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Old Posted Jun 13, 2007, 4:21 PM
DanJ's Avatar
DanJ DanJ is offline
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 34
City-Wide Sustainable Policies and Projects

So I thought it would be cool to have a thread about city-wide sustainable commitments. I know there are definitely some cities out there that are pushing hard to get sustainable design incorporated into government buildings, as well as promote private practices to jump on the bandwagon as well.

Looking at a city as a whole gives an interesting perspective on sustainable design, and has the opportunity to make some serious changes that independent building practices cannot do alone.

I’ll start with my city of Philadelphia to get things rolling.

Philadelphia was one of the “Large Cities” that participated in the “Large Cities Climate Leadership Group and Clinton Climate Initiative,” as well as the “U.S. Mayors’ climate Protection Agreement.” As part of these groups, Philadelphia has agreed “to meet or beat the targets recommended for the US under the Kyoto Treaty.”

Recently, our good Mayor, Mr. John F. Street recently passed a “Local Action Plan for Climate Change.” The 30 page document outlines ways in which the city will promote sustainable practices. It details ways that many different divisions of the city will be incorporated, including Buildings, Transportation, Industry and Waste, as well as Greening and Open Spaces.

Some of the more noteworthy requirements include –

LEED silver certification on “all new construction and major renovation
projects,” and the use of EnergyStar qualified products in these buildings

Purchasing of wind energy to meet 5% of electricity needs, with
evaluation of the feasibility of installing solar systems on City-owned

Reduction of vehicle fuel consumption from both city and non-city
vehicles by 5% from 2006 levels by 2010 (hopefully by bettering public
transportation systems)

Increase the city’s recycling rate from 6% to 10% by 2010

Maintain a 15% tree canopy for the city

Establish an “Office of Sustainability and Environment” to head and
monitor the sustainability efforts of the city.

Although it is certainly not the most forward looking city plan around, it will definitely do something to promote sustainability in a city which has since had not the best reputation for city health and environmental practices.

So what innovative practices are getting set up in YOUR city?
“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.”
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Old Posted Jun 13, 2007, 9:54 PM
CONative's Avatar
CONative CONative is offline
Mile High Guy
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 822

Reduce Greenhouse Emissions
Reduce Denver per capita greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2011. Work in partnership with other local governments, universities and the business community to develop and implement effective strategies to reduce the risk of and potential consequences of global climate change.

Increase City Forest Coverage
Plant thousands of new trees annually in our parks, natural areas and on private property, thus increasing Denver's tree canopy from 6 percent to a total of 18 percent tree cover, as identified in the Denver Parks Game Plan. (This is in a high desert city where trees are not natural)

Reduce Waste
Increase Denver's residential recycling by 50 percent in the next year and reduce total landfilled household waste by 30 percent (130,000 tons) over the 2004 baseline by 2011.

Utilize Renewable Energies
Construct solar and methane power plants capable of powering/heating the equivalent of over 2,500 homes, and generating revenues to help support other Greenprint Denver programs.

Increase Green Built Affordable Housing
Increase the incentives for energy-efficient affordable housing to $1,250,000 within five years. Increase the funding available for energy efficiency improvements for low-income residences.

Implement City Green Building Policy
Require that all new city buildings and major renovations be certified under the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED® Silver standard and meet the EPA's Energy Star® guidelines.

Expand City's Green Motor Fleet
Expand the city's "Green Fleet" by ensuring that when replacing light-duty vehicles (excluding patrol cars), they are replaced with hybrids or the highest-efficiency vehicles available. Continue the recent progress made in shifting all diesel vehicles to biodiesel B20 fuel.

Promote and Leverage Mass Transit
Decrease reliance on automobiles through increased public transit access and use, transit-oriented development, and bike and pedestrian enhancements. Boost mass transit use by city employees by 10 percent within one year, and increase by 20 percent the new development located within a half mile of existing transit stations by 2011.

Improve, Protect and Conserve Water
Significantly improve water quality in the South Platte River by 2011 through a combination of activities, including maintenance and repair of sanitary and storm sewers, education and outreach, and enhanced data collection, analysis and tracking. Use recycled water for parks and public areas, and promote water conservation in both building and landscape use.

Promote Green Industry Economic Development
Partner with the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation to advance high performance building and energy efficiency in the private sector. Help revitalize 35 acres of formerly polluted lands in Denver (Brownfield redevelopment) to support urban development and environmental equity. Position Denver as a regional center for balanced and renewable energy and green industries by creating 1,000 new training and job opportunities in these areas for metro Denver residents by 2011.


- Denver was recognized in 2005 and 2006 by the national group SustainLane as one of the Top 10 Cities in the Nation for sustainable practices. The city received high marks for its land use planning, environmental systems at Denver International Airport, water quality, and other efforts.

- On September 21, 2005, Denver was honored with a Most Valuable Pollution Prevention (MVP2) award from the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR). Denver was recognized for reducing the amount of hazardous waste generated from its operations by 83 percent over the past seven years - nearly a 12 percent reduction each year

- Denver has instituted the Environmental Champions award for employees who promote environmental protection and conservation strategies.

- In their July 2005 issue, Reader's Digest ranked Denver 6th in their list of The 50 Cleanest (and Dirtiest) Cities in America. The magazine scored each of the 50 largest cities in the nation (and their surrounding counties and suburbs) on air quality, water quality, industrial pollution, Superfund sites and sanitation.

- Denver was honored as one of the Top Green Cities in the United States in 2006 by The Green Guide. The magazine scored cities on 11 criteria, including air quality, electricity use and production, environmental perspective, environmental policy, green design, green space, public health, recycling, socioeconomic factors, transportation, and water quality.

- Denver has one of the largest light-emitting diode (LED) traffic light inventories in the country. The technology uses a fraction of the power to produce brighter, longer-lasting lights that are less expensive to operate. This saves the city nearly $800,000 per year.

-According to R.L. Polk & Co., which tracks auto sales, Denver recorded 4,954 new hybrid registrations in 2006 - making it the tenth hottest market in the nation for hybrid vehicles and the most per capita. Rounding out the top ten were: San Francisco, New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Philadelphia and San Diego.

- Metro Taxi Inc. has added five new Toyota Priuses to its fleet. By 2010, the company intends to replace its entire fleet of 500 Ford Crown Victoria cars to save on fuel costs. This move could make it the first taxi service in the nation to go all-hybrid. Each taxi currently averages 70,000 miles a year at 11 mpg. The hybrids can provide up to six times that mileage...the equivalent of converting more than 2,500 privately-owned autos in the Denver area into fuel-efficient hybrids.

- The Denver metro area has currently planted 38,945 (6/13/07) trees since launching its "Mile High Million" program - which will plant 1 MILLION more trees in metro Denver by 2025.

- In 2007, Men's Health Magazine ranked Denver as the #1 cleanest tap water in the nation. Men's Health explained that its ranking was based on "the most recent data on levels of arsenic, lead, halo-acetic acids, and total trihalomethanes (linked to cancer), and total coliform bacteria, plus the number of EPA [US Environmental Protection Agency] water system violations from 1995 to 2005."

- Denver International Airport has become the first airport in the nation to be awarded membership in the Environmental Protection Agency's Performance Track, a voluntary program that recognizes facilities that consistently exceed regulatory requirements and excel in protecting human health and the environment. "Denver International Airport is not only one of the busiest aviation facilities in the world, it is one of the greenest," said EPA Assistant Regional Administrator Steve Tuber.

- In 2004, Denver International became the first commercial airport in the country to attain ISO 14001 certification for its Environmental Management System, which encompasses all activities within the 34,000-acre site.

- Denver International Airport's fleet is 100% alternative and includes vehicles powered by compressed natural gas, hybrid technology and biodiesel.

-The City of Denver was recently recognized by the Solid Waste Association of North America with the 2006 Innovation Award, and by the National Recycling Coalition with the 2006 Outstanding Recycling Public Education award.

- In the early 90s, Denver created the first "Green Fleet" program in the nation by purchasing alternative fuel vehicles. Denver's Green Fleet is currently one of the largest in the country. More than 40% of the fleet is powered by alternatives, including 81 hybrid electric vehicles, as well as vehicles fueled by propane, compressed natural gas and biodiesel.

- Denver Water's new water recycling plant delivers over 450 million gallons of recycled water every year via 50 miles of purple pipe marked specifically for non-potable uses, such as irrigation and lakes in our parks, golf courses and wildlife preserves.

- Denver Parks and Recreation uses 28% less water today in its parks than it did in 2001 since replacing outdated irrigation systems and transforming bluegrass areas into native grasses where appropriate. Denver Water is currently funding three turf conversions at Ruby Hill Park, Milstein Grove and the Montbello islands, ultimately conserving around 20 acre feet of water.

- Denver's expanded recycling program added seven new recyclable materials and sorting is no longer required. Since the launch of the program in 2005, recycling tonnage has increased by 18%.

- Denver's Stapleton neighborhood, a massive 4.7 square mile new urban re-development, is one of the largest master planned communities in the nation to have 100% builder participation in the ENERGY STAR program.

- The $4.7 billion, 12-year plan will link Denver's suburbs together with comprehensive mass transit service through 119 miles of new light rail and commuter rail, 18 miles of bus rapid transit service, 21,000 new parking spaces at rail and bus stations, and expanded bus service

- Mayor John W. Hickenlooper's official city vehicle is a Ford Escape hybrid-electric SUV

Last edited by CONative; Jun 13, 2007 at 10:56 PM.
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Old Posted Jun 14, 2007, 1:12 PM
DanJ's Avatar
DanJ DanJ is offline
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 34
Dang, I had no idea Denver was so prominent with sustainable measures of all kinds. A lot of the work is something that could really be emulated by other cities as well. I think I’m gonna have to get a flight through Denver airport sometime soon to see what’s going on with that being so green.

Originally Posted by CONative View Post
Reduce Waste
Increase Denver's residential recycling by 50 percent in the next year
Wow that’s pretty ambitious, and one of the aspects that seems like it would be more difficult than the others since you have to rely so heavily on the public following through, rather than something the city can just commit to do.

Originally Posted by CONative View Post
Increase Green Built Affordable Housing
Increase the incentives for energy-efficient affordable housing to $1,250,000 within five years. Increase the funding available for energy efficiency improvements for low-income residences.
This is something that is pretty cool. You really don’t hear much about green building is residential spaces other than high-rise condos and stuff. To give general incentives for residences of all kinds including private homes is something that I think there should be more of, especially since its suburbs that are making some of the most substantial impacts on environment. And combined with the increase in public transit, that addresses the problem as a whole.

Originally Posted by CONative View Post
In their July 2005 issue, Reader's Digest ranked Denver 6th in their list of The 50 Cleanest (and Dirtiest) Cities in America.
Yea, Philly was definitely 7th from the bottom of the cleanliness scale...
“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.”
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Old Posted Jun 15, 2007, 8:05 AM
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SFUVancouver SFUVancouver is online now
Registered User
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Kelowna
Posts: 5,653
Some of Vancouver's eco initiatives

Recycling in Greater Vancouver has reduced the volume of waste going to the landfill by more than 50% in five years. The City of Vancouver makes a profit off of its recycling program, extracts methane from its landfill, burns it for electricity that is sold to the grid, and pipes the CO2 and waste heat to a nearby industrial-scale green house complex that grows tomatoes and other kinds of produce year-round. These initiatives have dramatically reduced the operational costs of waste management and extended the life of the City landfill by 40 years. The Greater Vancouver Regional District (metro gov't) has a Zero Waste program gretting under way that intends to end traditional garbage disposal in a decade. This is partly out of necessity because the regional dump (already 100+ km away) is full and the next closest one is hundreds of kilometres further. It is more cost efficient for the region to massively scale up recycling, composting, etc., than to buy and operate a new dump that far away.

The City of Vancouver is also developing its EcoDensity urban planning initiative. The basic principle of EcoDensity is to scale up the volume and variety of housing types available in the City and to deeply integrate sustainability into the City's path of growth. Vancouver is putting many of the core ideas of EcoDensity into practice in the Southeast False Creek neighbourhood. The initial phase of this new brownfield neighbourhood will serve as the Olympic Village for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. The eventual build-out will be on the order of 10,000 dwellings. The Olympic Village, ~1,000 dwellings, will be a minimum of LEED Gold, the community centre will be LEED Platinum, and a senior's housing building will be Net-Zero, meaning an equal amount of electicity and water will be returned to the grid than is taken from it over the course of a year. The entire neighbourhood will be a neighbourhood energy utility that siphons latent heat off of the sewers. All buildings must have at least 50% of their site be green space, combined with zero-lot-line guidelines, the architects have no choice but to incorporate extensive intensive green roofs. Every building must have viable opportunities for urban agriculture, storm water retention cisterns and landscaping, and irrigation water cannot be drawn from potable sources.

Ecodensity: http://www.vancouver-ecodensity.ca/
Southeast False Creek: http://www.city.vancouver.bc.ca/commsvcs/southeast/

Other things include the City's full support for regional mass transit infrastructure construction. A 19km automated light metro, the Canada Line, is currently under construction linking downtown Vancouver to the international airport and the City of Richmond with service throughout the corridor. Translink, the regional transportation, both roads and transit, body is in the process of replacing all the electric trolley buses that operate in Vancouver. To date about a third of the eventual 227 new electric trolley buses have been delivered. Translink is also expanding the bus fleet at a rate of about 5% a year, coupled with massive fleet replacement, bringing annual procurement to about 10-12% of the overall fleet. Included are natural gas buses and community shuttle minibuses. A 11km light rail line is also planned for the northeast part of the region, and construction will begin in the next 12 months for a 2011/12 completion.

Canada Line: www.canadaline.ca
Translink: www.translink.bc.ca

The City of Vancouver has mandated that all of its future civic buildings will be a minimum of LEED Gold. The City's Tall Building Guideline compells applicants to prove their proposed building's sustainability credentials else they be denied. To date this has yieled a glut of ground-source heat pump-equipped proposals, regenerative elevators, solar hotwater systems, passive solar design, etc...
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