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Green vision focuses on Sheet & Tube company homes

Published: Mon, October 10, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.


Tim Sokoloff of the Iron Soup Historical Preservation Co. stands near a solar-powered streetlight system at the former Sheet & Tube company housing area in Campbell. Sokoloff and his crew are working to create the world’s fi rst self-sustaining “Environminiums.”

  Solar Street Lights

A historical neighborhood in Campbell, Oh. is getting a dose of modern technology.

A historical neighborhood in Campbell, Oh. is getting a dose of modern technology.


Iron Soup Historical Preservation Co., a nonprofit organization, accepts donations of money or items.

To donate money, send a check to:

Iron Soup Historical Preservation Co.

40 Chambers St.

Campbell, OH 44405

  • You also can donate money online using PayPal. Go to www.ironsoup.com.
  • Or, make a donation at any First National Bank branch.
  • The group also accepts donations of old electronics (except for televisions and computer monitors), tools and building materials. You can deliver items to the office at 40 Chambers St., or call Tim Sokoloff at 330-531-2883 to arrange for items to be picked up.

By Jeanne Starmack



On Chambers Street in front of a row of old concrete row houses stand two unassuming little streetlights.

They’re decorative, though on closer inspection, the white posts are revealed to be recycled PVC pipe. The fixtures were donated by a man from Poland who redid his patio. And the wiring that runs the charger for them came from an old satellite dish.

What makes these lights special is not so much what they’re made of but what they run on. On the roof of the row houses is a solar panel. When dusk comes over that corner of the old company homes for the former Sheet & Tube steel mill, those lamps glow brightly — for free.

For the people who designed the solar-panel lighting system, those two lights are a triumph. They’re working “way better than anticipated,” said Tim Sokoloff, team leader for the Iron Soup Historical Preservation Co.

“If we had funding, we’d put up two more,” Sokoloff said last week as he showed off the lights, which are across the street from Iron Soup’s office in another row of units.

If they had 20 of the lights, he believes, the city could save some money.

“We could get rid of those,” he said, pointing to the big, overhead streetlight that looms over Chambers like — an old dinosaur.

Sokoloff’s vision for the future is, literally, starting to see the light of day, and if he has his way, that future will be housed in a monument to the past — the company homes. There are 179 of the one- and two-bedroom, two-floor units left out of 284 that were built in 1918 to house mill workers and their families.

On the National Register of Historic Places, they were the first of their kind — pre-fabbed concrete rows with indoor plumbing and electricity. They were small, to discourage immigrants from cramming a lot of family members into one unit.

In what sounds like the ultimate recycling project, they’ll be the first of their kind again, Sokoloff hopes, by becoming the world’s first self-sustaining “Environminiums.”

Sokoloff leads a crew of approximately six people who live in some of the 19 Iron Soup-owned units and work to restore them.

Environminiums, he said, will generate 125 percent to 180 percent more energy than is required to operate them.

They’d be equipped with individual apartment windmills, though Sokoloff would like to install some bigger windmills in the area. They’ll have LED lights, 12-volt appliances and super-energy-efficient heating and air-conditioning. Sokoloff said the group has even designed a thermopane window that acts as a furnace in the winter and an air-conditioner in the summer. The windows would be so energy-efficient that tenants could make money by selling power to the power company, he said. “Our meters would run backwards.”

A lack of funding, which is a pervasive problem for Iron Soup, has prevented the group from producing those windows.

The group, which now has federal and state nonprofit status, has been existing on donations and fundraisers. Its members do odd jobs and make enough to sustain themselves.

“We are a self-sustaining entity, but just barely keeping the lights on,” Sokoloff said.

Sokoloff’s quest toward restoring the historical homes and remaking them into Environminiums began when someone gave him a unit in 2007.

Many of the remaining units are being restored by other landlords and are lived in; others are boarded up and neglected, though their concrete walls stand defiant against time and the elements.

Eventually, Sokoloff said, he’d like Iron Soup to acquire all the homes, and he’d like to attract investors and donors. Lacking the skills of a grant writer, the group has been unable to pursue grants.

For now, he said, Iron Soup is focused on getting one Environminium up and running. The group also wants to use the technology of its solar panel system to turn the last original unit — 50 Chambers St., which hasn’t been changed since 1918 — into a museum.

“With regular electric, it would catch fire almost immediately,” he explained. Instead, the group will install 12-volt lighting.

Sokoloff said it hasn’t been easy for his group, but he believes they’ve made a difference in “our little corner of history.”

He said Iron Soup’s presence has reduced crime, thanks in part to security cameras it’s installed. Police Chief Gus Sarigianopoulos said there is no readily available data to show that.

He said, though, that there’s no doubt the group’s presence has made a difference.

“They’re there watching their properties, and they have cameras up,” he said. “That would definitely deter crime — to what extent, I don’t know.”

Sokoloff said the group experienced some problems with crime and vandalism in the first few years it was getting established, but not so much anymore.

“We are ready for an investment now,” he said.

One person who said she’s glad to hear that is Florence Galida, head of the Campbell Historical Society, who was born in a company home, 24 Chambers St., in 1934.

“I don’t want to see the ones torn down that are still good,” she said. “It doesn’t take much to fix them up.”

Some of Sokoloff’s ideas for the future sounded like throwbacks to Galida, reminding her of her days at the homes.

The sense of community that Sokoloff’s group has reminds her of the close-knit families who somehow raised several children in the small homes, with teenagers looking out for younger ones and a competition of sorts to keep the homes “nice and clean.”

An idea Iron Soup has for an urban farm on vacant property in the area reminds her of the community gardens company-home families had on land northeast of the complex, before there were houses there. There was no room for home gardens in front of the units, she said.

There are many people still in Campbell, in their 70s and 80s now, she said, who remember the company homes with fondness.

She, along with Sokoloff, would love to see those concrete walls stand long into the future.


1Iwannamove(61 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

The smartest thing would be to tear them down they have been fixed up and destroyed so many times its not worth it for the riff raff that ends up renting there. It would be so much better to tear all of that and all those projects down and put some stores in like dollar general, maybe an aldis etc and would generate revenue for the town instead of turning this town into nothing but boarded up houses and riff raff.

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2ytownsteelman(674 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Just keep on moving iwannamove and take your 1980s defeatist attitudes with you! Tim is doing a great job, is very hard working and has a vision that people like you will never have.

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3Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

ytownsteelman please remmber

“Never argue with a stupid person for they will only bring
you down to their level and then beat you with experience

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4mzfeefee(22 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Freeatlast is right!I commend what Mr Solokoff is doing and wonder if everyone joined in to help instead of watching or moving away to some mythical place where crime and vandalism don't exist. Those things dwindle away when people invest TIME and effort. It cant be one or two people. It has to be a collective effort.

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5ghostofjohnyoung(163 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

I am kind of missing what all the excitement is...

They hacked together a 12v LED and some misfit pieces to have a yard light?

Then there is an advertisement for we are a non profit we want your spare money?

Come on thermopane windows don't make energy. Windows are holes in buildings. Sure you can increase solar gain and reduce ambient air loses with modern windows, but the are still costly holes in the wall.

You know how little electricity costs here? The novelty of your meter running backwards is far too costly normally to make it happen. You can't even do that without proper permission from the utility and a special meter which often is accompanied with a new monthly surcharge.

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6ghostofjohnyoung(163 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Sorry those aren't LED's.. those are compact fluorescents.

They are 5W each bulb.

The kit is approximately $200.

So for $200 + battery + wiring + whatever else, we have 2 little dinky lights? That not progress, that's just silly.

If those bulbs run 12 hours of every day of a month they use 3.6 KwH a month.

At a rate of 15 cents per KwH that's: 54 cents a month or $6.48 a year.

At that pace just to recoup the $200 investment and it was likely higher, it would take: 370 months or 30+ years.

The system isn't even capable of throwing excess power into reserve. 120 watts a day is what the power draw is plus losses. The 3 15 watt panels are good for 10 watts each or 30 watts x 4 hours a day or you guessed it, 120 watts.

No what he should do is find 2-3 watt 12v LED bulbs and halve the power draw and get some electric reserve.

Otherwise, come a cloudy day, those batteries will need wall power charged and the battery will end up deep discharged.

They make 12v photo sensors so the system comes on at dusk and off at sunrise, well worth investing in to have a real light system.

This kits are mega popular with rural offgrid folks. The stock controller is rubbish though. The lights are prone to issues and overheating and not very well assembled.

Removing the plastic lens included on the light increases usable light noticeably.

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7ironsouphistorical(15 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Hey, its a start, how about that. The system can support more lights and works just fine even after a few dark days. They have been in operation for about two weeks now and I modified the controller to avoid some of the problems that are common to the system. The goal is to put lights all around the block, but you have to start somewhere, As for the windows that have been designed I think some of the folks commenting here should retake engineering 101. Besides, saying it doesn't work, is easy, putting down those who are trying to make it work is even easier yet, but I personally think before you come on here and bash the people in this community who are making ANY effort to do something positive you should announce what YOU are doing to help this community. How many tons of aluminum and metal cans are you recycling. How many yellow bins go out in front of your house every week? What kind of fuel efficient vehicle are you driving? How much grass, and property are you taking care of that you don't own to make your neighborhood look better? Have you been out to volunteer for streetscapes? The city of Campbell Clean Up Day? Are you attending, or at least watching the county commissioners meetings online to keep up with what is going on in the community? Do you vote? When you can come up with some answers to those questions and you are proving that you are part of the solution, not part of the problem, then you should come on here and bash the folks that are trying to do something. There is no such thing as small, dinky, or insignificant when it comes to positive progress in our community. What are two DINKY LITTLE LIGHTS TODAY will be a hundred of them in the future that will enable giant electric sucking street lights to be turned off so that our city can save some money as well. This is a prototype system and of course by far not a perfect solution YET. But its a start. I see more and more the problem with not only our community, but America in general. No matter what is being done, we want to find ten reasons to not do it, to bash it, to shine some negative light on it and to stop any further progress, instead of finding ten ways to promote it, perfect it, and make it a positive thing. What happened to the America that rewarded and stood behind it's innovator's, motivator's shakers, movers and doers? I just can not believe some of the negativity on here. It's all god though because despite what the few think, it seems that the many are all for more experimental systems, prototypes and attempts at making the world a less fossil fuel dependent place, and are thrilled to see some positive things happening in our valley. To the nay sayers, get off your A#$ and show us how it's really done since your so smart. Be the change you want to see in the world instead of blocking the change that needs to be.

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8walter_sobchak(2418 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

"When dusk comes over that corner of the old company homes for the former Sheet & Tube steel mill, those lamps glow brightly — for free."

Wow, where can I get some of these free solar panels?!?!? Wait, you mean they are not free? Well, that's a different story. I'm all for energy efficiency but this solar lighting is not cost effective for urban settings where power is avaiable. It would be better to spend the capital on motion-activated switches to turn off lights not in use or high efficiency furnaces and insulation. But, the initial cost of solar cells make mass lighting too expensive.

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9nanmalt(1 comment)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Proud of you Tim.

Sent the article to my daughter, in Montana, and she commented: "THAT’S AWESOME!!!!!! I’m very proud of him for not only having a vision, but for having the guts to try and implement it instead of just talk about it. I went on to the Vindicator site and read some of the comments about this article. Pitiful. People slammed this idea because it was on such a small scale. I don’t understand why the majority of people can’t see that big changes start with small steps."

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10mudduck(31 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

What a foolish waste of time... small scale large scale that cares. That entire area of "Historical Sheet and Tube Housing" needs to be demolished. Its noting but a Crime and rodent infested cess pool. What a joke. People just want to hang onto the past. Who wants to see dilapidated low income buildings "preserved" even if they are in the past? That’s what people's problem is... they won't let go of the past. Sorry its gone and the mills aren't coming back and unless you like living in filth then money and effort should be directed elsewhere or on new homes that can be built energy efficient not a rock pile of junk...that is a complete eyesore that people are affraid to drive by. stop hanging on, get over it and move on.

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11republicanRick(1543 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Why doesn't Mr. Sokoloff become a better neighbor and clean up the front of his house? Look at the mess and the trash strewn around. And how about the propane grill on the porch? How many trucks and cars polluted the earth delivering the propane? Why not use the interior gas stove that would be much more efficient?

Oh yeah, these are just pushy liberal greenies who want to tell the rest of us how to live.

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12cambridge(3617 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Great job Tim. You should move to an area where progress, innovation and the environment are appreciated. America needs as many people with a vision of the future as it can get.

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13nascar74(43 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

I grew up in a Sheet & Tube duplex in Struthers. I wasn't proud to live there at the time, but understand the significance at this time in my life. However, they are now crap holes and an eyesore. I took my two sons past the places a few years ago and they were scared. Anything that can clean them up in Campbell, Struthers or wherever, more power to youy.

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14mudduck(31 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Environment, innovation, progress is appreciated however it is wasted on a dump of a building and area that needs to be forgotten. Why not spend the time and effort to build new, better more efficient homes then pissing resources away on a crime infested and crumbling dump.

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15Rockabilly(93 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

I congratulate Mr. Sokoloff for his work. I ask those of you offering negative comments, what have you ever done?

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16ironsouphistorical(15 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Again, it is a start, the panels can support more lights than we have lit so we just have to add them, and YES the power to light them is Free. Just and FYI we are planning to put up motion detection lights that are also solar powered. It is so nice to see however that there are some people who appreciate someone making an attempt at doing something positive. As I said, today it is only two lights, soon it will be 100. Every day is a new day for those who are willing to make it happen.

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17ghostofjohnyoung(163 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Now, now, it's a start, I'll give you that. Didn't mean for my comments to seem really personal, they weren't. I'll give you folks credit for chiseling a nook out of those old horrid buildings. Big transformation.

Let's not go off on a tangent in another direction just because the economics of green PRO-jects aren't really there. We can discuss what I have done and answer some of your environmental quiz later.

I was buying those kits six years ago or more. I know them very well. I have at least 4 of those kits sitting around here, unplugged ;) They are thin film technology. Expect them to underperform and the longevity will be the shortest of any solar technology. There are far better panels out there for similar or lower cost per watt.

As far as these lights replacing street lights, no way. Novel idea, but the lumens aren't there. They might be suitable for yard lights, but good luck bundling a big heavy battery + containment box + wiring + solar panels + mounts on city poles.

That would never be permitted. Even if it were, they'd be stolen in near record time when people determined the value of the goods.

There are solar real street lights out there for sale. They are literally thousands of dollars per fixture. By my estimate you need at least 65 watts of lighting to pull off any street light replacement. That would be with fluorescent type technology, which won't really work during cold of winter. Local power companies tried those years ago and stopped deploying such.

Ballpark you need 6500 lumens minimum for any street light. What is deployed is much higher than that lumen wise. Only way to limit the power consumption and output the needed light is indeed LEDs. It will require a 75-100 watt LED module to accomplish such.

You need quite a bit of power to output 6500 lumens for any period of time. That means something like 200 watt dual or triple panel setups per light. The lights would also need to have motion sensors where they go from ultra low power instantly to high power.

/ What happened to the America that rewarded and stood behind it's innovator's, motivator's shakers, movers and doers /

That America seems to have died a while ago (mostly). In it's place we have crackpot repurposing and import and relabeling of Chinese good posing as viable American industry - see: Walmart, Harbor Freight, Winner International, etc. Everyone wants to be the middleman instead of the inventor, engineer, manufacturer, etc.

Don't let me deter you or anyone else. Just going over the facts so others don't bankrupt themselves pursuing the useless overpriced green agenda at this scale. It can be done, but it's the cost of a real home or several in these areas to do such.

Mind you I bought the same flawed bill of goods from Harbor Freight and I shared your enthusiasm for green energy.

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18whitesabbath(738 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Wait until some crackhead figures out he can get 20 dollar bill for them.

Good effort though.

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19ghostofjohnyoung(163 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago


/You should move to an area where progress, innovation and the environment are appreciated./

Like where? California? Between the crazy taxes, cost of living, and the poor air quality there, that's not an option, it's just a bad infomercial to get over-educated with lack of common sense northeasterners to migrate there.

Where else? Seriously?

Alternative energy is fairly small, still. Costs are still high and aside from government sponsored stuff, people aren't exactly jumping out their windows to save $100 a month by spending $30k, $50k, etc.

I am looking for place you Cambridge would consider progressive, innovative and environmentally responsible. Seriously.

Next move is either to the boonies or to some yuppie hideaway. New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine look better every day, if you can overlook the weather in the winter :)

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20mudduck(31 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

HISTORY.. keep history in books and in pictures we don't need a dump to remember history. And I guess we must have a large number or mayors if thats all that makes up poland and canfield. As far as business goes why would one open up in a ghetto. Yes jobs would correct problems but everytime something opens up in a deprived area it closes down. Ghetto workers don't show up for work, steal, can't pass drug test and the places are vandalized and the opportunity for crime makes them an easy target. solution? not sure but investing in a old pile of rocks based on "history" isn't the answer. nothing last forever people.

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21mudduck(31 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

HISTORY.. keep history in books and in pictures we don't need a dump to remember history. And I guess we must have a large number or mayors if thats all that makes up poland and canfield. As far as business goes why would one open up in a ghetto. Yes jobs would correct problems but everytime something opens up in a deprived area it closes down. Ghetto workers don't show up for work, steal, can't pass drug test and the places are vandalized and the opportunity for crime makes them an easy target. solution? not sure but investing in a old pile of rocks based on "history" isn't the answer. nothing last forever people.

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22DwightK(1458 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

I appreciate the historical sentiment and the tremendous effort Iron Soup is putting into these buildings but I question whether they are worth it. When you get down to it these are concrete pre-fab buildings built cheaply to house cheap labor. What makes these units worth the effort of reconstruction and maintenance?

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23mudduck(31 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

really THE BEST post was the first by iwannamove .. tear the dump down and try to get an aldi's or dollar general or both .. that would create some jobs, generate tax, provide a place to shop for those in the depressed area to walk to so they can make purchases and would much more sightly then the junk that is there now.

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24ghostofjohnyoung(163 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

An Aldi's? What in the world is people affinity towards Aldi's in these parts?

Folks better read the labels on the crap they are buying at Aldi's.

Last time I went to Aldi's I noticed multiple items were labeled products of China. How can we justify getting standard food like say canned fruit from China? (I refuse to go back, but often laugh at the deals I see in their circulars).

China isn't our friend, they are a big part of why our economy has been microwaved by consumer spending over the past 20 years.

Further, the Chinese have little to no regard for what they put in food. Everyone forget the animal poisonings, poison child toys and the most recent rice made from plastic? Who's protecting me from the whims of Chinese importers? No one.

Seems odd that Aldi's, a German company is importing Chinese food stuffs to sell in markets in the United States. That can't be cost effective without funny dealings and preferred trade status non sense.

Folks can do a hell of a lot better than Aldi's. Their prices aren't that great when you start comparing sizes of their package (small) and quality of their products (not very high).

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25mudduck(31 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

ok what ISN"T made in China... seriously. On a side note there is NOT an American Made dress shirt anymore.. why don't we open up a shirt factory but it will never happen because of the way this country is run......better than Aldi's .. put a shop n save or i'd say an IGA since they are anti union and everyone on this boards is anti union so that would fit in perfect.

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26ironsouphistorical(15 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Wow, interesting to see the comments good and bad here.

I like REAL facts, figures and information and there are many good and interesting points being made here. I do want to clear a few things up.

The kit we purchased works a lot better than the ones they made six years ago, just like any technology made today as compared to what was being done over half a decade before.

I also modified the internals of the charge controller somewhat and changed a couple components to overcome the Cheap Chinese Crap factor.

The fluorescent lights may have a problem in the winter and we are aware of that. The challenge is to SOLVE those problems. I know that our new lights are based on the same type of fluorescent technologies that are 110V lights are based on which have NO problems in the winter time at all. We are hoping to get the same results out of our new 2011 lights.

It is always easy to say it won't work, it can't work, it didn't work, the challenge lies in saying WE CAN MAKE IT WORK. So be sure, when all is said and done, we will make it work.

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27cambridge(3617 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

ghostofjohnyyoung....My electric bill is around $24 per month. The city owned and run electric company uses 80% clean and renewable energy. You can read all about it in the link below.


I've noticed a trend, most people that are against clean renewable energy are the same ones who don't believe in evolution, as in the only way you can generate energy is by burning something as in "even a cave man can do it".

Keep looking in that rear view mirror.

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28Wsawyer(1 comment)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

The lack of vision in a lot of these posts is alarming. Complacent people not willing to give any time or enegy on positive thinking to move forward in a time long overdue for change. I applaud all the forward thinkers posting on this subject.

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29ironsouphistorical(15 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

©Envirominiums, ...remember that term, it will set the standard for environmental homes if we can keep the ball rolling.

This light system is a prototype, and it is performing well but is not intended to be permanent in that spot. We are compiling data for a new and improved system that will have enough lights for the whole building all the way around.

We are aware of far better and far less expensive solar panels and have plans to change the ones that are in place now with them and substitute an advanced charge controller that will be able to handle a hundred lights. We will get to those changes in time.

As far as stimulus money, with our without any help we will get the job done. We have been making slow but steady progress for a little over four years and be sure we will be doing some things that will amaze even the skeptics.

Dimebag, LOL there is a statement of intellect if I have ever heard one, sadly the link you posted is to a company that gets it, to bad you don't

If not for folks like me, companies like that are not possible. You look at our little streetlights as a joke, because you do not know what awaits in the workshop.

Hydrogen, Wind, and Geothermal devices are all part of our program, So laugh today over our little street lamps, because we will laugh tomorrow when we fire up the generator that will surely not need fuel.

And yes funding is always necessary and it would be nice to finally have someone just give us some SERIOUS money but no one gives anyone anything in today's world unless you can prove you can produce results.

So a couple street lamps today, and fifteen or twenty more tomorrow ... maybe someone will eventually take notice and help us fund some real environmental technologies..

I can't even respond to carlstaatz, rotary shaft ROTFLOL ... you should put on your big headphones and get back to listening to that LP you have on your turntable. That Quadrophonic probably has an eight track on it too huh.

As far as the Red Zone goes, anything can be done anywhere, if the right people get together to do it. Besides it is much more rewarding doing something, than doing nothing.

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30ghostofjohnyoung(163 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago


I give you credit where it's due. The street lighting as in replacing the big overhead arms is not financially feasible, anywhere, sorry to say.

There just haven't been many LED street lamps sold due to price and most of them are still grid powered. There are tons of rules and regulations about what can be on a street and it's cost impossible for your little project to get into such, unless something corrupt happens. You folks seem heads above that sort of conduct.

I'll send you an email or other direct contact with some ideas based on what you have there and what we've migrated to for low powered lighting projects.

I am a bit disappointed with folks depiction of this housing group as being entirely awful. Perhaps some folks live nearby and have tangible proof of such problems. Doubt it's all bad or nearly as bad as some notorious sections of Youngstown.

As far as the plan being an eyesore, big freaking deal. Look around people, the region isn't exactly gleaming structures made of gold. It's run down and ragged in places. That doesn't need to and never should correlate to crime.

Poverty and crime are two different things. Plenty of non-well-off people who have work ethic and dignity, who do their part and contribute and pridefully maintain their property. Let's not forget this.

What that housing plan seems to need is controls over use and maintenance consistent with the historical preservation status. I HATE land use regulations, but it is mandatory with historic designation.

The designation alone should make some money available at least for rehabbing units there. Greening projects, well that's going to be very hard to find money for without some matching angel money or other leverage.

Clearly, these housing units cannot be bulldozed simply due to their status. So that's a non-issue folks.

I agree with the observations that it's the wrong place for some big box retail. It's a living area and should be housing. Far better resource and pollution wise to rehab existing units than to bulldoze and build new stuff.

Keep it rolling folks. Public exchange helps everyone in communicating and to better flesh out and predict common sticking/stumbling points.

Most of us want good things and want to encourage garage-based startups. It's mandatory folks be at least battle tested a bit to divide the opportunistic hit and run types from the true doers. No one should be challenged by opposition at this stage with a media depiction only.

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31republicanRick(1543 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

The problem with the Greenies and tree huggers is that they believe an energy "cure" is just around the corner.
We will SOMEDAY get our energy from the sun. Unfortunately, that day is still pretty far off. For now, we need to concentrate on the proven, reliable means to generate power.
Don't stop dreaming Greenies-- but be more rational and reasoned in your approach.

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32mudduck(31 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

@ghostofjohnyoung... you staated .......Clearly, these housing units cannot be bulldozed simply due to their status. So that's a non-issue folks.... Not so fast.... the Sh@t and Tube dumps made #3 on the list 2011 Ohio’s Most Endangered Historic Sites meaning that they are not as "safe" as you think and the bull dozers may not be far off to rid of this eye sore. There are much more worthy historic sites than this crack dump... sorry... http://preserveohio.com/2011-ohios-mo...

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33milesahead(2 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

The language decrying this small scale, positive effort is ill-advised. We will be shortly - perhaps we're already there - where the costs associated with building new housing stock is prohibitive and reuse of structures like the modest YS&T homes is an attempt to offset that. I think the homes built in the last decade - 4,000 sq/ ft. McMansions - will be the new ghettos as they're over-mortgaged, misplaced and costly to maintain.

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34ghostofjohnyoung(163 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

@mudduck, interesting designation of the Sheet and Tube housing.

Yes that list indicated disinvestment and disinterest typically. Landmarks that are designated do get bulldozed, but often tends to be long protracted fights over such.


Good post the last one. I agree with your recommendations of turbine powered or similar from stored embedded energy.

Unsure when / where burning things became so out of fashion which one group of our political system... They still drive cars, still heat their homes, still use electric. The environmental religion should have them living in caves, riding roller skates and pedaling a generator to use their computers.

We should have continued engineering biomass heat based power. Wood boilers and superheated water is very powerful.

Yes, you can even run internal combustion motors from wood combustion. We did it in both wars in this country and many power generation plants running on such technology today. It scales down too so can run a single house or vehicle or run a real big generator head.

There is a place for small scale stuff - notably in off grid scenarios.

To have same quality of life and in case of light, same lumens requires rather high power. LED's are arguably most efficient lighting upgrade, but very pricey and only minimal savings typically to get to near same light level. Yes, they save on monthly power, but minimally and the cost benefit is very future deferred, if the bulbs even last a percentage of time they are mis-advertised to.

We regularly buy LEDs and no manufacturer so far produces a bulb that junk quickly. Simply, still not competitive.

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35ironsouphistorical(15 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Technology improves every day. new things are invented, and new methods are found to do things all the time. It is sad that no one believes anyone in our community is capable of overcoming the obstacles involved in making alternative energy sources viable.

The engineering discussions here are great, but still subject to the limited It can't be done thinking method.

To re-invent the wheel requires a though process that involves multiple disciplines of science and engineering as well as an ability to seriously use all the modern technology at our disposal to improve upon what is to create what will be.

I would really like to just disclose all of the things we are working on but there is this little thing I have about my ideas ending up being someone Else's grant winning college proposal and yes that has already happened to me.

So I guess the negative people are saying that no one here in this valley is smart enough to ever create something new, innovative, or monumental.

I can tell you that one British College student is 50K to the good for one of MY designs, but I guess he was more deserving because he didn't live in the Company Homes, or maybe, just maybe if our community would get behind new ideas, ... instead of coming up with a hundred reasons why we should just not have them .... maybe that 50K would have made it here to our community.

So if you really believe that no one here in this valley can be smart enough to do what has never been done before, keep on making the negative comments, you are not putting down our organization, you are putting down our area as a whole.

Of course it is apparent that some folks have no problem bashing our valley, and it's residents, have at that. We will still keep on trying to change what is into what should be.

As for the company homes, endangered or not as long as there are people here moving this site in a positive direction that bulldozer will never roll. The historical society always favors forward progress over demolition, so as long as we are here, YOU MIGHT AS WELL JOIN US CAUSE YOU SURE AREN'T GOING TO BEAT US.

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36ghostofjohnyoung(163 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago


You folks really need a professional grant writer it seems.

I'd contact the Community Foundation of Mahoning Valley about applying for a grant:


Also, I'd look around at other recipients of grants (successful) and ask if they can recommend the person who they've had success with.

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37mudduck(31 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago


We'll just let the rodents, stray cats, druggies, crack heads, prostitutes join you all in the dump.. you talk about forward thinking and looking into the future.. yet hold onto the past via crumbling ghetto row apartments.. way to move on. .heres hoping your two lights save your apartments.

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38ytownsteelman(674 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Mudduck, these homes are private property and you have no more right to say what should happen to them than I do if I were to to tell you to demolish your house. Which, if I knew where you lived I might just fire up one of those solar powered bulldozers and point it your way! Your posts are an eyesore in this internet community.

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39mudduck(31 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

ytownsteelman.. yea another poster hanging on to the past (your name is obvious.. no more steel here). thats the problem with people and their "rights" so anyone can have any type of structure and call it a house..even though it is a magnet for trahs.... if the so called house is an eyesore then maybe cleaning up some of youngstown and surrounding areas will be a start in a new direction. This area needs to stop being so fixed on steel mills and the past.. its gone its over.. we have a musem .. go visit it. And I am honored that you are the internet judge and jury.. it must be so hard being so smart like you. ..by the way... I did not judge the solar power ideas and efforts....and think its great and a wonderfull start.

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40mudduck(31 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

bythe way the "old" giant electric sucking street lights are and being replaced by hps bulbs/fixtures which cost roughly 23 cents a day/night to run.

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41ghostofjohnyoung(163 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Like these bulbs, the HPS bulbs have terrible light spectrum and create vision issues (detail wash, eye stress, etc.)

Sodium based lights have been used on streets for decades due to non-dimming effect in cold weather and overall durability - not for energy conservation or light quality.

We'd save a fortune by demanding modern lighting. Having dimmable lights with 2 or 3 light levels that sense activity would severely reduce overall energy consumption.

In many areas, the street lights are outsourced and maintained by the utility company (big old dumb incumbents). They charge localities a flat rate (i.e: $27, $35, whatever) per light fixture, regardless of them working, being on, etc.

Auditing the lights bi-annually should be mandatory in each area. Demanding the lights be functional and on at dusk and off at dawn would be a good start.

If the HPS bulbs output enough lumens and have this power conservation effect of 23 cents a day operation, then towns need to renegotiate their lighting contracts with the utilities.

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