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Welcome to another edition of the EAC Action News, a publication of the Ecology Action Center, a central resource for environmental education, information, and outreach in McLean County. This newsletter serves as a resource for YOU. If you have questions that you need answered or suggestions for content, please let us know!


Wind-powered energy is available NOW to Ameren customers

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By Carl Roberts, EAC Volunteer                                                                 

Windmills are popping up all around McLean County faster than dandelions. As you drive through the area, you see large clusters of churning windmills along the horizon. Do you ever wonder when you will be able to power your own home with environmentally friendly, affordable energy generated by those windmills?

 

Wind power has come to McLean County

 

You will not have to wait for some future day of flying cars and snow-shoveling robots to take advantage of wind-generated power. 100% wind-powered, renewable energy is available today from Blue Star Energy1 for customers of Ameren Illinois.2 The energy from windmills has come down in cost to be competitive with traditional, coal-powered energy.

 

Corn Belt Energy3 is an electric cooperative, where the customers are members and owners. Energy from Blue Star or other third-party power providers is not available to members of Corn Belt or other electric cooperatives. An article about Corn Belt’s green energy and energy-conservation programs will appear in May’s electronic EAC Action News.4

 

Blue Star provides windmill power & Ameren delivers it

 

Ameren Illinois customers can select electricity from Ameren’s normal power source or from a number of alternative suppliers like Blue Star Energy. Ameren is indifferent about where the power comes from. Power companies like Ameren Illinois are somewhat similar to delivery companies like FedEx or UPS. They do not make the electricity; they just deliver it to your home or business. 

 

Customers choosing Blue Star Energy receive a bill from Blue Star which includes the price for the electricity and the price for the delivery. Blue Star then passes the delivery portion of the payment on to Ameren. The customer pays the same amount for Ameren’s delivery regardless of which power source they use. If there is a disruption in the delivery of electricity – such as a downed power line during a winter storm – the same Ameren crew will restore your power, regardless of which power source you chose.

 

Endorsement from a windmill-power customer

 

“The quickest and easiest way to immediately cut a home’s CO2 footprint by 50% to 75% is to stop buying dirty, coal-fired electricity and purchase wind power instead,” said Blue Star Energy customer William C. Rau, retired associate professor of sociology at Illinois State University. “A move to renewable energy reduces not only CO2 emissions, but also the release of mercury, arsenic, sulfur and radioactive elements contained in coal.”

 

“You used to have to choose between cheap, coal energy or expensive, green energy.” Rau said. “Now you can get green energy that is cheap.” Rau’s comparison of a Blue Star windmill-energy bill with an Ameren bill showed that there was not a significant difference in the cost. In fact, the windmill energy was slightly less expensive than traditional energy.

 

“We should be able to have 40% of electricity come from renewable energy (wind/solar) by the year 2030,” Rau said. “They will be able to store unused wind power in batteries at night and draw from it during peak-demand periods and when the wind is not blowing.”

 

 

Footnotes

1.    http://www.bluestarenergy.com/

2.    http://www.ameren.com/sites/aiu/Pages/Home.aspx

3.    http://www.cornbeltenergy.com/

4.    http://ecologyactioncenter.org/

 


Volunteers needed for MEGA Recycling at the Illinois Sustainable Living and Wellness Expo

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The Illinois Sustainable Living and Wellness Expo will be hosted by Illinois Wesleyan University Wellness and the Ecology Action Center on Saturday, April 14th from 9 am to 4 pm at the IWU Shirk Center.  

This year's Expo will include a "MEGA Recycling Event" outside in the Shirk Center parking lot. Everything from electronics and CFLs to plastic garden pots and clothing will be accepted for recycling.  We need volunteers to help unload and transfer the recyclables from incoming cars.  

Help is needed throughout the day for specific shifts.  SIGN UP TO VOLUNTEER HERE.
 
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Retrofit your old EAC rain barrel

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Has your EAC rain barrel seen better days?  Is it missing some of the features of our newer design, such as an overflow hose or a mosquito proof screen?  Well, come to our brand-new retrofitting workshop and we will help you get your old rain barrel up to speed!  Don't forget to bring your old rain barrel - preferably empty!

Register online today!  See all of the upcoming workshops including registration forms on the BN Green Events Calendar.  

NOTE: Workshops fill up very quickly; registrations are accepted in the order they are received. Registrations must include payment to be accepted; once capacity is reached all further registrations will be refunded.


Volunteer with EAC and McLean County Wheelers for BN Clean Up Week 

Money Creek North 2007 3Bloomington Normal Clean Up Week is April 21-29; the Ecology Action Center in cooperation with the McLean County Wheelers is working to clean up the area along the Constitution Trail from Tipton Park to the Audubon Gardens on Saturday, April 21.  

The group will start at Tipton Park at 8 a.m. and move west along the trail.  Do your part and join the clean up team!


Illinois Sustainable Living and Wellness Expo  - April 14 

ISLWE10_colorSMIn case you haven't already heard, the biggest green event in Central Illinois is about to return.  April 14 brings the Illinois Sustainable Living and Wellness Expo back to the IWU Shirk Center.  This free event is a collaboration between Illinois Wesleyan University Wellness and The Ecology Action Center. 

Together, we bring you:
  • Over 80 exhibitors
  • A dozen workshops
  • Live music
  • EV cars
  • The wind-powered Harley-Davidson
  • MEGA recycling Event in the Shirk Center parking lot
    • electronics
    • CFLS
    • plastic garden potsISLWE poster thumb
    • textiles and clothing
    • bicycles
    • household batteries
    • confidential paper shredding
  • Local food and cooking demonstrations
  • Sustainable transportation with Good to Go
  • Waste reduction, recycling and composting
    • Construction and Demolition Recycling
    • Food Scrap Composting
    • City of Bloomington automated curbside single stream recycling
    • Vermicomposting
    • McLean County Freecycle Free-For-All
    • Zero Waste
    • Renewable Fashion Challenge
  • Rainwater Harvesting
  • Environmental Health
    • Sandra Steingraber's Living Downstream
    • Clearing the Hurdles of Household Hazardous Waste
  • Energy efficiency
  • Kids' Green Zone
    • make recycled paper
    • learn to compost
    • ride the energy bike
    • engage in "Adventures of the Wild World" with Storyteller Brian "Fox" Ellis
  • And so much more!
Bike, walk, carpool, or ride public transportation to the event to get an early start on the Good To Go Challenge.  But no matter how you arrive, don't miss the 2012 ISLWE, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 14.

The Illinois Sustainable Living and Wellness Expo is sponsored by WGLT/Good To Go, Prairie Signs, WJBC, Heartland Community College's Green Institute, Midwest Fiber/COPS, Sims Recycling, and Ameren Illinois.


As always, we look forward to seeing you at the Ecology Action Center! Please stop by anytime Monday - Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or call us at (309) 454-3169 for information on our latest programs and events or to get answers to questions on recycling, household hazardous waste, clean water, and more!

The Ecology Action Center is a not-for-profit walk-in information and environmental education center with a mission to inspire and assist residents of McLean County in creating, strengthening and preserving a healthy environment. EAC acts as a central resource for environmental education, information, and outreach in McLean County. 
www.ecologyactioncenter.org

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