FORT WORTH, Texas -- A Message for Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price
With the summer heating up, it is a great time to think about ways to save energy. It’s vitally important for everyone in our great city do their part by practicing smart water, energy and travel habits. But the city needs to do its part too! Cutting back on energy use is not only good for the environment, but it saves money. Saving a little dough has never been more important in our city than now.
Considering the number of city-owned vehicles criss-crossing Fort Worth every day, there’s a big opportunity to “go green” by focusing on the city’s fleet. The city consumes roughly 3 million gallons of fuel annually.
Back in 2006, the city smartly adopted a Clean Fleet Vehicle Policy, joining the efforts of the Regional Transportation Council to help improve mobility and air quality. Today, we’re encouraging fuel conservation while exploring new vehicle and fuel options to reduce costs even further. Vehicles that use cleaner burning fuels like Compressed Natural Gas will certainly be a part of that equation. Fort Worth has yet to jump into Electric Vehicles just yet, but we’re watching EV technology closely as performance, reliability and costs improve.
Another major opportunity for savings can be found in the city’s energy use at the countless city buildings and offices throughout Fort Worth. The city has made great strides to cut costs and reduce energy demand. For example the Village Creek Water Reclamation Facility currently generates 50 percent its own electrical demand, and there are plans to increase that to 90 percent soon.
Several weeks ago, the City Council approved a resolution committing more than 200 of our city buildings to the Better Buildings Challenge, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. This special challenge is a major national movement with the goal of reducing energy and water use by 20 percent by the year 2020. City staff is working now to formalize the plans that will take our conservation programs to the next level. We’re excited to see the result.
As staff continues to manage the city’s energy demand, they found a great partner in Oncor. With Oncor’s help, we’ve been able to offset the cost of energy conservation projects by more than a million dollars with another $1.2 million pending approval. All of these efforts have the city on track for more than $6 million in savings annually. That’s really something!
One of the biggest concerns regarding energy conservation, especially during these hot Texas summers, is water use. I was surprised to learn that our Water Department’s energy use represents about half of the city’s energy budget. Amazing! That’s why it’s so important that we do our best to conserve and use water wisely.
Fort Worth has several programs in place to alleviate some of the costs for water including the SmartFlush Voucher Program, which provides ultra-high efficiency toilets at no cost to eligible citizens. The city also offers irrigation audits to make sure residential water sprinkler systems are operating at peak efficiency. Similarly, the city’s SmartWater Audits more broadly assist businesses with water conservation.
Yet another water smart program in Fort Worth is working to reduce the use of fully treated water for those uses that don’t require treated water—such as business irrigation. The city of Fort Worth has a significant recycled and reclaimed water initiative under way, including a major “purple pipe” program to deliver reclaimed water to DFW International Airport. This not only saves DFW Airport money, it also helps take pressure off our water treatment plants as they work to meet the water demands of our growing city.
Looking to the future, it is exciting to see the many ways our community will become more responsible with its financial and natural resources. We’re only just scratching the surface!
“Going green” isn’t a fad or fading trend—here in Fort Worth we’re taking this very seriously to build a responsible and efficient city government for our citizens.
SOURCE: City of Fort Worth