Green Business Bureau Blog
How City Officials can make Cities Green?
Paint Your Town Green
Paint your town green today; well, at least paint the city green ceremoniously. Just as families choose where to live on the performance of the local school district, environmentally conscious people are choosing to live in green cities. For this reason, municipalities are catching on to the fact that they too need to become environmentally conscious – and, they are realizing the benefits of doing such. Not only do the cities benefit from more citizens relocating to their area, but they have realized that going green can indeed save money and help continuing to tighten budgets. There are several ways to make your city green, starting with small changes to the enormous.
Change to CFLs
One of lowest cost and greatest energy saving options available to a municipality is to upgrade all their lighting to compact fluorescent lights (CFL). These lights will cost more than a regular light bulb but pack a punch in the energy savings arena. A city can cut energy costs for lightning nearly in half with properly installed CFL bulbs and can prevent tons of carbon emissions from being released into the atmosphere. As the change to CFL bulbs grows to completion a recycling program will need to be in place since CFL bulbs do contain a minute amount of mercury, but establishing this program will also help give citizens the confidence to have a place to dispose of their own bulbs, too. Changing to LEDs is becoming an even better option, though these bulbs are still in their infancy.
Put Recycling Bins Out
Instead of having simple trash cans placed throughout town, change these areas to mini recycling centers. Many companies produce attractive recycling bins that have a single unit with multiple openings to deposit cans, bottles, and plastics, along with regular waste. If given the opportunity, people would choose to recycle when possible instead of tossing them in the trash. There are waste management sites across the nation that will pay for recyclables turned in, and could help offset any cost of keeping the trash separated.
All cities have lawns that need to be maintained and flower beds or pots that need to be filled come spring time. Creating a composting system within the municipality’s parks department can offset the cost of new fertilizer and pesticides every year. By composting organic waste a municipality can take pride in producing their own fertilizer. Simply have directions in employee eating areas for the type of organic waste that can be composted and have a special bin for the waste to be collected in. Many universities have shown that composting does save money and provides an excellent fertilizer. Cities can reinforce the green aspect of composting by placing signs in gardens and on flower pots stating that city compost was used for this plant.
Upgrade Public Transportation and Vehicle Fleets
A huge portion of carbon emissions for a municipality comes from their fleet of vehicles, whether vehicles to transport personnel back and forth, dump trucks and loaders for road construction, or mass transit vehicles. The United States government has already implemented a policy where they plan to have all vehicles changed over to alternative fuel within the next few years. The benefits for alternative fuel vehicles includes lower fuel consumption and cost, less pollution placed into the air, and possible tax rebates from the government. A prominent alternative fuel vehicle placed on these vehicles will help bring attention to the public that the city is making the best use of their tax money.
Give Yourself a Pat on the Back
The most important and final step for a municipality is to make sure they let the public know that they are moving to, or have become a green city. Quietly recycling trash and upgrading buildings is nice, but sometimes you do need to simply stand on the soap box and scream at the top of your lungs.
Even with local newspapers printing articles on the green upgrades, word still spreads the fastest by word of mouth. Print on your billings what you’ve done to become green. Post big, clear, eye-catching signs in the area of recycling bins, or on buildings that have green attributes. Have pamphlets for your citizens to take at the city hall for ways they can match the city’s devotion to going green. Create ordinances and reward programs to help citizens and businesses achieve a certain environmental status. Large movements and trends are always started by a single person or small group; let your local government be the leader in a green movement, and not just a reactionary force.