Monday March 17, 2008
Mayor outlines city’s green goals, encourages citizens to help
On a day celebrated by “the wearing of the green,” Mayor Jerry Abramson announced the city’s new plan to “go green and save green.”
The environmental plan, Go Green Louisville, has five major goals:
- Reduce energy usage in government buildings by 10 percent by 2010.
- Decrease city government fuel consumption by 5 percent by 2010.
- Increase recycling rates throughout the city by 10 percent by 2010.
- Expand green spaces, including planting 1,500 trees and adding 25 miles of biking and walking paths by 2010.
- Encourage citizens and businesses to be more environmentally responsible, using www.louisvilleky.gov/gogreen as a portal for education.
“Going green is more than just a buzzword in our city. We’re taking measurable steps to effect change – not only by making improvements in city operations, but also by reaching out to the people of this community,” Abramson said. “We’re also going green to save green, because many environmentally-friendly practices also save money in the long run.”
Louisville Metro Government has made progress in the past several years in environmental stewardship, including reducing the city’s vehicle fleet, consolidating government facilities, and purchasing more “green-friendly” products and vehicles.
The mayor’s City of Parks initiative, the largest municipal parks expansion in the country, is also part of the Go Green Louisville effort.
Louisville has been chosen as one of five priority partner cities for the Energy Star program. A team of city representatives has been working closely with the federal EPA program to measure energy use in city-owned buildings. Already, Energy Star is showcasing Louisville as a model for other cities trying to implement environmentally-friendly practices.
In 2005, Abramson signed the Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement, which pledges to reduce the city’s carbon emissions 7 percent over 1990 levels by 2012. Last month, the city awarded a contract to begin measuring the city’s carbon footprint.
Abramson said a new website -- louisvilleky.gov/gogreen -- is filled with information and actions individuals can take to be more environmentally-friendly. Abramson urged residents to “Take 5”, which means choosing five actions from a list of changes to improve energy efficiency, reduce fuel consumption, and increase recycling.
“We’re not saying Louisville is the greenest city around. We’ve got a long way to go,” Abramson said. “But we had to start somewhere and set goals in every corner of our government to see results. This may not always be easy, but it’s the right thing to do.”
Examples of “Take 5” for Citizens
- Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth – you’ll save four gallons of water.
- Replace four lightbulbs with compact fluorescents to save 1,800 pounds of carbon emissions over the life of the bulbs.
- Walk or ride a bicycle for short trips around your neighborhood.
- Take your own mug to the coffee shop.
- Recycle 10 aluminum cans each week – it saves enough energy to power a 25-watt fluorescent bulb for 140 hours.
- Compost your food waste.
- Recycle old computers, video game players, faxes and cell phones at the city’s CyberCycle center at 636 Meriwether Ave.
- Open the dishwasher door to air-dry dishes instead of using the machine’s drying cycle.
- Install faucet aerators to reduce hot water use.
- Purchase an electric lawn mower.
- Use rechargeable batteries.
- Pay your bills online to reduce paper use.