March 16, 2017, Green Task Force Meeting Minutes

Opening introductions were given throughout the room.

Greg McPartlin, Parjana Distribution
about 5 years old, Michigan based company
Explains the name Parjana – Hindu mythical god of water
Chinese President stated – “We’ll never build enough infrastructure to manage the heavens.”

Decentralized storm water management is the new innovation that treats water as an asset. Parjana’s product has the potential to drastically reduce expensive storm water bills. Powerpoint shows how modern society has altered and damaged nature’s ability to manage water. With so much land covered by non-permeable buildings and pavement, water has nowhere to go. Thus, we experience worse flooding and surface water pollution as a result. However, using bio-mimicry (the study of nature and how it solves problems or limitations), the inventor created an artificial tree root, which is Parjana’s product.

Lawrence Tech and Michigan State have research projects using and testing Parjana’s product, with successful results. Regarding the disruptive nature of this technology, Greg says “[there are] people who love us and people who hate us.”  It saves money keeping the water in the natural system with this product. By acting as an elevator shaft for water to infiltrate and be absorbed into the ground, this product helps increase the capacity of rain gardens and other natural habitats to withhold and filter water FOR us, rather than spending large amounts of money and energy on infrastructure to manage and clean storm-water ourselves.

This product helps drastically reduce storm water fees, malaria and other surface-water born diseases, drowning/flooding, and other problems.

City of Detroit is left with the storm-water bill for Belle Isle. One third of the park’s budget is for storm water management; 6 million. A full storm water plant for combined system overflow on site at the park would cost $40 million. Using Parjana’s product could rid the city of the water bill in one year. The pilot project on Belle Isle after 3 years has proven the technology. Shows slide of island where 4.5 inches of rain was irradiated through product implementation. System therefore pays for itself and is creating jobs.
Central High School – $14,000 monthly storm-water bill disappearing. Partnering with Carla Walker Miller to rebuild community and jobs. Providing product to schools and churches is the strategy. Parjana is starting new projects all the time. Organizations are funding the church projects.

Where do you place them with parking lots? — City of Southfield and Lawrence tech test project – 20×20 hole next to parking lot filled with hadite, surrounded by EGRP, and covered with porous pavers. Result — this product makes other management systems like porous pavement and pavers much more efficient.

Basic Product Details and Costs
This product is made of polymers that don’t leach any harmful chemicals into the ground or water. Product is anticipated to function for 125 years. If you need to bring it up, there is a sensor to find it. Placed 2 feet under the ground.
Cost to homeowners – $1,500 – $50,000; average $2,000 – $10,000
Costs for public spaces and non-profits – no final definition of the bar and what the measured costs will be. Greg believes that there will be enough interest from organizations that are willing to fund and develop an offset agreement for cost lending.
DWSD is stating but has not confirmed an 80% reduction in fee on projects; it is however, on a case by case basis. Still in process of getting a working agreement together for future projects.

Earth Day celebration update – Kerwin

Green Task Force sponsored Earth Day Celebration!
April 22, 2017
10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Free brunch will be served
Location UAW Ford Building, 151 West Jefferson,
Free to the public
RSVP through Eventbrite
Awards going out to organizations and communities – looking for nominations
Event is currently in the planning stages
Looking for 260 people to attend
Invitations going out – get information from gentleman in the back – Al
Detroiters for Environmental  Justice
Looking for MC for the event
Looking for Media Coverage for the event
Green For Life is Corporate Sponsor
Media Sponsor now


Subcommittee Updates

Rural Energy Subcommittee:
Talking about community solar at the next meeting

Recycling Subcommittee:
First meeting was last month feb 27th. well attended with 18 people.

Plans in the works to establish a composting subcommittee

For the good of the group…

Bike to work day: May 19th. Multiple ways to participate. Group rides are scheduled. Converge at Wayne State and city hall. Need to register. Bike valet at city hall. For more info visit and see the events page. Currently looking for sponsors and volunteers.

Looking at Greenhouse gas ordinance:
City officially looking at the ordinance to reduce city of Detroit’s carbon footprint by 80% by the year 2050. This is the ordinance portion of the full climate action plan. This is primarily done by facility and fleet changes. Goal set for approval in August of this year.

Tour of the Coleman Young Building showed they are doing many things to recycle – cardboard, confidential shred is being recycled, facility lighting, heating an cooling changes. Property manager uses national standards for greening buildings, looking for set-up standards for all municipal facilities.

Kerwin spoke to Brad Digg (?), gen. manager of the service department states it may be a challenge, but to continue to find easy solutions and changing the mind-set. Create a priority and it will be easier.
It ties into the sustainability office strategically. Believes it is a cultural and a cost factor.

Kathy from a waste management states point about capturing the true value of recycling, that all buildings should do an audit of their waste to make sure they aren’t paying for air.