Millvale Ecodistrict Revitalizes with Environmental Issues at Forefront

Photo from Jon Dawson on Flickr

Founded in 2012, but now in its 2.0 phase, Millvale’s Ecodistrict has community-wide support to improve the economy and quality of life in the former steel town.

As the name suggests, one of the main focus’ of the Ecodistrict model is on the environment—energy, water, and food. And through these environmental developments, they will also revitalize the economic side of the Borough. The Millvale community’s work has earned them the title of the first borough and the fourth municipality in Pennsylvania to be platinum certified as a Sustainable Pennsylvania Community.

Detailed in their Ecodistrict report, the Millvale community started by “addressing energy efficiency and building performance first” before looking towards renewable energy. Millvale residents changed their behavior and made changes to their homes to increase energy efficiency. Now the Allegheny Solar Cooperative, which strives to “democratize” solar energy through member-owned solar installations, is pushing long-term to install solar panels on enough community buildings to power the Borough.

Logan Street in Millvale, photo from Joseph on Flickr

Logan Street in Millvale, photo from Joseph on Flickr

Being so close to the Allegheny River, Millvale’s identity “is formed by water”  and the community have been working to reduce stormwater runoff. Rain gardens have been sprouting up around the Borough and residents are being educated on how to create rain gardens in their own yards. In terms of food, the Gardens of Millvale are providing residents with organic food and are hoping to provide 95% of the food for Millvale’s upcoming restaurants.Soon, this drive towards healthy and local foods, will help sustain a restaurant cluster in the heart of the neighborhood, bringing new businesses and jobs.

With each new garden plot and solar panel , the Millvale community becomes more self-sufficient. Residents know that looking towards a successful future for the community involves making their community an environmental leader in energy, water, and air. ‘

Read more about Millvale’s Sustainability Coordinator,  Zaheen Hussain.

Read Millvale’s full Ecodistrict Pivot 2.0 report.