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New York Expands Parkland, Open Spaces

by Rena Ragimova Feb 09, 2009

The Achievements

As part of its landmark PlaNYC sustainability plan, City of New York is making strides toward the goal of ensuring that all New Yorkers live within a 10-minute walk of a park.

  • Over the last five years, the City has added more than 400 acres of new parkland. Much of this is former industrial waterfront sites that were reclaimed after being abandoned for decades.
  • Between 2007 and 2008, the City opened 69 schoolyards as playgrounds, and completed designs for 32 more to be reconstructed in 2008, along with another 20 schoolyard sites for capital construction.
  • Between 2007 and 2008, 52 new greenstreet sites—treelined streets—were added.
  • In 2007, the City was in the planning phase for seven of the eight regional parks projects identified in PlaNYC.

The Benefits

Open spaces and green spaces help cool summer air temperatures, conserve energy by offering shade to homes, reduce stormwater runoff, improve air quality, increase property values, and improve the quality of life for urban residents.

 

[Source: PlaNYC Progress Report 2008] Read more »

Roanoke, VA, Wins Green Government Challenge Thanks to Green Building Retrofits

by Rena Ragimova Feb 08, 2009

The Achievement

The City of Roanoke won first place in the Virginia Municipal League’s 2008 Green Government Challenge, a friendly competition among VML member local governments to encourage the implementation of specific environmental policies and practical actions that reduce carbon emissions.

The City’s focus on energy efficiency helped it win the award. Over the past several years, managers have replaced approximately 700 incandescent bulbs with CFL or T-8 lights in city facilities, both indoor and outdoor. Exit sign lights in all buildings are also being replaced with efficient LEDs or nuclear chip lights. The City has also replaced various chillers, boilers, and rooftop HVAC units with more efficient equipment.

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San Francisco, CA, Bans Plastic Grocery Bags

by Rena Ragimova Feb 05, 2009

The Achievement

In March 2007, San Francisco, Calif., was the first major municipality in the United States to ban plastic grocery bags in supermarkets and pharmacies. The goal was to drastically reduce the 180 million plastic bags used in the city each year. 

The Benefits

Plastic bags are nonbiodegradable, petroleum products that can sit in landfills for up to 1,000 years. They also clog municipal drains and pollute bodies of water, from rivers to oceans. Reducing or recycling plastic bags lessens landfill waste and requires less bags to be manufactured, which in turn lowers greenhouse gas emissions. Read more »

Ann Arbor, MI, Bans, Discourages Buying Bottled Water

by Rena Ragimova Feb 02, 2009

The Achievement

In summer 2007, the Ann Arbor, Mich., City Council banned buying bottled water for city events and urged residents to bring their own reusable bottles.

The Benefits

Reducing or banning the purchase and consumption of bottled water reduces waste, saves money, and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. Plastic bottles are made from petroleum and require energy to produce (which in turn produces greenhouse gases). Also, they are often thrown in the trash, rather than recycled. Transporting all those bottles to landfills via trucks is expensive, and produces greenhouse gases. When a city and its resides reduces bottled water consumption, it means less trash to transport and fill up landfills, and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, using tap water is much cheaper than buying bottled water. Municipal tap water is safe and is typically more closely monitored than bottled water.

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Lexington-Fayette, Ky., Joins EPA Million Monitor Drive, Saves 200,000 KWH

by Rena Ragimova Jan 22, 2009

The Achievement

The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG) in Kentucky joined the EPA Million Monitor Drive. In joining the Million Monitor Drive, the County agreed to enable the power management features on 1,000 of its computers so that they go to sleep when not being used.

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Santa Barbara, CA, Switches From Bottled to Tap Water at City Functions

by Rena Ragimova Jan 22, 2009

The Achievement

In spring 2007, the City of Santa Barbara, Calif., stopped buying bottled water and began serving tap water at city functions.

The Benefits

Reducing or banning the purchase and consumption of bottled water reduces waste, saves money, and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. Plastic bottles are made from petroleum and require energy to produce (which in turn produces greenhouse gases). Also, they are often thrown in the trash, rather than recycled. Transporting all those bottles to landfills via trucks is expensive, and produces greenhouse gases. When a city and its resides reduces bottled water consumption, it means less trash to transport and fill up landfills, and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, using tap water is much cheaper than buying bottled water. Municipal tap water is safe and is typically more closely monitored than bottled water.

Read more »

Lexington-Fayette, Ky., Greens Its Vending Machines

by Rena Ragimova Jan 22, 2009

The Achievement

The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG) in Kentucky has reduced the energy consumption of its vending machines in the following ways:

  • Turned off the display lights in many vending machines. This can save as much as $30 per year for each machine and results in a CO2 reduction of over 1,300 pounds/year per machine.
  • Purchased 20 Vending Misers for Parks and Recreation vending machines to further reduce energy usage. These can save approx $175 per year per machine and result in a total CO2 reduction of over 70 metric tons per year.
[Source: Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government website] Read more »

Lexington-Fayette, Ky., Saves Energy, Money, and CO2 With Smart Lighting

by Rena Ragimova Jan 22, 2009

The Achievements

The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG) in Kentucky has lowered energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions with the following smart lighting choices for its buildings:

  • Installed sensor activated lighting controls for select office space at the Adult Detention Center. The estimated energy savings is over 18,000 kWh/year and CO2 emissions are reduced by approximately over 16 tons per year. This also reduces our energy cost by $1,100 per year.

  • Purchased 392 LED EXIT signs in 2006. Installing tLED EXIT signs will result in an annual energy savings of approximately $5,000 and an annual greenhouse gas reduction of 104 metric tons. Also purchased 235 programmable thermostats in 2006.

  • Recently completed an upgrade of the 10th floor lighting at Government Center with more efficient fixtures which is expected to reduce energy usage by 100,000 kWh/year and will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 92 metric tons per year.

[Source: Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government website]

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Chicago, IL, Institutes Bottled Water Tax

by Rena Ragimova Jan 17, 2009

The Achievement

In January 2008, the City of Chicago instituted a 5 cent tax on each bottle of water sold, making Chicago the first major U.S. city to institute such a surcharge.

The Benefits

Reducing or banning the purchase and consumption of bottled water reduces waste, saves money, and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. Plastic bottles are made from petroleum and require energy to produce (which in turn produces greenhouse gases). Also, they are often thrown in the trash, rather than recycled. Transporting all those bottles to landfills via trucks is expensive, and produces greenhouse gases. When a city and its resides reduces bottled water consumption, it means less trash to transport and fill up landfills, and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, using tap water is much cheaper than buying bottled water. Municipal tap water is safe and is typically more closely monitored than bottled water.

City of Chicago officials estimate the tax will secure an extra $10.5 million annually.

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Salt Lake City, UT, Mayor Calls for Ban on Bottled Water

by Rena Ragimova Jan 14, 2009

The Achievement

In October, 2006 Salt Lake City, UT Mayor Rocky Anderson called for a ban on bottled water and asked city employees to voluntarily stop using single-serving bottled waters at city offices, meetings and events. To substitute for bottled water, Anderson asked city departments and restaurants to fill reusable water pitchers, cups, and bottles with local tap water.

Read more »

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