BG identifies sources of city’s greenhouse gas emissions – BG Independent News
By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
Before creating a community climate action plan, Bowling Green officials decided they first needed to identify the city’s own greenhouse gas emissions.
The city’s emissions inventory found that the biggest sources of greenhouse gases are the community’s water and wastewater treatment facilities.
“They are huge users of electricity and natural gas,” Amanda Gamby, sustainability and public outreach coordinator for Bowling Green, told a city council committee last week.
The city “takes the hit for all emissions” since it owns and operates the facilities, even as it treats water and wastewater from surrounding communities, Gamby said. “We are responsible for emissions.
The second most significant greenhouse gases from city facilities were from the municipal court, police division, and city administration building.
The city’s fleet of vehicles, solid waste management facilities, employee rides, streetlights and traffic signals, and the transit fleet emitted smaller emissions.
According to Gamby, it’s unusual for a small town like Bowling Green to conduct a greenhouse gas emissions inventory.
“I don’t know how many communities our size touch that,” she said.
City Council committed to developing a climate action plan for Bowling Green at a strategic planning meeting in February 2020.
The council has set the goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions for city operations by 2040.
The first step in creating the sustainability and climate action plan was to measure the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. The main greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. Understanding the city’s current greenhouse gas emissions will allow the community to set goals and measure progress, officials said.
The city’s sustainability inventory focused on:
- Energy consumption
- Waste Management
- Green area
- Water consumption
- Education and awareness
With the completion of the greenhouse gas emissions inventory, the city is now working to establish a committee of internal and external stakeholders to begin developing a climate action plan. Gamby said the final composition of the committee will likely be announced later this month.
Bowling Green City Councilman Jeff Dennis asked last week what the city’s goal was to offer recycling in the downtown core.
Gamby said that would come later.
“We try to get our own house in order before attacking others,” she said. “It’s on the list.”
The resolution passed by the council states that “Bold action is needed to avert the worst impacts of climate change, and efforts to control climate change have many benefits such as cleaner air and water, better health , local jobs, cost savings for households, businesses, and the city, and the creation of a stronger and more resilient community.
Last year, Mayor Mike Aspacher called for the following actions to be taken by the city:
• Work with SID Downtown Bowling Green and business owners to develop a recycling pilot program for downtown businesses.
• Completion of a waste study and assessment of the need for additional bins in public spaces.
• Continue to be leaders in the climate action movement by completing an emissions inventory.
• Involve and engage the community in educational outreach programs and incentives.
• Continue to promote the sustainability efforts already underway at Bowling Green.
• Continue adding electric and hybrid vehicles to the City’s fleet.
• Examine the impacts and the possibility of adding additional charging stations for electric vehicles in public areas as well as the possibility of adding electric charging stations in private parking lots.
A report by Aspacher in 2021 referenced key findings from a sustainability study that demonstrated proactive operations and policies already in place:
• 40% of BG’s energy comes from renewable energy sources, well above the national average of 3% and the national average of 20%.
• Bowling Green is home to Ohio’s first commercial wind farm and currently the largest solar farm in the state of Ohio.
• To help reduce electricity consumption and increase efficiency, the city has offered the Efficiency Smart program to its residents and businesses for over 10 years, resulting in annual CO2 savings of nearly 70,000,000 pounds.
• Residents benefit from the EcoSmart Choice program allowing customers to pay a little more for their electricity consumption to support renewable energy – up to 100%.
• Bowling Green has 400 acres of park land covering 10 sites – one park approximately 1.5 miles from each home.
• The City of Bowling Green supports organic recycling/recycling programs, including the recent expansion of the curbside program and the addition of the food waste collection pilot program.
• The Municipal Utilities Department of the City of Bowling Green has constructed and maintains state-of-the-art water and wastewater treatment facilities that meet or exceed federal water quality requirements. water, as well as EPA wastewater standards, and continues to make improvements to improve water quality, reliability, and durability.
• BG has invested in sustainable building practices with new city facilities such as the planned City Building and the recently completed City Park Veterans Building, as well as city-owned building renovation projects.