Local Government Update: Platform Responses
In the March 26, 2007, edition of the Local Government Update e-mail newsletter, American City & County asked readers if green technology is a good financial and environmental investment. Below are some of the responses.
• “In 2002, [Little Rock, Ark.,] implemented energy-efficient upgrades to its facilities, including solar-heated domestic hot water, geothermal heat pumps, and a city-wide traffic and pedestrian signal retrofit. As a result of this project, the city generates more than $300,000 annually in energy savings. Additionally, we will soon break ground on a methane gas recovery system [at a Little Rock landfill] that will create more than $7 million in [methane sales to a local manufacturer] for the city over the next 15 years. For Little Rock, green projects are more than just a good investment, they’re the future of municipal planning, and we’re excited to be at the forefront of this movement.” — Little Rock, Ark., City Manager Bruce Moore
• “The right green design and green technology can be an excellent investment. For example, ‘right sizing’ [high-voltage alternating current] for a building with energy-efficient windows and proper insulation will save on up-front costs because the ‘right’ equipment size will be smaller than the conventional size. Also, the operating cost of fuel and electricity in green buildings can be cut by 20 to 50 percent.” — Nancy Anderson, executive director for the New York-based Sallan Foundation
• “Until we begin importing natural gas from Jupiter or Triton, if ever, fossil fuels are a limited, non-renewable resource, and they are only going to get more expensive and limited in supply. Not planning to use green, alternative, or renewable resources is committing government agencies to paying ever-increasing prices for energy use. Planning to conserve is the only sensible policy for any government agency or private entity unless they have so much money it doesn’t matter what they pay out.” — Carlton Jones, a California municipal agency registered engineer.
• “Sometimes green technology costs more upfront, sometimes it doesn’t, but it always makes business sense when done right. For example, we built water-efficiency and energy-efficiency measures into our new Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center — at no additional cost. Every year, the center will conserve 7 million gallons of water and save taxpayers $350,000 in energy costs. On top of the benefits to our local ecology, the high-performance design creates a healthy indoor environment for employees and youth in the building, with more sunlight and cleaner air.” — Carolyn Bloede, Sustainability Program manager for Alameda County, Calif.
• “Buncombe County, N.C., recently purchased eight new Toyota Prius Hybrids, adding to a fleet of 15 hybrid vehicles, in an attempt to lower fuel costs. The 2007 Toyota Prius Hybrids get an estimated 50 miles to each gallon. The vehicles being replaced got an estimated 19 miles to the gallon. With this increase in miles per each gallon, the savings in fuel costs is estimated at $11,000 per year, [and the county will] conserve 628 gallons of gas each year. Additionally, the county [has] converted all the landfill equipment and some public safety equipment to bio-diesel fuel [and] is using ‘reflective roof systems’ wherever possible. The HVAC savings [generated by the reflective roof systems] can be as much as 30% of the cost to cool the facility.” — Kathy Hughes, Buncombe County public relations director