NESCO Net Zero Task Force Looking at Solar Farm at former Chemtura plant site at 21st and Olney Streets

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   October 15, 2013  /   Posted in Uncategorized  /   No Comments


NESCO working toward net-zero neighborhood


NESCO working toward a net-zero neighborhood 

A NESCO task force is working on plans to possibly redevelop the site of a former Chemtura plant at 21st and Olney Streets as a solar farm. The group's ultimate goal is establish a net-zero community through the solar farm and other sustainable energy sources to support affordable housing opportunities in the neighborhood north of Brookside Park. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management says the site needs limited remediation, but could work for the project. NESCO will host a charrette next Monday and Tuesday with urban design students from Ball State to further explore the site's potential. Students will present their findings Tuesday at 6 p.m. in a public meeting at the Brookside Community Center, 3500 Brookside Parkway South Drive. To RSVP or for more information, contact Laurie Klinger at 637-6242 or

NESCO Net Zero Energy Task Force

The NESCO Net Zero Energy Task Force is hosting a charrette on Tuesday, October 15 from 5:30 – 8 pm at the Brookside Community Center, 3500 Brookside Parkway, South Drive to explore the possibility of creating a Net Zero Low Income Community in the North Brookside Park neighborhood on the near east side.

NoBO (North Brookside Park Neighborhood Organization ) is bounded by Rural on the west, Sherman on the east, Brookside Parkway South Drive on the south, and I-70 on the north).   Part of the plan includes remediating  Ruby Park, a brownfield at Olney and 21st and building a solar farm on it.  (A brownfield is an industrial site that poses an environmental hazard.  In order to use the site, it would first have to be improved to the point it would not pose a risk for its intended use).

Through solar and other alternative energy and conservation design net zero  homes produce more energy than they use, eliminating the need to pay energy bills.  This has already been done successfully in Indiana.  The first net zero library went into operation in Chrisney, Indiana in 2009.  Using a combination of solar and geothermal , it has yet to pay an energy bill.

The goal is to retrofit a concentrated number of existing homes and build new homes that  connect to the solar farm and are designed to be net zero.  This low income net zero community would be the first of its kind in the state, and a groundbreaking opportunity for the near east side.

Ball State students will conduct the charrette, which  is an intensive planning session where citizens, designers and others collaborate on a vision to help evaluate  challenges and  solutions to a project.  The students will present their findings to the community on Tuesday, October 15th from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m.

People who live and work on the near east side are encouraged to participate.  Audience members will be given an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback.

In addition, IU Bloomington architecture students are researching this project as a semester long assignment to determine what is feasible in net zero design at the Ruby Park location.  They will be at the charrette and consider community input in their research.  Their conclusions will be presented on December 10 at another public meeting (time and location to be announced).

The Net Zero task force will form a recommendation for an action plan at the next NESCO summit on 12/12, based on these studies.  So this is an opportunity to play a part in the direction of the neighborhood.  For more info, call Laurie, 637 6242.

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