Texas has been making headlines over the past few years with its investment in developing wind energy technology. In 2016 alone, the Lone Star State has set records for wind energy generation as a percentage of electricity production.
Because of this strong focus on renewable energy across the state, let’s take look at some of the greenest cities in Texas and the inventive green initiatives they are using to save energy and water.
It should come as no surprise to most Texans that Austin occupies the top spot in this list. The list of their green programs contains some really big hitters:
- A commitment to reducing waste sent to landfills by 90% by 2040
- Cash incentives for homeowners to replace turf (which, somewhat ironically, requires heavy watering to stay “green”) with native plant beds
- The goal of net-zero community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2050
- The pursuit of carbon-free power generation by 2050
Dallas, like most cities, wants to reduce its energy and water usage as it puts more money in the city’s pocket. However, I want to focus on a more education-based project that highlights the city’s efforts toward creating a greener future.
The City of Dallas Environmental Education Initiative (EEI) launched in 2006 and its main focus is to provide education for its residents on water conservation and recycling. This program is somewhat unique among Texas cities, as it engages the community on all levels, from hands-on activities for K-5 aged school children, to professional development opportunities for teachers. Efforts also include large community outreach events that can vary from lessons on how to compost to the basics of DIY plumbing.
The EEI also provides resources to schools that wish to receive EEI certification, these include recycling bins, development workshops, and lessons from EEI teachers.
By far the smallest in population on this list, the City of Denton is still showing some of the big boys how it’s done.
- Denton completed a landfill-to-gas energy project in late 2008. This produces enough energy to power over 1500 homes.
- Since 2006, Denton has increased the use of alternative fuels in its fleet of vehicles from 5% to 35% (a 700% increase).
- The city promotes local agriculture not only to reduce the inherent waste and pollution associated with the transport of food across the country, but also to boost the local economy and culture. Classes are offered to help residents who wish to start their own gardens.
- In one year, Denton reduced its carbon footprint by nearly a half-million tons of CO2, showing that a large change can be made quickly and effectively. To put that in perspective, the energy saved could power the average house for nearly 33,000 years.
I encourage you to take a look at the green initiatives offered in your hometown and get involved! The city can only do so much without the help of its residents!