Municipal Sustainability Survey
Over the span of two weeks, Green Cities™ Florida identified and contacted 100 cities in Central Florida to find out what sustainability initiatives they have on their radar and what topics they would like to learn about at the conference. Nearly 40 cities responded to our call, sharing their programs which cover everything from renewable energies and water conservation to community education and green work force development.
Florida is taking its place as one of the nation’s leaders in sustainability, looking ahead to create a better future for Florida citizens, children, communities, business and government.
Here are our top 10 picks for cities leading the sustainability movement in Florida, along with examples of transformations currently underway.
Through grant money provided by the Department of Energy, Orange County is currently installing a 1 megawatt (MG) solar array atop the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, making it the largest solar array of its kind in the Southeast. In addition the City of Orlando has established, Green Works Business, an educational program designed to provide the Orlando business community with comprehensive best practices for sustainability in business.
- Deland – www.beacononlinenews.com
The City of Deland has systematically changed its water program to encourage conservation by adopting a tier structured rate program and rebates for customers who switch to energy star appliances.
- Jacksonville – www.coj.net
Jacksonville has Florida’s 2nd largest community owned utility, JEA, which generates green energy by burning methane gas from one of the city’s sewage treatment plants and from several local landfills, capturing the energy that would be lost if they merely burned off the gas.
- South Daytona – http://www.southdaytona.org/egov/docs/1238690842802.htm
The City of South Daytona has issued a Green Mission Statement, which proclaims the policy of the City of South Daytona to finance, plan, design, construct, manage, and maintain its facilities and buildings to be sustainable. It is the City’s intent that all buildings constructed meet criteria standards of USGBC, LEED, Florida Green Building Coalition Green Building certification, or any comparable performance criterion.
- Fort Myers – www.cityftmyers.com
Fort Myers encourages strict green practices in all city departments including Parks and Recreation and has a close relationship with the University of Florida extension services which helps educate city staff on energy saving techniques, water conservation and air quality.
- Gainesville – www.cityofgainesville.org
The City of Gainesville has implemented a four day work week for all city employees, closing down all city offices one work day per week which reduces utility use and creates pollution reduction resulting in big dollar savings for the city.
- Pinellas Park – www.pinellas-park.com
Pinellas Park enforces landscaping codes which “green” the city, encouraging use of native drought resistant plants, reclaimed water usage and shading of parking lots. In addition, they city has purchased hybrid vehicles for use by city workers in select departments.
- Clearwater – www.clearwater-fl.com/green
The City of Clearwater has started monitoring and tracking energy use within government buildings. After current usage rates are determined, the city will develop a plan to reduce energy use. The same methodology will be followed for solid waste, recycling, and water use.
- Tallahassee – www.talgov.com
Tallahassee’s city bus service, StarMetro has park and ride routes called 80X routes. These routes service the community’s highly populated suburbs, offering free Wi-Fi and over 88 i-stops which are stand-alone solar powered bus shelters, providing increased safety for evening riders while utilizing renewable energies for power.
- Venice – www.venicegov.com
The City of Venice recently began green planning efforts by adopting the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. Additionally, funding has been secured for formal application towards Florida Green Building Coalition’s (FGBC) Local Government Green Standards through the Planning Department, and certification by both the City Engineer and Building Official through Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
Thanks to the cities that participated in the Green Cities™ Florida Survey, we pinpointed the following top priorities that Florida leaders would like addressed at the conference.
- Alternative water supplies and water conservation as a whole
- How emerging technologies will be used in conservation efforts
- How to market sustainability to the public
- Green house gas reduction strategies
- How the American Recovery and Investment Act will affect job growth and retention
- How to apply for funding to assist with the implementation of sustainable initiatives
- Implementing renewable energies in new building technologies
- LEED certification requirements
- Cost benefit of implementing green practices
- How municipalities can influence policy makers to allocate funds to help achieve greening goals
- How other cities handle their recycling programs in the current economic climate
- How to get the community involved in greening projects and save money doing it
- Alternatives to landfills
- Alternative energy sources