use energy and water efficiently, reduce waste and create over all healthier environments for living and working. Faced with increasing energy costs and the impact we place upon the environment the climate is ripe for the green building industry.

Perhaps surprisingly, Michigan is among the green building leaders in the nation – trailing only Oregon and California. As of April, 2007, 212 buildings in Michigan were registered or certified under LEED, placing Michigan in the top 10 states with registered green buildings. Within the state the west side is outpacing the east, with Grand Rapids out in front having the most LEED certified buildings.

Standing out is the newly built Grand Rapids Art Museum which recently received the distinction of being the world’s first Gold LEED certified art museum. More stories from The Chicago Tribune, New York Time, Architect and ARTnews can be found here. In Lansing, General Motors has built the only auto assembly plant in the world to receive LEED certification. General Motors’ new Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant has received a gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. The building is the only automotive manufacturing plant in the world — as well as the largest facility and the most complex manufacturing site — to ever receive any level of LEED certification. MSNBC covered this in 2006 in their feature GM builds a eco-friendly assembly plant – $1 million-a-year energy savings touted at unveiling

OK, time to grab the popcorn…

A video over at YouTube from Medialink titled “Buildings Are More Responsible For CO2 Emissions Than Cars” was produced for General Motors and is an interesting watch.

Even more below the fold…

Absolute Michigan Sponsor: Handy Connections

Handy ConnectionsHandy Connections is based in Rochester Hills, Michigan, and was founded by folks with experience in the construction industry to help Michigan residents locate quality service professionals for any home repair or remodeling project.

Their service is free, and after getting some information about your project, they will work to match you with a plumber, electrician, roofer, painter or any other home service professional you’re seeking. They research companies licensing and insurance, financial and legal background, customer references, and pricing – taking a lot of the hassle out of finding a contractor.

At the core of their service is Handy’s Rating, an unbiased rating system under which service professionals can not pay a premium fee to increase their listing rank, rating or which type of jobs they receive.

If your businesses or organization would like to help to support what we do on Absolute Michigan (and reach an audience that loves Michigan), please consider Absolute Michigan sponsorship!