Jul
1

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Now hiring: Program manager for our green building

Arenes green architectureThe Institute for Healthy Air Water and Soil is working on an architecture project to create an example of a healthier approach to urban architecture. Our vision is to create a collaborative space that is a living example and global reference of a healthy environment and healthy humans.
The building effort needs an program manager to guide its development and growth and to share the story of the work we are doing in this space. The right person for this job will be creative, collaborative, friendly and curious. To succeed at this job, an individual needs to be:

  • Comfortable with an entrepreneurial approach to work
  • Organized and flexible
  • Skilled in project management
  • Comfortable functioning in a relationship management or business development capacity
  • Able to translate a vision into a to-do list
  • Communicate well in person and via email

This role will have three major components:
Project management

  • Work with the building designer and real estate agents to keep the building plan moving forward
  • Document meetings and coordinate follow up tasks with the building team
  • Write and share monthly progress reports
  • Manage business operations for the Institute to ensure this work aligns with the overall mission of the Institute

Partnership Development

  • Be an ambassador for the vision of the project with journalists and researchers
  • Identify and negotiate with strategic partners who are a fit with our Healthy Building

Communications

  • Contribute posts to the Institute’s blog to document the building’s progress
  • Work with building partners to develop effective and compelling stories about the work
  • Develop educational materials that describe this innovative approach to architecture

This job is a full-time position. An educational background in the natural/life sciences is desirable. Salary will match an individual’s experience level. Contact me with your resume and two reasons why you are perfect for this job. The position starts in August.

Image from flickr user Romain Pittet

Jun
10

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Ozone spiked to red levels in Louisville on Friday afternoon

This snapshot of air quality at 3 pm on Friday, June 10 shows the varying levels of ozone around our watershed.

This snapshot of air quality at 3 pm on Friday, June 10 shows the varying levels of ozone around our watershed.

The Air Pollution Control District issued a warning yesterday that we would have a bad air day today. The forecast showed high levels of ozone and the warnings were on target.

Ozone levels started rising into the orange zone around noon. As of 3 pm, the ozone levels were highest at the Cannons Lane monitor. The forecast said that the ozone levels would be in the orange zone. The levels briefly reached red levels, which is bad for everyone.AQI_colorcode

The 3 pm hourly reading showed ozone levels tipped briefly into the red zone.

The 3 pm hourly reading showed ozone levels tipped briefly into the red zone.

The Air Now web site listed the Air Quality Index at 158 – the red zone – at 4 pm Friday.

AirNow.gov showed the air quality index at 158 at 4 pm Friday afternoon for Louisville

AirNow.gov showed the air quality index at 158 at 4 pm Friday afternoon for Louisville

The image below shows ozone levels at 2 pm. At that time, monitors in the southwest corner of our city were showing ozone levels in the yellow zone. The image at the top of the page shows how ozone levels rose over the course of the afternoon.

June 10_AirMap3pm

The APCD forecast for bad air included Saturday and Sunday as well. Babies, older adults, people with breathing problems like COPD or asthma, and anyone who has heart disease should stay inside this weekend. High ozone can be dangerous for anyone who has breathing problems, and red levels (an AQI over 150) are bad for everyone. We should postpone picnics and exercise at the gym instead of the park if ozone levels stay high over the weekend.

You can visit AirNow.gov to check current conditions.

Jun
6

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Institute partners with Catholic school to test the power of plants

The top image shows the front yard of St. Margaret Mary Catholic School on Shelbyville Road. The second image illustrates a proposed planting that would test how well trees and plants can filter pollution.

The top image shows the front yard of St. Margaret Mary Catholic School on Shelbyville Road. The second image illustrates a proposed planting that would test how well trees and plants can filter pollution.

A local school has joined a landmark university health research project designed to use nature to tackle the health impact of busy city streets.

St. Margaret Mary School, 7813 Shelbyville Road, is the new site of an experiment designed to use trees and shrubs to create a living filter for roadway air pollution. The project will be a model for metro-wide “greening” projects that use our environment to improve health.

The Louisville Green for Good project is a collaboration among the Diabetes and Obesity Center at the University of Louisville, The Institute for Healthy Air Water and Soil and the City of Louisville’s Office of Sustainability.

The current levels of air pollution at the school will be measured and then half of the school’s front yard will be filled with a green buffer of shrubs, deciduous trees and pines. Then the team will measure air pollution levels a second time. The goal is to test the idea that a greener neighborhood is a healthier neighborhood.

“This project has the potential to improve the health of nearby students and residents for years to come by improving local air quality,” said Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., the Smith and Lucille Gibson Chair in Medicine and director of the University of Louisville Diabetes and Obesity Center. “St. Margaret Mary was chosen due to its location which is close to a high traffic roadway. The school also includes a spacious lawn that allows for the addition of foliage, which will act as an air-cleansing barrier between the school and the street.”

Mayor Greg Fischer said, “I am committed to helping Louisville become a greener and healthier place to live – and, I’m a data guy. So I’m excited that this project will provide the data we need to move forward on our sustainability goals for the city.”

St. Margaret Mary Principal Wendy Sims said she is excited about this project for the parish, school and community.

“In his encyclical letter ‘Laudato Si’,’ Our Holy Father Pope Francis reminds us that ‘we must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and for the world, and that being good and decent are worth it…social love moves us to devise larger strategies to halt environmental degradation and to encourage a “culture of care” which permeates all of society’,” Sims said. “This project is a wonderful lesson for our students, faculty, and parents about how to foster such a culture of care, now and for future generations.”

Air monitoring will start this summer. The trees and shrubs will arrive in October with a second round of air monitoring taking place later this year. Students will participate in the monitoring work.

In addition to tracking certain pollutants, the project team will collect data on traffic and weather.

The project includes ecology experts from around the country with deep understanding of air pollution and the power of plants.

Funding comes from the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities.

The research effort is a project of the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities. The grant was matched with $50,000 from the Owsley Brown Charitable Foundation and $25,000 from an anonymous donor in Louisville. The Institute for Healthy Air, Water, and Soil received the funds and will be managing the project.

This overhead view of St. Margaret Mary shows the planting that would fill in half of the school's front yard.

This overhead view of St. Margaret Mary shows the planting that would fill in half of the school’s front yard.


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