Boston Joins EPA Partnership, Purchases Green Power
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the City of Boston, MA, has joined its Green Power Partnership by purchasing more green power than any local government in New England.
“I’m proud that Boston has been recognized by the U.S. EPA for its leadership in environmental quality and energy,” says Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “We will continue to develop innovative clean energy strategies to improve our environment and the quality of life in all of our neighborhoods.”
Green power is an environmentally friendly electricity product generated from renewable energy sources. Boston will purchase over eight percent of the city’s electric load, or 17,300 megawatt hours (MWh) of green energy per year, from Constellation New Energy.
EPA’s Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that seeks to increase the use of clean, renewable energy sources among leading U.S. organizations. Partners in the program purchase green power in an amount that must meet or exceed EPA benchmarks and in return receive EPA technical assistance and recognition. The program currently has more than 600 partners, including Fortune 500 companies, states, federal agencies, trade associations, and universities.
“These EPA partners help diversify this country’s energy supply by promoting alternative and renewable energy sources,” says Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “The city is to be commended for voluntarily choosing to use green power–helping to improve air quality and reduce dependence on foreign sources of energy.”
Boston’s purchase will avoid emissions of nearly 8,000 annual tons of carbon dioxide. According to the EPA, the environmental benefit of this action is the equivalent of removing the emissions of nearly 1,400 cars from the road. The purchase represents enough electricity to power both City Hall and the Tobin Community Center.
“This is yet another example of how Mayor Menino is using the purchasing power of the city to improve our environment,” says James W. Hunt III, Chief of Environment and Energy for the City of Boston. “Green power significantly improves local air quality and the respiratory health of our residents, while at the same time reducing green house gas emissions that contribute to global climate change.”
Boston joins the growing number of cities and states belonging to EPA’s Green Power Partnership including Boulder, CO; Chicago, IL; Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, and San Diego, CA; Portland, OR; Moab, UT; the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; and the State of Illinois.
For the entire list, visit: www.govinfo.bz/5963-251.
Washington State Requires Electronics Companies to Pay for Recycling
Governor Christine O. Gregoire of Washington signed into law one of the most extensive electronic waste recycling bills in the country.
The effort was led by Washington Environmental Council (WEC) Policy Director, Mo McBroom, along with the Washington Conservation Voters and the Washington Citizens for Resource Conservation, as well as local governments, charities, the Washington Retail Association, and Hewlett Packard.
The State Senate passed the Electronic Waste Recycling bill (SB 6428) on a 41 to 8 vote. The House passed the bill on a 69 to 29 vote.
The law places financial responsibility for the recycling on the companies that sell equipment in the state, rather than on consumers, and calls for a statewide electronics recycling program to be in operation by June 2009.
SB 6428 gives people a simple, free, and safe way of recycling old computers and televisions. The electronics recycling system will be established and paid for by the manufacturers of electronic equipment, with retailers and others voluntarily serving as collection points.
Manufacturers will establish and pay for the collection, transportation, and processing system throughout Washington, and retailers, charities, and local governments may voluntarily participate. According to the new law, no manufacturer can sell an electronic product in the state unless the manufacturer is participating in an approved electronic waste recycling plan.
Key features of the bill include:
- Free to households, small governments, schools, and charities
- Statewide coverage
- No new fees or taxes; manufacturers will internalize the costs
- Market driven system will result in lower costs through competition
- Limited government role
- Manufacturers’ obligations based on contribution to the waste stream
- Local retailers will not put at a disadvantage
- Easy transition to national program.
This comprehensive e-waste recycling program will dramatically reduce the amounts of lead, mercury, and other chemicals dumped into landfills and exported to developing countries. The program will provide incentives to electronics manufacturers to reduce their use of toxic chemicals, which are expensive to handle.
The State of Washington becomes the fourth state to enact legislation requiring the establishment of a statewide program for recycling electronic waste, others include California, Maine, and Maryland. An additional 19 states are considering some form of legislation on electronic waste.
To read SB 6428, visit: www.govinfo.bz/5963-252.
Clean Cities 2006 Presentations Are Available Online
More than 1,700 people attended the Clean Cities Congress and Expo 2006, held May 7 to 10, in Phoenix, AZ. The theme, Fueling Economic Solutions, was realized as 150 speakers and 85 exhibitors provided attendees with the information necessary to make sound business decisions for their fleets.
To view presentations, visit: www.govinfo.bz/5963-253.
To view photos, hear interviews, and listen to audio clips, visit: www.govinfo.bz/5963-254.
Connecticut Issues Green Cleaning Executive Order
Governor M. Jodi Rell issued an Executive Order directing all state agencies to buy and use environmentally-safe cleaning products. The order took effect immediately and agencies began transitioning to greener cleaning products.
“By using environmentally-safe cleaning products, we will take several steps forward,” says Rell. “We can create and maintain sanitary conditions in state facilities, we can minimize the potential for harm to our state employees, and we can improve indoor air quality.”
While municipal governments and school districts are not expressly subject to the requirements of the order, Rell encourages them to review their purchasing and use of cleaning products.
Under the order, the Department of Administrative Services (DAS), in consultation with the Department of Public Health, the Department of Public Works, and the Department of Environmental Protection, will establish purchasing guidelines. Within one year of the order, DAS will provide the governor with a report assessing the order’s effectiveness.
State agencies will transition to environmentally-friendly cleaning products as soon as possible in a manner that avoids the waste of existing inventories, accommodates establishment of supply chains for new products, enables the training of personnel in appropriate work practices, and allows the phase-out of products and practices inconsistent with the order.
Additionally, new contracts for the purchase of cleaning products and cleaning services will include an appropriate requirement consistent with the order and the guidelines provided by DAS.
Web Site Adds Green Fraud Advisory
The EcoLogo Program, formerly known as the Environmental Choice Program, has instituted a new Fraud Advisory to help public- and private-sector purchasers make sure the products they select are indeed green.
The advisory will list manufacturers and products falsely claiming product certification and bearing the organization’s EcoLogo label–a widely recognized certification label.
When the green movement began about 35 years ago, some manufacturers ‘self-declared’ their products to be green. Many did so through genuine ignorance, while others did it to take advantage of a hot new trend. The result was a lot of confusion. When some products were later found not to be environmentally preferable, buyers lost trust in the green movement.
“This is an important step not only to protect consumers and the Ecologo, but protect the green movement,” says Scott McDougall, President and CEO of the Ecologo Program.
For information on the Ecologo Program and its Fraud Advisory, visit: www.govinfo.bz/5963-255.
Looking to Purchase Clean Energy? Free Assistance is Available
The Responsible Purchasing Network (created by the non-profit Center for a New American Dream) and Think Energy, Inc., are offering free assistance to state and municipal governments interested in purchasing clean, renewable power. The center has teamed up with Think Energy, a consulting firm committed to clean energy, to provide three jurisdictions with professional advice and assistance in making a large purchase of clean, renewable energy.
Committing to clean energy can help jurisdictions reach greenhouse gas emission goals, and help fulfill Ambient Air Quality requirements.
“By establishing programs that reduce the use of energy generated with fossil fuels, jurisdictions are leading by example to influence larger markets and other institutions,” says Chris O’Brien, Director of the Responsible Purchasing Network. “We’re looking for a few governments willing to take the lead by shifting 25 percent of their portfolio to clean, renewable energy supplies. New technologies and existing incentives now make this practical.”
Selected state and local governments will receive a detailed evaluation of clean energy products available, including a review of costs and benefits, a look at case studies from other jurisdictions, and a practical timeline for concluding a purchase. Participating jurisdictions will also engage in direct consultations with the Responsible Purchasing Network and Think Energy.
To qualify, applicants must be a state or local government, and represent a minimum of 1,000,000 kilowatt-hours (KWh) of electrical energy use annually. Furthermore, they must have political support and an appropriate level of funding for purchasing clean energy.
Qualified candidates will be chosen that represent a diversity of geographic locations, jurisdiction sizes, scales of purchase (total MWh), and desired types of renewable energy products.
Jurisdictions can apply by visiting www.govinfo.bz/5963-256.
Applications are being accepted through July 30, 2006.
San Francisco Mayor Announces Citywide Biodiesel Plan
The San Francisco City Government has long been a leader in its commitment to alternative transportation fuels to promote clean air, encourage renewable energy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Mayor Gavin Newsom recently
issued an Executive Directive designed to increase the pace of municipal use of biodiesel.
Biodiesel is a renewable diesel fuel that is made from domestic resources such as soybean oil or other domestic fats and vegetable oils. The fuel can be used in any diesel engine with few or no modifications, and can be blended with petroleum diesel at any level.
“This makes San Francisco the largest U.S. city ever to institute such broad biodiesel use,” says Joe Jobe, National Biodiesel Board (NBB) CEO. “The mayor’s leadership in taking his city diesel fleet to B20 (a blend of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petroleum diesel) is a demonstration of true commitment to the environment, and to weaning ourselves from foreign oil.”
Since 1999, the city’s Healthy Air and Smog Prevention ordinance has established requirements for city fleets to purchase vehicles using
alternative fuels or energy-efficient vehicles with low emissions. San Francisco now has more than 800 alternative fuel vehicles in its fleets.
Several city departments and agencies have successfully used B20, including the San Francisco Airport, Department of Public Works, MUNI buses, and the San Francisco Zoo. Ferries operating out of San Francisco have also used B20 with excellent results.
San Francisco uses about 8 million gallons of diesel a year.
Additionally, Central Shops and individual department fleet managers are directed to identify vehicle and equipment applications that can most quickly be transitioned to biodiesel, and make any necessary preparations for biodiesel use, including modifications to engines or cleaning of existing diesel storage tanks.
All diesel-using departments are to draft a report listing all diesel vehicles and diesel equipment by July 1, 2006.
All diesel-using departments are directed to begin using a B20 biodiesel blend as soon as practicable in all diesel vehicles and other diesel equipment, with the following incremental goals in each department’s use of B20: initiate and complete biodiesel pilot project by December 31, 2006; 25 percent by March 31, 2007; and 100 percent by December 31, 2007.
The San Francisco Fire Department also announced that it has initiated a six-month pilot program to test and monitor the use of B20 in two fire trucks, six engines, and one ambulance. The program will take place in the southeastern section of San Francisco, an area that consistently experiences the city’s poorest air quality. Upon successful completion of the pilot program, the department expects to expand the use of biodiesel throughout the city.
According to Brie Mathews, a 12-year veteran firefighter and paramedic, the department’s use of B20 has been in the works for some time. She says she first had the idea three years ago, when she began using biodiesel in her personal car. She and a colleague pitched the idea last year.
“As firefighters and paramedics, our fire department has done well to protect us form the obvious toxins we’re exposed to in fires and hazardous situations, but what I felt we are not so easily protected from are the toxic emissions we are exposed to in everyday fire and medical calls,” says Mathews.
Biodiesel significantly cuts harmful environmental emissions, promotes greater energy independence and boosts our economy. Today, more than 600 major fleets use biodiesel commercially, and 700 retail filling stations make it available to the public.
Arkansas Municipality Goes Out For Bid on Biodiesel Pumps, Tanks
The City of Fayetteville, AR, has begun the process to run its diesel fleet on a blended fuel that includes 20 percent biodiesel (B20).
Faced with the need to purchase fuel tanks for the city fleet, Mayor Dan Coody asked his staff to check into biodiesel.
The City Council Equipment Committee approved going out to bid on new fuel tanks and pumps that will be installed at the city’s fleet yard.
David Bragg, Director of Fleet Operations, expects the blended fuel will be pumped into city vehicles within the next six months.
The bid includes a 15,000-gallon tank for petro-diesel, a 6,000-gallon tank for gasoline, and a 10,000-gallon tank for biodiesel. In addition to the tanks, the bid includes pumps that will blend the two types of diesel at the nozzle.
According to Bragg, of 500 city vehicles, about 300 are diesel and will be converted to biodiesel. Running the blend will not require any modifications to the vehicles.
“One beauty of B20 blend is that it is totally seamless to operator and vehicle,” Bragg says. “It’s like changing from regular to premium.”
Coody says that while biodiesel may eventually become less expensive to run, it will be about the same price as petro-diesel until there is a greater supply.
The cost of the equipment will be spread among city divisions, which will pay an extra five cents per gallon.
“Once the cost is recovered, which should take about three years, the five-cent charge will drop off,” says Robert Reynolds, Chairman of the Equipment Committee. “It’s all about good management and saving money.”
Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Northwest Edition.
Teleconference to Help Identify Green Computers
To help purchasers identify environmentally preferable computers, the Center for a New American Dream will co-host a teleconference on July 25, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (EDT), with the Green Electronics Council (GEC). GEC is the organization that ad-ministers the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT), the first U.S. standard for computers and electronics. To register for the free teleconference, e-mail: www.govinfo.bz/5963-257.