Filed under: Sustainability Office
Two City of Asheville parking garages will been seen in a different light thanks to the City of Asheville’s participation in a newly implemented energy efficiency program with Duke Energy Progress.
Utilizing the Duke Energy Progress Small Business Energy Saver Program, the city will replace lights inside the Wall Street and Rankin Avenue parking garages with LED lighting. LED lighting is much more energy efficient than the high-pressure sodium lights currently being used, and the move will dramatically reduce the energy used by the facilities, resulting in significant utility savings to the City of Asheville.
Thanks to the SBES Program, the upgrade comes at a considerable savings to the City of Asheville. Duke Energy Progress will pick up 65 percent of the cost of the installation, leaving the city’s match at $47,510. With a projected savings of $20,000 per year, the project will pay for the city’s contribution in less than 36 months.
Since they run 24 hours a day, parking garage lights are a great candidate for energy reduction strategies. In all, 225 lights will be replaced in the two garages, with an energy reduction equal to the equivalent of 150 tons of carbon dioxide annually. The replacement will take place during December and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The scope of work and impact of the work will be comparable to routine maintenance in the garages and is expected to create a minimum of disruption for holiday shoppers parking in the facilities.
“This is an outstanding opportunity to advance the goals of reducing the City of Asheville’s carbon footprint in a very cost effective way,” said Kerby Smithson, Energy Analyst with the city’s Office of Sustainability. “And we are thankful to Duke Energy Progress for making this kind of partnership available to the city and to small businesses in the area.”
The Wall Street and Rankin Avenue facilities are two of four parking garages operated by the City of Asheville. The city’s newest garage, on Biltmore Avenue beneath the Aloft hotel, was constructed using LED lighting.
Asheville City Council unanimously approved this partnership at its November 12 meeting. Council has set a goal of reducing carbon reduction goal from municipal operations 80% by 2030, and one of Council’s strategic goals is that Asheville be the southeastern leader in clean energy and environmental sustainability.
The City of Asheville’s Sustainability Office works throughout the City of Asheville organization to develop opportunities for reductions in municipal energy use.
For more information, go to ashevillenc.gov/green.
More from the CoaBlog:
LED Streetlights Coming to a Street Near You
Biltmore Avenue Parking Garage earns regional recognition
November 26, 2013
November is “Recycle It!” Month in Asheville and throughout the month, the City of Asheville’s Office of Sustainability is offering tours and information that spotlight the city’s commitment to solid waste reduction.
Halloween may be over, but the Upcycled Halloween Costume Contest continues through November 5, with voting running through November 24. So submit those costume photos and then help choose the winner! Go here for details.
Also this month, the Office of Sustainability presents tours of the area’s solid waste and recycling facilities to offer a first-hand look at the impact recycling can have. The tour locations and times are:
Buncombe County Landfill tour: Wednesday Nov. 6, 12:15 p.m.
Danny’s Dumpster Compost Facility tour: Wednesday, Nov. 13, 12:15 p.m.
Curbside Management Recycling Plant tour: Wednesday, Nov. 20, 12:15 p.m.
All tours are free and open to the public, but registration is required ahead of time.
Contact Joey Robison at email@example.com or (828)232-4517 to sign up.
Follow the City of Asheville on Facebook or Twitter for tips, information and cool facts throughout the month about the ways Asheville is decreasing its environmental impact.
Recycling is easy for Asheville residents – just put all of your recyclables in the big blue bin. Check the website for all that can be recycled and your pick up schedule: http://www.ashevillenc.gov/recycling.
November 1, 2013
Question: What has 4,860,948 pounds of glass, 6,631,612 pounds of paper and nearly 1,000,000 pounds of plastic? Answer: The first year of Asheville’s Big Blue recycling program.
Crushed aluminum cans at the Curbside Management facility in north Asheville
The Zero Waste AVL program, featuring the blue single-stream recycling carts, rolled out in April 2012, and numbers show an increase of 4,240,000 pounds – or 2,120 tons – of material recycled over the previous year. That’s a nearly 25 percent increase.
“We get excited by numbers like these. This shows a really positive response from the residents of Asheville,” said the city’s Chief Sustainability Officer Maggie Ullman. “This has a significant impact on the materials we are putting in the landfill.”
So how much did Asheville recycle in the first year of Zero Waste AVL? That number rings up to 7,619 tons, slightly more than the weight of the Eiffel Tower.
The big goal of Big Blue is to divert materials from the landfill, and over its first year, Zero Waste Asheville reduced the amount of material sent there by 1,526 tons, a decrease of 6.5 percent compared to the previous year. That is enough material to fill 40 backyard swimming pools.
And speaking of swimming pools, with summer break winding down and Labor Day coming up, there is still time to squeeze in that cookout or picnic. And, Ullman says, there is plenty of opportunity to recycle after the end-of-summer party.
“All plastic containers you find at the grocery can go into the Big Blue carts,” Ullman says. “Potato salad containers, red cups, even clamshell salad containers.” Glass bottles, paper plates and aluminum pie tins, almost anything you find at the backyard barbecue, are also recyclable (Styrofoam, however, is not). To find out more about what materials can be recycled, go to www.ashevillenc.gov/recycling.
Asheville City Council approved the Zero Waste AVL program in August 2011, and the City of Asheville began delivering the big blue carts that March. The carts require no sorting or bagging. Zero Waste Asheville and other sustainability programs support Council’s strategic goal for Asheville to be the southeastern leader in clean energy and environmental sustainability.
Click here for more about Zero Waste AVL.
August 21, 2013
Asheville Police Officer Boyd McCaskill says he gets a lot of thumbs up from passers by when he is patrolling his beat in the Downtown Business District. Some of that can be credited to the community outreach and increased visibility of the APD’s downtown unit, but he also thinks it has to do with his car. The APD’s Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid electric vehicle turns heads, especially in a green-minded city like Asheville.
Officer McCaskill at the South Charlotte Street charging station.
“I have people asking me questions about the car all the time,” McCaskill says. “People say it is the sharpest looking police car they’ve seen.”
Since it was added to the city’s fleet a year ago, McCaskill has driven the cruiser a little over 4,000 miles and only used 33.7 gallons of gas. The rest of the cruiser’s energy comes from the solar powered charging station operated by Brightfield Transportation Solutions and located in the parking lot of the Public Works building at 161 South Charlotte Street. Over it’s lifetime, the vehicle has gotten around 130 mpg.
Dashboard displays show how efficient the car is operating and how to maximize energy use.
McCaskill says that there is still a role for conventional fueled vehicles on the force; their acceleration, weight and interior all make them effective for law enforcement. But the Chevy Volt is a great match for Asheville’s downtown business district where McCaskill is one of a team of Community Resource Officers.
Speed is not as crucial around downtown, the car is quieter so it’s not impacting noise in the downtown business district, and it doesn’t burn fuel while stopped at red lights.
McCaskill is the only officer that drives the volt, but he and the other officers in the downtown business district all utilize multi-modal forms of transportation, including biking, walking and riding Segways. All of these together not only save fuel but increase the officers’ visibility. That kind of contact with neighbors and business owners builds good relationships and helps foster the department’s philosophy of community policing, McCaskill says.
The City of Asheville remains committed to sustainable practices, and in 2007, Asheville City Council set a goal of reducing emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050. The city’s fleet currently includes 36 compressed natural gas vehicles, 10 electric utility carts, 13 hybrids and the Chevy Volt PHEV. Steps like that have resulted in a 17.67 percent reduction in emissions, as noted on June 21 when the U.S. Conference of Mayors recognized Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy with first place honors for climate protection efforts. Click here for more about the efforts to reduce the City of Asheville’s carbon footprint.
The Asheville Police Department’s mission is to commit to excellence through Integrity, Fairness, Respect and Professionalism. Click here for more information from the APD.
June 24, 2013
The holidays mean big gatherings, big meals – and big piles of discarded paper, shopping bags and boxes. The EPA estimates that household garbage increases by 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. That makes the holidays a great time to utilize recycling opportunities in Asheville and fill up those Big Blue bins when cleaning up after the party or once the presents have all been opened.
Asheville residents have stepped up their recycling game, especially since the introduction of the Big Blue recycling carts and the launch of the single stream recycling program. This year, residential recycling between July and October increased 69.64 percent over the same time period in 2011, diverting 1,056.72 tons of waste from the landfill.
Curbside Management has provided a great list of things that can be recycled during the holidays:
Wrapping paper (except for the foil kind)
Cardboard boxes (don’t worry about all the tape)
Christmas cards (even the glittery ones!)
Newspapers and inserts
Paper shopping bags
Broth cartons and wine boxes
2 liter soft drink bottles
Cracker, cereal and other food boxes
Almost every grocery container – cans, jugs, bottles, jars (but not black microwave trays)
Here’s the short list of things that can’t go in the recycling:
Used paper plates and cups
Napkins or paper towels
And don’t forget about the Christmas trees – they can be recycled too! Trees will be collected curbside according to the routine brush collection schedule, or they can dropped off at the Buncombe County Landfill or at private yard waste facilities. Please remove all lights, ornaments, tinsel and stands. Have an artificial Christmas tree? You’ll need to call (828) 251-1122 to set up collection.
Reducing Asheville’s carbon footprint is one of Asheville City Council’s strategic goals. The Zero Waste AVL initiative page on the City of Asheville website lists a lot of great information for recycling at the holidays and all year round. Check it out here.
And enjoy the holidays!
December 19, 2012
The City of Asheville is pleased to announce that the Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center at 285 Livingston Street has achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification. The designation is the highest level of certification awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council in its recognition of building design and construction practices that reduce carbon footprint and environmental impact.
“This certification is great news,” said project manager Al Koph from the City of Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department. “We’ve worked hard to make this project a flagship for the city and an example of what can be achieved in sustainable building.”
Dedicated in October 2011, phase one of the recreation center was the first City of Asheville facility built since Asheville City Council’s 2007 direction that all new municipal construction achieve at least gold LEED certification. Council includes among its strategic goals that Asheville be a southeastern leader in sustainability.
Throughout the project’s first phase, project architect Jane Mathews, acting as the LEED certification administrator and working with her design team, submitted qualifying elements to the USGBC and confirmed that it was on track. Thanks to features like use of natural light and water-efficient fixtures, the project cleared the bar for gold certification and then some.
“The City of Asheville is to be commended for showing strong leadership in promoting a very high level of sustainable design for its new facilities,” Mathews said. “We were honored to assist the City in fulfilling this commitment and to furthering its environmental stewardship by providing a quality, affordable and sustainable new center for Asheville and its citizens.”
Mathews presented the LEED Platinum certificate to Asheville City Council at its December 11 meeting.
The Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center is probably most easily recognized by its roof, the shape of which channels rainwater into sediment reducing ponds and cisterns as well as the roof gardens. But the center also employs energy-efficient windows, geothermal temperature regulation and energy conserving insulation. In rating buildings for certification, the USGBC also factors in how far materials have to travel to get on site and the fact that most of the materials removed for the building were recycled.
Phase one of the center houses an auditorium, classrooms and office space. Phase two, which is currently in the planning stage, will include a gymnasium, a spray ground, playground, and a section of the Town Branch Greenway.
Click here for more information about the Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center or any of the City of Asheville recreation centers.
Click here for more about the City of Asheville’s sustainability initiative.
December 18, 2012
From the City of Asheville Office of Sustainability:
Beginning Monday, Nov. 12, the city will move into the third and final phase of the streetlight upgrade program in which traditional bulbs will be upgraded to LED fixtures. When complete in June 2013 all roads in city limits except Department of Transportation roads will be upgraded to LED streetlights. Upgrades will take place Monday through Thursday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. with no expectations of traffic disruption. Installations will begin at the base of city limits in south Asheville this fall, moving to east Asheville this winter and concluding in north Asheville next spring.
Over the last two years the City has upgraded 3,400 street lights to the energy efficiency LED technology and will complete the city wide program in June 2013 with a total of 7,400 fixtures. Once completed, all three phases are expected to save $450,000 annually and 1,294 tons of avoided carbon which is equal to the emissions from burning 7 rail cars of coal.
The first and second phases of this program have already resulted in $165,000 of energy savings. When this program began, the municipal budget for streetlights was $1.7M annually. In order to make the investment in LED streetlights the city is keeping this budget flat and using the energy savings to pay for the investment in this technology. The energy savings is so substantial that in addition to all streetlights being upgraded, the majority of the sustainability program activities are being funded through this source.
The City of Asheville is the first in the nation to implement this innovative financial model, called the Green Capital Improvement Program, where all the energy savings pay for the energy efficiency investment. These lighting upgrades build further upon the successful lighting ordinance passed in 2008, which ensures all municipal streetlights adhere to “Dark Sky” standards.
For more information about these upgrades please visit the frequently asked questions page at www.ashevillenc.gov/green or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for more background on the City of Asheville’s LED streetlight upgrades.
November 5, 2012
A gathering of bicyclists, joggers, walkers and parents with strollers celebrated the opening of a new section of the Reed Creek Greenway on Saturday, Sept. 8. The event marked the latest addition to the City of Asheville’s growing greenway network.
The Reed Creek greenway runs parallel to Broadway Street, crossing Cauble Street, and the addition is a vital link in a continuing expansion that will give bordering neighborhoods greenway access to downtown Asheville.
Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy, Council member Chris Pelly, Greenway Commission member Sue Barlow and Olympic medalist Lauren Tamayo officially opened the connector.
“Thank you to the City and to everyone involved,” Tamayo said. “This is something Asheville can get behind and embrace.”
Following the ribbon cutting, bicyclists including Tamayo and members of the Blue Ridge Bicycle Club rode the new stretch of greenway.
The newest addition to the Reed Creek Greenway includes a 10-foot-wide paved path, a bridge crossing over Reed Creek, and an emergency call box.
Click here for more information about the City of Asheville’s Greenways.
September 11, 2012
A team collaboration to rework the City of Asheville’s Information Technology Services Department has resulted in a dramatic 75 percent cut to the department’s energy consumption and won the city accolades on a national level.
Left to Right: Maggie Ullman (Finance/Sustainability), Gilbert Domingo (ITS), Deb Messer (ITS), Erik Hagan (Building Safety). Not pictured: Wanda Burgess (ITS), Jeff Reble (ITS).
The energy reduction initiative, undertaken over the course of a year, earned the City of Asheville a Technology Solution award from the Public Technology Institute in the “sustainability” category. IT director Jonathan Feldman and a team of City of Asheville employees from across several departments presented the award to Asheville City Council at its August 14 meeting.
“This would not have been possible without Council’s vision, the work done by our sustainability office, and the help provided by Finance,” Feldman said.
Technological advances in data management like cloud computing and virtualization allowed the IT Services to cut the size of its in-house data center in half. That means the center uses less electricity, generates less heat, and requires much less air conditioning. Heat dissipation was reduced by 26,581BTU’s an hour, an overall drop of approximately 50%, and power consumption dropped by 68,010 kilowatt hours per year, enough energy to power five homes for a year.
The department also customized office computers to the needs of employees, which often meant PCs could be replaced with lower-power units. Without affecting customer service, the move brought a drop of 19,030 kilowatt hours per year and reduction of $108,000 to workstation costs over their lifecycle.
In total, says the city’s sustainability programs manager Maggie Ullman, the overhaul amounts to a big stride in impacting the city’s carbon footprint.
“This is equivalent to the carbon sequestration of 1,359 trees. Next time you look at our mountains try counting that many trees,” Ullman said. “This project has real tangible impact on our community’s carbon footprint and demonstrates national innovation in local government sustainability.”
Asheville City Council has named both energy reduction and fiscal responsibility as strategic goals for the city, and departments throughout the organization strive to uphold those goals while maintaining customer service.
August 21, 2012
What’s cheaper than gasoline, burns cleaner than gasoline and reduces dependence on foreign oil? The answer is compressed natural gas, and the Asheville area now has even more access to it thanks to the City of Asheville’s newly expanded CNG fueling station at 45 McCormick Place.
That news came June 27, as the City, alongside partners Land of Sky Regional Council and Mission Health, held a joint media event to announce a successful collaboration that resulted in an increase of CNG vehicles and CNG fueling accessibility in the region.
The City of Asheville recently doubled the storage capacity at its compressed natural gas station.
A grant award of $1.5 million allowed the City of Asheville to double the station’s storage capacity and add 25 new CNG vehicles to its fleet, bringing the city’s total count of its CNG fleet to 37 vehicles. The upgrades were funded through grants from the Carolina Blue Skies and Green Jobs Initiative, led by the Triangle J Council of Governments and supported by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding. In all, $12 million was distributed among 40 alternative vehicle projects across North and South Carolina. Mission Health was able to add five vehicles to its CNG fleet, including two shuttles.
Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy praised the partnership effort for its leadership in supporting cleaner air in North Carolina, reducing fuel costs and backing green jobs in the area.
“This partnership project is a great example of organizations working together to build a more sustainable community,” Bellamy said. “These are the kinds of steps that make us a more sustainable, healthy and environmentally sound city.”
Customers at the CNG station include Mission Health, who was a major partner is securing the grant.
The City of Asheville’s CNG station, one of only four in the region, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, open to the public, and counts among its customers Mission Health, Land Of Sky Regional Council, Buncombe County’s Mountain Mobility system, UNC-Asheville and AT&T.
Compressed natural gas costs an average of $1 less per gallon and emits roughly 23% less greenhouse gasses than gasoline and using CNG fuel in fleet vehicles furthers Asheville City Council’s strategic priorities to be fiscally and environmentally responsible.
This Asheville Fire Department truck is one of the city's new CNG-run fleet vehicles.
For more about the City of Asheville’s sustainability initiatives, click here.
June 29, 2012