Blog: Jason Bing

Earth Day reminds us that it's a green globe we live in. Meet Jason Bing, manager of Recycle Ann Arbor's Environmental House, a facilitator of healthy, energy- efficient home and workplace construction in Southeast Michigan. He holds a graduate degree in architecture and is a LEED accredited professional. Jason will be writing about local and national energy initiatives, issues and ideas.

Jason Bing - Post 3: Washtenaw County's "Deep Green" Talent

As Recycle Ann Arbor’s Environmental House manager, I provide green building outreach and educational services (primarily funded by Recycle Ann Arbor’s other service programs) to folks in our community. This can vary from a one-on-one consultation with a homeowner or business owner to a tour of the Environmental House for third graders (grade school teachers - I don’t know how you do it). Offering something of value to each of these constituents requires continuous research, organization, and enthusiasm.

It is hard to keep up, but the way I’ve continued to learn and develop a knowledge base to share with others is through the incredible network of professionals, community officials, educators and students that are dedicated to greening this community. It’s truly amazing. They have provided expertise, guidance, direction, and LOTS of assistance.

I’m (thankfully) involved in many projects with our dedicated greenies, but I want to mention three projects that really demonstrate what a unique community this is - and offer opportunities for you to get involved.


Have you ever flipped through your TV stations and seen some random meeting taking place on Tuesday evenings on CTN? Welcome to the Ann Arbor Energy Commission! Engineers, architects, organizers, educators, utility representatives, consultants, IT gurus and the Mayor are working towards a more secure energy future in Ann Arbor. I know it’s no American Idol, but I think the other commissioners might be interested in voting me off unless I stop writing blogs and start doing my share of the work before meetings.

But I digress…this commission is actually doing some very important work - in particular, developing a comprehensive energy plan for the City - identifying strategies for reducing energy consumption and utilizing renewable energy in the transportation and commercial/residential building sectors. The plan will identify community goals and provide tools and solutions for members in the community.

Did I mention all of these folks are doing this in their spare time for free?

Come down to the meeting at City Hall and share your thoughts in the “public comments” section. If you can’t attend, tune in and visit us next month. Same time, same place! (Still no Simon, Paula or Randy).


What typically happens to those dead and dying trees that are cut down from backyards, parks, and streets? How about trees removed for easements and development? Most are chipped, used for firewood, or landfilled. Using this "waste" wood as an alternative energy source can be a reasonable way to reduce our dependence on fossil-fuel. But some of these trees are HUGE. And any tree with a trunk or log eight feet long and approximately 18 inches in diameter can be used to create value-added products, reducing our need for trees cut from managed forests. In fact, an entire network of local sawmills now exists that is dedicated to capturing the highest and best use for our neighborhood trees.

This project, now gaining regional and national attention has been made possible through the US Forest Service, the Michigan DNR, and the Southeast Michigan Resource Conservation and Development Council.

But it has been the tireless efforts of the folks in this community  - local sawyers, natural resource specialists, and ReUse Center managers - that has made this project a reality.


Washtenaw County boasts one of the only Energy Commissions (or groups of appointed officials dedicated to energy) in the country, the first dedicated green remodeling conference (that I’m aware of), and a network of local entrepreneurs dedicated to producing green building products right in our community - the first of its kind.

If you are considering going green, you don’t have to look very far. Come to an Energy Commission meeting, attend the Remodel Green Conference, or check out the urbanwood in the ReUse Center.

And always think local first.