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San Francisco, Calif.’s energy efficiency measures save businesses and residents $21 million annually

by Rena Ragimova Dec 13, 2008

The Achievement

The City of San Francisco has implemented sweeping and innovative energy efficiency measures for both government operations and the San Francisco community.

To reduce community-wide energy use, the City implemented the following successful commercial and multi-family residential energy efficiency programs: Power Savers, SF Peak Energy Program, and SF Energy Watch.

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Chicago, IL, Waste to Profit Network Diverts 22,000 Tons of Waste from Landfills

by Rena Ragimova Dec 11, 2008

The Achievement

Under the leadership of Mayor Richard M. Daley, the Chicago Waste to Profit Network was launched in late 2006 to benefit Chicago-area businesses through a multi-industry collaborative approach to identify and realize opportunities for cost savings and innovation. The goal of the Chicago Waste to Profit Network is to promote business collaboration to find new ways of transforming business waste into more profitable and innovative uses.

 

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San Francisco, CA, Executive Order Bans Purchase of Bottled Water

by Rena Ragimova Dec 10, 2008

The Achievement

An executive order issued by San Francisco, Calif., Mayor Gavin Newsom prohibited using city money to buy bottled water by December, 2007. The change came in the wake of a 2006 San Francisco Chronicle story that found the City government had paid more than $2 million for water, paper cups and dispenser rentals in recent years.

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 are 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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Seattle, WA, Recycling Ordinance a Huge Success

by Rena Ragimova Dec 10, 2008

The Achievement

Since January 2005, the City of Seattle, Wash., has prohibited the disposal of certain recyclables from residential, commercial, and self-haul garbage by law. The new recycling ordinance is aimed at preventing recyclable or compostable paper, cardboard, aluminum cans, plastic bottles, and yard debris from entering landfills.

The Benefits

The City hopes the new ordinance will save residents and businesses as much as $2 million per year and keep future garbage costs low, as well as help to reverse the decline in Seattle’s recycling rates. The measure is projected to achieve an annual reduction of 260,000 tons of eCO2. Read more »

San Francisco, CA, Achieves 70 Percent Landfill Diversion Rate

by Rena Ragimova Dec 09, 2008

The Achievements

Through wide-reaching and progressive measures – from expanded plastics recycling to curbside composting to requirements for reusing or recycling construction and demolition materials – the City of San Francisco, Calif., is nearing an aggressive goal: a 75 percent landfill diversion rate by 2010 and zero waste in 2020.

  • Diversion has increased from 35 percent in 1996, to 70 percent in 2006.
  • Food waste/compostables collection has increased from 0 to 100,000 tons annually over the same period.
  • Diversion (recycling, composting, re-use, etc) accounted for 1,415,159 tons, or 70 percent of the total waste stream.
  • Only 663,404 tons of waste went to landfills, the City’s lowest disposal in 30 years.

 

The Benefits

Among many benefits of this high diversion rate, San Francisco has drastically lowered emissions of landfill methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

 

[Source: August 5, 2008 Summary Report: San Francisco Actions to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions] Read more »

Irvine, Calif., Wins Flex Your Power Award for Education and Media

by Rena Ragimova Dec 09, 2008

The Achievements

In December 2008, the City of Irvine was honored with a 6th Annual Flex Your Power Award by the State of California. Irvine won in the Education and Media category for its Community Energy Partnership (CEP) program.

The CEP delivered outreach and education on a large scale to multiple sectors of the community. The program included the following elements:

  • “A Brighter Future for Irvine,” a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) distribution program in which more than 69,000 free CFL bulbs were distributed to residents and businesses.
  • Energy efficiency tune-ups for residences and small businesses, which covered water conservation as well as energy efficiency
  • A standards-based science curriculum for 4th grade students (PEAK) that taught smart energy management in homes, schools, and the greater community.

 

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Chicago, Ill., Leads U.S. in Creating ‘Green Alleys’

by Rena Ragimova Dec 01, 2008

The Achievement

Chicago is the alley capital of America with its 2,000 miles of small service streets cutting across the city.  By the end of 2008 the city hopes to complete 46 “green alleys” under Chicago’s new Green Alley initiative. The green alleys will be retrofitted with environmentally sustainable road-building materials such as more permeable concrete where water can penetrate the soil through the pavement itself.

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Albuquerque, NM, uses wind energy for 20% of its government operations

by Rena Ragimova Nov 30, 2008

The Achievement

In Albuquerque, NM, 20% of the electricity used by the city government comes from wind farms located in New Mexico through the Sky Blue Program. This totals 18 million kilowatt hours each year. Read more »

Chattanooga, Tenn., Uses Recycled Asphalt on Streets

by Rena Ragimova Nov 27, 2008

The Achievement

In 2007 the City of Chattanooga, Tenn., began implementing a new process for recycling asphalt and using it as the topcoat for repaving city streets.

The Benefits

The “greener” mixture contains up to 50% recycled asphalt product and costs approximately 20% less than new asphalt. Plus, the new mixture lasts at least 15 years, compared to 11 or 12 years for a regular mix. The production process requires less energy and heat, and the applications of cooler green asphalt reduce the generation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when the asphalt is put down.  Read more »

Albuquerque, NM, Dramatically Decreases Emissions Through Methane Capture

by Rena Ragimova Nov 26, 2008

The Achievement

Capturing methane its landfill has been by far the leading factor in Albuquerque, NM’s dramatic drop in greenhouse emissions, according to the Department of Environmental Health. The department estimates the greenhouse emissions from city operations decreased by two-thirds from 2000 to 2005 -- from 316,383 to 105,784 metric tons. The bulk of these improvements came from capturing methane gas that would otherwise have been emitted from landfills. Read more »

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