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Microgreens: Local Green News 

Solar Powered

  Louisiana Technical College, in partnership with the Louisiana CleanTech Network (LCTN), is offering the New Orleans area's only solar electric installer course approved by he North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). The course, which lasts through Feb. 20, uses hands-on training to provide its students with a Photovoltaic Entry Level certificate of knowledge and a LCTN certificate of training, the first steps in acquiring a green job as a solar installer.

  In June 2007, the Department of Energy designated New Orleans as one of 13 Solar American Cities under an initiative that calls for the adoption of solar technology at the local level and a citywide plan for expanding solar technology and the creation of a solar workforce.

  For more information on the LCTN course, call 343-4638 or visit

Winning Redesigns

  Sustainable design firm Billes Architecture is accepting submissions from architecture students at Louisiana State, Louisiana Tech and Tulane universities and several other colleges across the country for its Home Design Competition. Entries should focus on energy and water efficiency, renewable energy and the use of durable materials designed for the New Orleans area and climate.

  Billes, one of 13 firms invited to participate in Brad Pitt's Make it Right program in the Lower Ninth Ward, will fly 10 student finalists to New Orleans. Winners will be announced April 5, and the top five finalists will receive a $1,000 cash prize. Winning designs also will be showcased for developers who may be interested in building them.

  Guest judges include Martin C. Pederman, executive editor of Metropolis magazine; Matt Peterson, president of Global Green USA; and Lawrence Gibbs of Gibbs Construction.

  Deadline for submissions is March 6. Visit for more information.

Water Waste Management

  The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is offering workshops to help area businesses comply with regulations against polluting Louisiana waterways. The DEQ set up the workshops after an inventory of wastewater discharges into Lake Pontchartrain found area businesses had released prohibited wastes into watersheds.

  The workshops will help businesses acquire sanitary wastewater permits, which will "get people into compliance so we can better protect human health and the environment," project manager Chris Piehler said in a statement released by the DEQ. "We're not out here to issue a bunch of fines and enforcement actions. That's why it's important to have the Small Business Assistance group, the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and others involved. We're pooling our resources in an effort to improve the state's environment."

  The water quality inventory project continues along the Tchefuncte River and its tributaries. DEQ staff will continue to inspect businesses in the area and other watersheds for unpermitted waste discharges.

  The workshops will be held at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 17, and Thursday, Feb. 28, at the St. Tammany Council Chambers (21490 Koop Drive, Mandeville).

Float Fuel

  Biodiesel-fueled tractors will pull floats in 19 parades this Carnival season. Floats from Kern Studios, in partnership with Salathe Oil Company of Harvey, will be pulled by a fleet of 116 tractors using a cleaner-burning mix of diesel fuel and palm, soy and other vegetable and animal oils. The biodiesel mixture was approved by the Southeast Louisiana Clean Fuel Partnership, the U.S. Department of Energy's Clean Cities initiative and the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources. Participating krewes include Rex, Zulu, Endymion, Muses, Orpheus, and Bacchus, among others.

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