Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Local Success Story

The task of "going green" can be daunting, but even the smallest of efforts are a success. So if you're feeling overwhelmed, take heart and read this success story about our very own city of Fargo, ND:
Fargo has received national recognition for its efforts to protect the environment. The Earth Day Network ranked Fargo as the number one urban environment in its evaluation of 72 cities across the country. The evaluation was based on seven factors, including air quality, toxics and waste, and drinking and surface water.

Fargo city leaders are continually looking for ways to add environmentally friendly features to the city's buildings and operations.

Features currently in place
The city's new landfill transfer station and baling facility will greatly reduce the amount of litter being scattered by the wind at the landfill. The new facility allows garbage to be unloaded indoors and baled prior to its placement in the landfill. The building design utilizes renewable energy resources available at the landfill, including methane gas, solar energy and wind energy. The methane gas is placed in a generator to produce electricity for sale to a local power cooperative. Exhaust and engine heat from the generator are used to help heat the transfer station; solar panels and a wind turbine supply electricity to the station. Avoided cost and new sales of electricity are projected to generate more than $370,000 annually on a $1 million investment.
See the energy being produced today at the landfill.

Renewable energy features of the Metro Area Transit (MAT) Garage include a recycling system for water used to wash buses and a high-performance glaze on the outside of the building that will save on heating and cooling costs. The building’s roof is designed to accommodate solar panels; these might be added to the garage to generate energy if they become more economical in the future.

The MAT bus fleet operates on a biodiesel mixture all year long. Biodiesel is made from soybean and other vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled cooking grease or oil. Biodiesel releases less carbon dioxide and particulate matter than traditional diesel fuel. Biodiesel can also save money for MAT; in April 2008, it cost 20 cents less per gallon than regular diesel fuel. There are many environmental and economic benefits for riders of Metro Area Transit.

The city’s Information Technology Department is doing its part to use energy-efficient equipment throughout the city with the help of the federal government’s Energy Star program. Energy Star staff evaluate products based on their energy efficiency and life span, as well as on the amount of environmentally sensitive materials used to make them. Of all the computer equipment purchased by the city, almost half the monitors and desktops meet Energy Star requirements. The city also has a no-landfill policy for its computer equipment. The city donates used equipment in good condition to local nonprofit organizations.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day each year, the city requires residents to limit lawn watering to every other day. This reduces water use by about 2.5 million gallon each summer and reduces the amount of money and energy needed for water and wastewater treatment.

Fargo now uses LED traffic lights. These bulbs last longer and require less electricity than the type used previously, saving the city an estimated $40,000 per year.
Do you have a success story you would like to share? Contact the Creation Care Committee; we would love to know how you have been making care for creation a part of your life!

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