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Posted on Fri, May 18, 2012 : 10:45 a.m.

Mission Zero Festival celebrates green building and green living June 9-10

By Janet Miller

Mission Zero Festival is looking to put some zest into its fest.

Last year’s inaugural Mission Zero Festival included tours of three deeply green Ann Arbor houses along with demonstrations and seminars on sustainable and environmentally friendly building.


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But organizers are re-tooling it - so to speak - to expand it beyond green building and to add some fun. The June 9 and 10 Mission Zero Festival will include live music and dancing, local food carts, re-skilling demonstrations, information on urban gardening and more, said Doug Selby, president of Meadowlark Builders and a festival organizer. It’s moving beyond green housing to green living, he said. “It represents an evolution of the event.”

And the location has changed. Borrowing a page from the playbook of the Water Hill Music Festival, which turns the near northwest Ann Arbor neighborhood into a giant block party/music venue/dance hall/food feast, the second Mission Zero Festival will be held in the same neighborhood, which is loosely bounded by Miller, Brooks, Sunset and Daniel streets. The center of the Mission Zero Festival will be held in the 700 block of Fountain Street.

In energy efficient circles, Selby said, the goal is to turn whole neighbors shades of green, spreading the gospel on energy efficiency and earth-friendly building practices from neighbor to neighbor. Green building is catching fire in the Water Hill neighborhood - named last year with the launch of the music festival, Selby said, as property ownership turns over and new homeowners look to build and remodel. Increasingly, he said, they look to green building. “There’s a lot of good housing stock in the neighborhood that needs major remodeling,” said Selby, who lives in the area.

At least six of the neighborhood’s deeply green houses will be on tour, including three that have the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Platinum Certification, the highest level of green building. One, located on Spring Street, is a net-zero house, which means it produces at least as much energy as it uses. The tour will include one house outside of the neighborhood: Matt and Kelly Grocoff’s 1901 net-zero house on the west side of Ann Arbor.

The Mission Zero Festival is being organized by a number of environmental nonprofits, including the Clean Energy Coalition, the Ecology Center, League of Conservation Voters, Clean Water Action and the city of Ann Arbor, Selby said. It will follow the Mayor’s Green Fair on Main Street, scheduled for June 8.

The Mission Zero Festival also will include demonstrations such as how to caulk windows, roving energy audits, vendor booths and seminars. The festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 9 and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 10. It is free and open to the public.


David Cahill

Sat, May 19, 2012 : 1:10 a.m.

Small steps can make a big difference. Just by putting new insulation in our attic last summer, we have cut our heating bill by 25% over last year. OK, it's not net-zero, but it's a start.

Scott Rosencrans

Fri, May 18, 2012 : 10:21 p.m.

Fantastic! Looking forward to it.

Dog Guy

Fri, May 18, 2012 : 9:08 p.m.

Thank you, xmo, for your tax money which provides the green-enabling rebates. I have been silly with your money and am appreciative.