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Energy Efficient Parks

Many park agencies and park friends groups are trying to go “green” by reducing their carbon footprint. In many ways, this has nothing to do with parks themselves, but tactics to reduce energy consumption that would apply to many other companies or government entities. In any case, the Tacoma, Washington city parks agency just hired a team to help it reduce its footprint, and some of the findings might be interesting to readers here:

Among the consultant’s recommendations: turning off computers at night, restricting air travel, not buying bottled water for meetings, setting all printers and copiers to automatically print double-sided, and purchasing green products such as EnergyStar-rated appliances.Metro Parks has already been finding ways to be greener, said urban forester Kathy Sutalo, who heads up the parks district’s Green Taskforce.Some of those items include: reducing gas and electricity use, offering car-pooling incentives, adding hybrids to its automotive fleet, and limiting use of toxic cleaning products and fertilizers.“We don’t use synthetic fertilizers in most of our parks,” Sutalo said. “Only on the sand-based sports fields, where the organic fertilizers don’t work as well. We mainly use turkey poop.”Green pest control methods have been used instead of pesticides at W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory in Wright Park since 1991, she said. They include soap sprays, rotating plants out and the occasional release of beneficial insects.

Additional tools recommended include changing lights in the park to the low-energy LED variety. Interestingly, employees driving to and from work accounted for about 40 percent of the 4,600 metric tons of carbon dioxide created yearly by Metro Parks activities.

3 Responses

  1. Cincinnati’s park board has begun installing solar-powered Big Belly trash compactors in their parks. They have also begun several pilot projects in attempt to take park buildings “off the grid.” They have used solar and wind already, and are about to do their first geothermal building. Over time they hope to produce more than they need and get paid for energy they put back into the grid.

  2. I’ve heard of Cincinnati’s trash bins actually and have been looking to do a post on them. From what I hear, the compactors have some sort of wi-fi connection that sends a message when they are full..

  3. Thanks for this info, I really enjoyed reading it!

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