NACo survey: Cost cutting drives counties to green government efforts
Driven by the need to reduce the cost of running local government, the nation’s counties are implementing green government strategies that they say have resulted in savings, according to a new survey from the Washington-based National Association of Counties (NACo). Energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy generation, as well as waste management, are the most common sustainability efforts counties make, according to NACo’s Green Government Initiative survey.
In June, NACo surveyed all of America’s 3,068 counties on their current and future sustainability strategies, priorities and challenges as part of the Green Government Initiative’s “2010 County Sustainability Strategies” report. County officials from 572 counties responded, or 18 percent of counties.
Some of the key findings include:
• 68 percent of the 750 respondents affirmed that their county has sustainability strategies under way.
• Approximately 45 percent said the most important benefit counties are realizing from sustainability efforts is cost savings.
• Thirty-four percent of the responding counties said that they have a staff position dedicated to coordinate green government efforts.
The survey found that funding for the green government initiatives is the most significant challenge inhibiting counties from accomplishing all sustainability strategies, followed by a lack of staff time. Along with energy efficiency/renewable energy and waste management, respondents said they would like to further invest in green building construction/renovation, water conservation/reuse, green purchasing, local food systems and green economic development. ”Counties are clearly national leaders in pursuing green government efforts to help protect the environment and save taxpayers’ money,” said Green Government Initiative Chairwoman and Sarasota County, Fla., Commissioner, Shannon Staub. “This survey is just one more example of the work NACo’s Green Government Initiative is doing to help us all better understand county sustainability strategies, what efforts are working, and where do we go from here.”
Download NACo’s “2010 County Sustainability Strategies.”