Environment-friendly city boosts resources, growth

Published: Wednesday, April 22, 2009 7:00 am
position to coordinate the city's energy contracts and purchases, guide departmental energy conservation efforts and provide feedback to city trusts. The energy manager's main task is to find opportunities for more efficient use of the city's resources to support and maintain environmental compliance.

A new library on NW 122nd and the Bricktown fire station will both be City Hall's first major projects to be LEED-certified. The guidelines of LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, ensure construction processes and materials meet standards of environmental sustainability set by the U.S. Green Building Council.

And city leaders are seeking a $150,000 grant from the U.S. Energy Department for a compressed natural gas (CNG) fast-fill refueling station. The city's service fleet already has about 60 vehicles that run on CNG, and they refuel at six stations across the city. But those pumps are slow and city officials said they need the upgrade before the fleet can be expanded.

When asked what he does personally to be earthier, Cornett said he focuses on recycling and the proper disposal of hazardous materials such as paint.

City Hall spokeswoman Christy Yager said one of the biggest green changes in her life has been an awareness of water usage at home. She even goes so far as to barge in and turn off the faucet when her husband is brushing his teeth. She also has cut back on energy waste by washing all of her clothes in cold water.

The next goal on Yager's list? Taking her own plastic container to restaurants for leftovers instead of putting more Styrofoam in a landfill.

Couch said he's changed all the lights in his home to more energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs, is careful to leave rooms in the dark and monitors the house thermostat.

"I probably don't do enough," he said.

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