Green Garage Member Stories – Mike Shesterkin

Mike Shesterkin, owner of Green Garage businesses-in-residence What’s Next LLC, works on strategy development for small businesses, specifically focusing on a triple bottom line (3BL) approach. His involvement with the Green Garage began about two years before he joined us as a business-in-residence, when he began regularly attending our Thursday sustainable small business conversations.   Mike graduated from Lawrence Tech with a Bachelor’s in chemistry and worked for a number of years formulating coatings for automotive applications. After working in the automotive industry, he developed the desire to create his own business doing what he enjoyed the most. The Green Garage’s 3BL approach to business -- where environmental and social impact are valued alongside economic profit -- … [Read more...]

Business-in-residence Spotlight: LaunchGood

Crowdfunding Incredible Muslims Worldwide  What? LaunchGood is a global crowdfunding platform that supports and aids Muslims in raising funds for ideas, projects, and creative efforts. Projects they promote include: The first women’s Muslim workout DVD Fundraising for traumatic events such as the San Bernardino and Orlando shootings Home for Orphan Girls- Provides Quality Education, Healthcare, Wholesome Nutrition, Shelter, Clothing, Loving Home Environment, Guidance, and Hope to orphan girls in Lahore, Punjab. Safe hands for Girls- Works towards ending female genital mutilation. (Gambia) Winter relief for Syrian Refugees in Greece- “provide an extremely vulnerable population with bare essentials for winter, such as warm food, hats, gloves, socks, blankets, … [Read more...]

Archival work

While construction work is ongoing, a small group has been working to archive materials that were pulled out of the building, literally from the walls, during deconstruction. Before we had begun deconstruction, Tom asked Joe Gallagher if he could open up sample portions of the walls just to check for complications. Joe, who is managing the construction, also happens to have a degree in archaeology. So when he opened up some walls and found paperwork stuffed inside (presumably for insulation), he didn't throw it away, but recognized it for its historical value and kept it. This paperwork sat unattended for a few months before we were able to get to it. In the last couple of  months, however, we have been cleaning it up, placing it in acid-free boxes, and storing it for display in the … [Read more...]

Another thumbs-up for the city of Detroit

The other day Tom came home from the Green Garage and said, "I love working with the city of Detroit!". What immediately pops into your mind? Do you think he was being sarcastic? With Detroit's reputation, I'm guessing most of you would. In this case, however, he was quite sincere. He and Tom Bradley had just returned from a series of 4 meetings with different departments in Detroit that dealt with our Brownfield submission (we're applying for Obsolete Property Tax Abatement on the costs of construction). At each office they entered, people were ready and waiting for them, and went out of their way to help with the process. Both Toms were impressed. This isn't the only time we have been surprised by our dealings with the city. When we submitted our 25-page construction plans to the city … [Read more...]

More on the roof work

As you can see, the new roof is beginning to take shape. This week they have been putting up 3 layers of polyisoinsulation. On top of this, they are putting up rafters that will be covered with oriented strand board, but first will be filled with the cellulose insulation that we saved from our deconstruction. In addition, we've been advertising materials on Craigslist that we don't need with pretty good success. Here are some of the lights heading out. … [Read more...]

Some positive news about Detroit

Yesterday we received 2 pieces of great news - we received our permit to begin construction at the Green Garage, and the permit for the Green Alley. Hooray! We're pleased for ourselves (now we can begin construction), but we're also happy to send out a positive report about working in the city of Detroit. We sent our plans for the Green Garage into the city just 1 1/2 weeks ago, and here we sit today with permit in hand. That's remarkable! We have done construction projects in other cities, and have been told that they wouldn't even LOOK at our application for 2 weeks, let alone comb through it for approval. So this represents lightning speed - good for you Detroit! What's even more amazing to me is the fact that this is not your usual project. We had to pass plumbing, electrical, … [Read more...]

Farewell to our intern pioneers

Friday was the last official day of work for our intern pioneers (pioneers because they are the first). Kirsten Lyons came to us from Lawrence Tech, where she is studying architecture. Kevin Gardner came from the College for Creative Studies, where he is studying design. We hired them as interns before we knew exactly what we were going to do with them, but they had been volunteering with us throughout the fall and winter, and we knew they had to be a part of our continuing work. At first, they had the unenviable job of working with the team on translating our technical design onto wiki pages so we had it archived. You can see their work on our Earth Patterns pages. Early on, we could see that they both had areas of expertise that we could tap into beyond their writing skills. Kirsten … [Read more...]

Wood Rescue Mission

We've been consulting with a number of people as we near construction about effectively managing waste within the process. One of our contacts is Vince Dattilo. Vince, of the Roxbury Group, is managing United Way's move to the First National Building in Detroit. Vince understands that we want to reuse materials as much as possible, both from our own site and from off-site locations as well. We plan on reusing 90% of the materials from our own site, and have started looking at used materials from other sites as additions we might need. This past week Vince called us and said that they have a bunch of lumber (plywood and 2x4's) that they cannot use - it might go to a landfill if someone cannot take it. So after a little arranging by Joe Gallagher, we found 2 Green Garage volunteers, Scott … [Read more...]

Cass Tech Visit

This past Friday we hosted about 25 students from Cass Tech who were part of a day-long program sponsored by NORR called Generation G. This program was designed to introduce Detroit students who are interested in architecture and engineering to sustainability or "green" concepts, such as site development, energy efficiency, materials selections and indoor environmental quality. The program lasted all day, beginning with short seminars and a viewing of the movie, 'The Eleventh Hour.' In the afternoon, the students and teacher/mentors came over to the Green Garage to work on a "Sustainable Cobo Hall " project. The question they were to answer was: Based on the concepts of Site Planning, Water Management, Architectural Materials and Resources, Energy Management and Community and … [Read more...]

A Radio Broadcast and Accountability

As we move closer to the end of our discussions and the beginning of construction, we find an increased interest in our project from the 'outside world' (when you work for 8 months in a windowless warehouse, you begin to view the world that way).  Anyway, we have been busy conducting small tours, and last Sunday evening Tom appeared on Ken Byczynski's Green Hour radio program on 103.5 FM. It was a pretty interesting discussion mainly because it had nothing to do with what I expected to hear. Ken, if I have not yet mentioned him in this blog, is one of the stalwarts of the Zero Energy group, and has a business installing insulation. He and his friend Dan talk about green topics for an hour every Sunday night, so I guessed that they wanted to talk with Tom about the specifics of the Green … [Read more...]