Happy Earth Day from First Choice Power! Earth Day was established to foster environmental awareness and promote preservation of the earth and it’s natural resources. And with today being Earth Day, we thought it would be fitting to showcase how major towns in Texas are supporting green efforts.
The City of Dallas developed GreenDallas.net to offer assistance and green knowledge to its citizens through city-wide programs, events, and partnerships. While many of the City’s programs are geared towards water conservation, they have an overall goal to save citizens energy and money too. Here are just a few:
- Cease the Grease – To prevent citizens from pouring grease down the drains and clogging drains and sewer lines, Dallas created drop off centers for people to drop off their grease filled containers. The City then uses that grease to convert into biodiesel.
- Minor Plumbing Repair Program – This program offers assistance to those who need help with minor plumbing problems and fixtures that may cause water waste and higher water bills.
- Throne for Your Home Toilet Voucher – Citizens can receive up to $90 per toilet from the Dallas Water Utilities to replace older high-flow toilets with high-efficiency low-flow toilets. They also offer rebates if already purchased.
Across the Metroplex, Fort Worth is doing its part to create green programs for its citizens. Such efforts include:
- Crud Cruiser – The City of Fort Worth has a mobile collection trailer that travels to neighborhoods to collect household hazardous waste (from March – November).
- Fort Worth is working on Stormwater Quality and opened up the Environmental Collection Center. It is where you can drop off household hazardous waste such as chemicals, detergents, pesticides, fertilizers, etc. The goal is to dispose of them properly rather than illegally dumping them down the storm drains, which flows directly to the nearest body of water without being treated.
- Air Quality - The City enforces the federal Clean Air Act, which comes from the EPA. It deals with outdoor air monitoring, permitting, compliance inspection, complaint investigation and enforcement.
Down in the Valley, Corpus Christi has developed several initiatives to green its neighborhoods and public spaces.
- Bike & Hike Plan – the City, County and Regional Transportation Authority have joined forces to create an extensive plan to provide access to cycling, walking and hiking trails around Corpus to get people outdoors and moving and to promote a greener environment.
- Rewards for Recycling – Ziplock and RecycleBank have teamed up with the City of Corpus Christi to offer a program that uses Smart Carts to track household recycling participation. Each time a household recycles; the amount is recorded and converted into Recyclebank Points, which can be redeemed at www.Recyclebank.com for rewards from thousands of local businesses.
- Community Go Green initiatives – The City provides residents with two trash receptacles—one for generalized garbage such as food waste and one reserved for recyclable items.
Space City has made great strides to reduce the levels of pollution in its skies through a collection of excellent programs.
- Energy Efficiency Incentive Program (EEIP) – The EEIP will provide a financial incentive to help motivate office building owners, property managers, and tenants located in the City of Houston to reduce energy consumption and increase the economic performance of their building.
- Electric Vehicles – Starting with just two Toyota Prius vehicles in 2002, today the City’s light duty passenger fleet has become over 50% hybrid.
- Houston Bikeways Program – The City of Houston offers over 300 miles interconnected bikeway network spanning across 500 square miles. The network includes bike lanes, bike routes, signed-shared lanes and shared-use paths.
San Antonio rounds out our list with a series of protocols created to increase the energy efficiency of city programs and facilities, as well as improving air quality.
- The City received an Energy Efficiency Community Block Grant (EECBG). The grant is being used to implement energy efficiency and conservation strategies in four program areas: Community Green Projects; Municipal Retrofits; Transportation Enhancements; and Mission Verde Center. Some examples of those are:
- The City installed the Airport Solar Installation on the roof of a parking garage at the San Antonio International Airport.
- Heat-repelling solar window film was installed on 57,000 square feet of window area at 36 facilities.
- The City created the Air Quality Health Alert Plan (AQHAP) , which establishes guidelines and procedures for reducing emissions of ozone-forming compounds into the atmosphere, both on “Alert” days as well as throughout the ozone season.
Austin is one of the leading cities in Texas making green efforts, not only to better their city, but to set an example for other cities as well. In fact, in 2013 the City of Austin was awarded a national 2013 Climate Leadership Award by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the work they have done. While they have several eco-friendly programs and initiatives, here are a few to point out:
- The City of Austin created The Office of Sustainability’s Climate Program to make Austin the leading city in the nation in the fight against climate change. “In 2007, Austin City Council passed a resolution which established a Climate Protection Plan to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2011, Council approved the Austin Energy Resource, Generation, and Climate Protection Plan, which updated goals to more aggressively mitigate emissions through 2020.”
- Dillo Dirt – Since 1989, the compost made by the City of Austin has been created from collected curbside yard trimmings and treated sewage sludge. According to their city website, the heat generated in composting the “Dillo Dirt” is sufficient to virtually eliminate human and plant pathogens. Dillo Dirt meets all Texas and EPA requirements for “unrestricted” use and is available to purchase.
- Zero Waste Master Plan – This is a very ambitious plan set for residents, businesses and organizations in Austin. The plan to is to “divert more than 90 percent of waste from disposal to productive reuse and recycling by 2040.”
What sorts of green initiatives has your Texas town created in order to make life more eco-friendly? Share your city’s efforts in the comments!