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2014 Sustainable YOU

City employees constructing a community rain garden

Youth participating in an EcoTeam class

The Department of Environmental Policy and Energy Resources is very excited to present to the City Commission and the citizens of this community the City of Tallahassee 2014 Green Initiatives Annual Report. Sustainability is part of the culture of every department within the City, which can be seen through the breadth and scope of the initiatives within this report. As you read through the report, please take note of the economic, environmental, and social benefits of these efforts– benefits that improve not only the operations of this government, but the livability of our community. Below are highlights of the 85-plus initiatives in the report.

Cynthia S. Barber, Director Environmental Policy and Energy Resources City of Tallahassee

Supported over 1,000 seniors and lowincome families through the Good Neighbor program

Donated over $229,544 to the United Way of the Big Bend through city employee contributions

Educated over 80 farmers on improving the way they grow and sell produce and helped establish eight community gardens

Fostered over $150 million in private investment in the Gaines Street Brownfield Corridor Area through City/CRA support and tax incentives Continued to administer over $1.29 million in federal and state grant dollars in support of sustainability programs

Diverted over 32,332 tons of material from the landfill through recycling

Collected and disposed of 935 bags of trash through the Adopt A Street and Super Clean Sweep programs

Registered a total capacity of 1,762 kW for the City’s Solar Net Metering program

Table of Contents The City of Tallahassee Green Initiatives Annual Report is a yearly publication of the Department of Environmental Policy and Energy Resources. The report presents many of the achievements of the City’s new and ongoing sustainability initiatives.








Where available, we have provided hyperlinks to pertinent webpages to provide readers with additional information. We have also included crossover-benefits icons, found at the end of each initiative, to highlight the relationships between each initiative and other target areas in the report. Also, be on the lookout for GreenPrint Updates, labeled and featured throughout the report, which highlight the status of items included in the GreenPrint Short-term Implementation Plan. A formal review of the implementation plan is scheduled for 2015.







LEADERSHIP BENCHMARKING – To better gauge the successes of sustainability efforts, it is important for a community to track and report on the outcomes of its green initiatives. Recognition Several city departments and their sustainability-related efforts were recognized by state, national, and international organizations in 2014. •

Five Milestones for Sustainability Award from ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability – Recognized the City for addressing sustainability challenges through a measured planning and implementation process.

2014 National Planning Excellence Award for a Planning Agency from the American Planning Association – Honored Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department for continually producing a program of exceptional work that has elevated awareness about planning.

2014 People’s Choice Award from the Florida Chapter of the American Institute of Architects – Awarded to the Smokey Hollow Commemoration, which pays tribute to the shotgun houses that were found in the historic neighborhood.

Sustainability Metrics In 2014, the City launched a pilot sustainability benchmarking program to track and report on the economic savings, environmental benefits, and social gains for selected city programs. Outcomes of this program will be highlighted in future green reports. 1


TALLAHASSEE GREENPRINT – The City’s five-year strategic sustainability plan, the Tallahassee GreenPrint, was adopted by the City Commission in June 2013. This roadmap to a more sustainable future for Tallahassee is carried out through a series of implementation plans. The Short-term Implementation Plan, the first of the three plans, includes initiatives from 10 city departments and is being carried out over an 18month period that began October 2013. As such, many of the initiatives in the plan are well under way, with several completed or near completion. The short-term initiatives focus on categories such as energy efficiency, community outreach, waste reduction, transportation, and green building practices. As was the case in the 2013 Green Initiatives Annual Report, updates to the Short-term Implementation Plan can be found throughout this report in their respective target area (see bottom, left). The City’s Environmental Policy and Energy Resources department will prepare a comprehensive report on the results and outcomes of the items identified in the Short-term Implementation Plan that will be published after the March 2015 end date.

Sustainability holistically addresses people, planet, and prosperity, especially where these three pillars overlap. A community’s art and culture is often representative of this point. The Smokey Hollow Commemoration pictured at top is an excellent example of where culture meets sustainability.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT – The City of Tallahassee continues to provide opportunities for the community to be involved and engaged with a variety of city initiatives, which is one of the cornerstones of a sustainable community. Neighborhood Leadership Academy This interactive forum educates neighborhood leaders about how to better access city programs and services, while providing participants an up-close look at how the City operates. In 2014, 25 neighborhood leaders graduated from the program. Volunteers in Parks City residents volunteered over 1,580 hours to help improve city parks and recreational facilities, saving the City approximately $33,559 in 2014. COMMUNITY ASSISTANCE – One indication of a sustainable community is when members come together to support one another. City employees joined community members in continuing to provide a helping hand to those in need. Growth Management Charity Fund To assist a local family in need and provide toys and necessities to other local children, employees in the City’s Growth Management department distributed goods and cash totaling over $1,700 in 2014. Change for Change Participation in the City’s Change for Change program continues to increase. In 2014, an additional 1,061 utility customers participated in this initiative, raising $33,408. Change for Change allows the City’s utility customers to donate money through their monthly utility bill to help address homelessness in the community. COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP AND PARTNERSHIPS – The City continues to foster partnerships with local, national, and international organizations to collaboratively address sustainability through education and outreach. The following are some of the organizations that the City partnered with in 2014: • • • •

Tallahassee Food Network Florida A&M University Florida State University Capital Area Sustainability Council

• • • •

The Nature Conservancy Sustainable Tallahassee IFAS Climate Change Advisory Committee REACT U.S.

Partnership with St. Marks The City of Tallahassee partnered with the City of St. Marks to clean up the former 25-acre St. Marks Refinery site and facilitate redevelopment. The project is funded in part by a Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund subgrant from the Tallahassee Brownfields Coalition and will help address a longstanding environmental issue in the St. Marks River Watershed.


Donated to the United Way of the Big Bend by City of Tallahassee employees in 2014


Seniors, low-income families, and disabled persons assisted in 2014 through the Good Neighbor program

The Mayor and City Commission ICMA visitors with Mayor Andrew Gillum Earth Day in the Park TAPP Booth

INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIPS – In 2014, the City of Tallahassee was selected for a second time to participate in two prestigious international sustainability and leadership programs: REACT U.S. is an innovative partnership between the U.S. Embassy in Sweden and Sustainable Sweden on clean energy and environmental sustainability. The program offers opportunities for Swedish university students to conduct three weeks of research on urban sustainability in the United States. The Professional Fellows Exchange Program is an exchange program of the ICMA and U.S. Department of State. The program focuses on the social pillar of sustainability, with staff coordinating many local government and community meetings that highlighted the legislative process, governance, and community engagement and resiliency.


Tallahassee’s rank out of 1,700 U.S. cities, making it within the top 50 most livable cities (

EDUCATION & COMMUNITY OUTREACH EMPLOYEE EDUCATION – Environmental education and sustainability training for city employees helps establish a culture of sustainability within city government. During 2014, the City continued to implement a number of initiatives aimed at educating city staff about the importance of sustainability issues as they relate to environmental protection, cost savings, and health and safety. Environmental Assessment Visits EPER conducted 116 internal site inspections at City facilities during 2014. The site visits educate employees about environmental legal requirements and how to take corrective actions to address and prevent potential noncompliance issues. Stormwater Pollution Prevention and Waste Management Training EPER also provided training to 449 city employees for both Stormwater Pollution Prevention and Waste Management during 2014. This internal education trains employees on how to appropriately store outdoor materials, respond to spills, repair and fuel vehicles and equipment, and manage hazardous waste. Personal Sustainability Project (PSP) Another 107 city employees completed PSP training in 2014. Through this interactive training course, City employees learn how to make more sustainable choices at work and at home. 3

COMMUNITY OUTREACH – Outreach and education are cornerstones for building a sustainable community. With multiple community partnerships, the City engaged residents in a number of sustainability efforts. EarthCare: Your Actions Count! Throughout April 2014, the City celebrated Earth Month with the EarthCare theme. Each week, the City focused on a conservation topic to highlight practices, programs, and services that the City offers to help protect and enhance the community and save money. City employees planted an herb garden, constructed a rain garden, and participated in earth-friendly community events. Sustainability and You Community Learning Series The fall 2014 presentation, Get There Green: Biking and Walking in Tallahassee, included a mini expo on alternative transportation and had over 80 attendees participating in a discussion on alternative mobility options and resources. Earth Hour The City supported Earth Hour 2014 by switching off all appropriate lights in city buildings for one hour. As many lights as possible were turned off, balancing the City’s commitment with public safety. The World Wildlife Foundation reported that Earth Hour 2014 reached over 2.8 billion people in more than 7,000 cities and towns across 154 countries. Education and outreach continue to be key tenets of all of the City’s sustainability efforts. The City partners with several community organizations to host the Sustainability and You Community Learning Series, pictured above, as one important tool to expand the community’s knowledge about sustainability issues.

Public Power Day Over 1,100 people attended the City’s Arvah B. Hopkins Electric Generating Station annual open house. The event was held on October 5, 2014, as part of Public Power Week. Visitors were able to witness utility-related demonstrations, tour the facility, and learn about how the power plant generates electricity, as well as its many environmental stewardship initiatives. Earth Savers The City partnered with the MoLab, Inc., and Tallahassee Housing Authority to offer this environmental science education program for youth in the South City area. The program is designed to introduce individuals to the environmental science behind various City programs through hands-on activities. Over an eight-week period, MoLab, a local nonprofit organization that provides mobile science education services in the area, delivered the program to over 60 children at the Oliver Hill Community Center in the Orange Avenue Public Housing Complex. Earth Savers

SUSTAINABLE YOU 2014 – The City of Tallahassee hosted the Sustainable YOU 2014 Conference on January 26 and 27, 2014. The conference was attended by more than 335 people and featured 24 breakout sessions and more than 60 presenters. Topics addressed local food production, youth engagement in sustainability discussions, effective solid waste management, and alternative energy. The conference also featured “Tally Talks,” where area leaders shared how they are changing the way sustainability is viewed; “Envision Tallahassee 2020,” which brought together leaders from the area’s largest educational and business organizations for a peek at the future of these organizations and Tallahassee; and was rounded out with four mobile tours.

Sustainable YOU’s Mobile Tours visit the Mag Lab

MEDIA OUTREACH – The City continued to use a variety of media to increase awareness of sustainability issues to its employees and the broader community in 2014. •

EcoSmart WCOT, the City’s television station, produced two episodes of its sustainabilityfocused show. The episodes highlighted green initiatives at the Airport and featured segments on Cascades Park, the Sustainable You Conference and a Do-It-Yourself environmentally conscious cleaning guide.

News Department of Communications issued 11 news releases, media advisories and public service announcements and included six articles in the City’s utility insert, Insight, that focused on sustainability-related issues and initiatives.

Social Media EPER’s Facebook page, Go Green Tallahassee, featured 133 new posts and Public Power Day 1,943 engaged users.


Groups participated in EcoTeams over the last two years


Individuals participated in EcoTeams through 2014


COMMUNITY OUTREACH – The City wrapped up implementation of the EcoTeams program, which was done in partnership with Leon County and Sustainable Tallahassee. The results of the initiative can be found below.

People participated in EcoTeam presentations over the last two years



EcoTeam events or presentations took place over the last two years

HEALTH & COMMUNITY WELLNESS LOCAL FOOD SUPPORT – From community gardens to local farmers markets, access to healthful food options is an important issue for the community and its leadership. In 2014, the City continued to support several local food initiatives. Closing the Food Gap In 2014, the City and the Tallahassee Food Network completed implementation of this USDA grant-funded program. The program aimed to educate consumers about the advantages of purchasing locally grown produce and eating healthy. It also focused on educating farmers about increasing revenue through participation in farmers markets, growing a larger variety of crops, and using online distribution. Closing the Food Gap outperformed the goals stated in the grant work plan.


Over 80 farmers attended the farmers’ education workshops hosted by the program (the average farmer attendee showed a 65% increase in knowledge of local food systems and farmers markets)

662 participants attended the program’s consumer education workshops held in Leon and surrounding counties, (the average attendee showed a 72% increase in knowledge about healthy, local produce)

203 attendees participated in 20 cooking demonstrations where they learned how to cook with fresh produce

Community Gardening Program Established in August 2011, the City of Tallahassee’s Community Gardening Program provides access to Cityowned lands for the establishment of community gardens. In 2014, two new community gardens were established in the Midtown and Providence neighborhoods. Through the Community Gardening Program, city residents have also established community gardens in the following neighborhoods: Southwood, Betton Hills, Seminole Manor, Bond/Smith Williams, Macon, and Dent Diggers-Frenchtown.

City Hall Herb Garden In April 2014, members of the City’s Executive Team planted five large planters with a variety of herbs. This effort was part of the City’s Earth Month activities, and throughout the year, City employees continued to plant seasonal herbs, volunteered to water the herbs, and assisted in the harvests. On harvest days, 20 to 30 employees gathered to bring home freshly harvested mints, rosemary, basil, parsley, sage, and spicy peppers. The herb garden program also provided the opportunity for employees to learn about how they can plant, harvest, and use fresh herbs at home.

The physical, mental, and social well-being of a community is just as important to a community’s sustainability as the health of the environment. The picture above features city employees and other community members getting ready to walk to raise money for the American Heart Association’s 2014 Annual Heart Walk.

Blood pressure screening at a CARES event

RECREATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES – The City of Tallahassee operates an award-winning park system with over 3,550 acres of parkland with active and passive recreational facilities. The City continues to work with community partners to expand recreational opportunities in the area. From hiking or biking to sport leagues (see bottom), there is no shortage of opportunities to engage in recreational activities in Tallahassee. Trails that Last In March 2014, the City and the Tallahassee Mountain Biking Association partnered with the International Mountain Bicycling Association's Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew to train locals on developing low-maintenance trails and to also help re-establish a portion of the Magnolia Trail in Tom Brown Park. The effort, which will help reduce trail damage and enhance future visitor enjoyment, was attended by 38 participants. Lafayette Heritage Trail Park Pedestrian Bridge The City’s Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Affairs department completed construction of a pedestrian bridge that connects Lafayette Heritage Trail Park and J.R. Alford Greenway. The $1.3 million dollar bridge provides an official, designated trail connection and a safe route to hike and bike over the railroad tracks that are in the area. The heavily used bridge also serves as a destination to enjoy the outdoors, attracting locals and visitors. Lafayette Heritage Trail Park Pedestrian Bridge

1.03 million

Visits to the City’s eight community centers in 2014

CHOOSEHEALTH – The City’s employee wellness program, ChooseHealth, promotes health and wellness opportunities for City employees. The program continued to grow in 2014. •

650 city employees participated in the Know Your Health health-screening initiative

35 city employees stopped using tobacco in 2014 through the Smoking Cessation Initiative, for a total of 120 employees over three years

719 city employees participated in the American Heart Association’s National Start Walking Day annual event, walking a total of 6,439,236 steps or 3,220 miles

Over 175 city employees and their families participated in the American Heart Association’s 2014 Annual Heart Walk, raising over $13,000


Seniors participated in various activities at the City’s Senior Center and satellite sites


TALLAHASSEE CARES – Creating Awareness of Resources and Educational Services (CARES), a City initiative aimed at improving awareness of the many resources available to residents, launched with a South City community service day in June 2014. Forty social services exhibitors provided information, screenings, and services to approximately 400 area residents. Exhibitors ranged from Elder Care Services and Whole Child Leon to CareerSource Capital Region and the Bond Community Health Center. Farm Share, an organization that recovers fresh food from farms, wholesalers, and other groups and distributes it to low-income families in need of nutritious food, gave out over 10,000 lbs. of food to more than 220 households, during the event. The City held over 40 CARES activities/events in South City in 2014.

Teams participated in 25 different youth city league sports in 2014


Teams participated in 10 different adult city league sports in 2014

ECONOMICS GRANT FUNDING IN SUPPORT OF SUSTAINABILITY – The City’s efforts to seek grant funding to support sustainability initiatives continued to pay dividends as it implemented a number of grant funded initiatives in 2014. Additional details on the grant-funded sustainability initiatives listed below can be found throughout this report. • Brownfields Revolving Loan Program funded by a $1,000,000 grant from the U.S. EPA to support redevelopment by enabling property owners or redevelopers to clean up environmental contamination • Farmers Market Promotional Program funded by a $68,600 grant from the USDA to promote farmers markets, increase farm revenues, and expand producer-to-consumer direct marketing opportunities • Gaines Street Art Alley funded by a $25,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Federation - Wells Fargo Foundation to turn a city easement into an attractive, safe pathway and destination • Green Cleaning Initiatives funded by a $15,000 grant from the U.S. EPA and administered by the Florida DEP as part of its Pollution Prevention program • TAPP Program funded by a $190,600 grant from the U.S. EPA and administered by the Florida DEP to support the various components of the Think About Personal Pollution program 7

COMMERCIAL FAÇADE IMPROVEMENT GRANT PROGRAM – In 2014, the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) approved six commercial façade renovation grants, totaling $262,477. The CRA approved two grants for projects in the Downtown District Community Redevelopment Area and four for projects in the Greater Frenchtown/Southside Community Redevelopment Area. These grants leveraged an estimated $2.6 million in private funds for renovation investments that totaled $2.8 million. Since the inception of the program in 2007, the CRA has approved 32 façade improvement grants, which have provided $1.2 million in grant funds for redevelopment projects. The total renovation/construction costs of these projects are estimated at over $7.7 million. PROMOTIONAL/SPECIAL EVENTS GRANT PROGRAM – Throughout 2014, the CRA sponsored a number of special events within the districts that support the sense of place initiatives that are occurring throughout the community. The CRA granted $70,000 in support of 15 events. Along with contributing to the sense of place initiatives and supporting the cultural growth of the area, the events were attended by 161,400 people. Attendees that support local businesses contribute positively to the local economy.

For the City, economic sustainability includes support for local businesses, infill redevelopment, and environmentally preferable purchasing. It also means seeking grant funding to further green initiatives, as well as offering financial support for special events like the Tallahassee Food Network/I-Grow Festival pictured above.

GAINES STREET REDEVELOPMENT – CRA incentives and grant-funded cleanup of contamination in this brownfield corridor have spurred revitalization in the area. The chart below highlights private investments that have been made in the area as a result of the financial incentives, cleanup dollars granted, and surrounding development.

New roundabout on Gaines Street

BIZ-E – The City of Tallahassee launched BIZ-e, an electronic business portal, in 2014. The portal provides City vendors access to payment information 24 hours a day, seven days a week, saving vendors time and money. BIZ-e is an online self-service tool that is popular with vendors looking for an efficient and secure option for accessing selfservice information.

Year Finished

Marriott Residence Inn


Lofts on Gaines








601 Copeland












Urban Outfitters




District East – The Deck




District West – The Block




District East – Axis






Distributed by the CRA in 2014 for the Retail Incentive Loan Program


CRA Funds Committed

Estimated Private Investment



$10.69 million


GREEN PURCHASING/CLEANING – In 2014, the City launched a green cleaning pilot program funded by the US EPA through a Florida DEP grant. The pilot took place in four community centers and the Hilaman Golf Course club house. For the pilot, city staff switched to cleaning products that are greener (typically biodegradable and nontoxic) than their traditional counterparts. Staff at the community centers stated that they could breathe more comfortably when using the green cleaners, and one of the community centers saved an estimated $700 on cleaning products for the year. The City also distributed a survey to its vendors and compiled a Green Vendor List based on their responses. The list will assist City employees in quickly identifying vendors who offer green products and services.

$150.16 million

Estimated value of the improvements leveraged by the Retail Loan Program in 2014

Green Cleaning Workshop

$108.1 million

Estimated increase in taxable value for the above-listed Gaines Street projects

NATURAL RESOURCES ADVANCE WASTEWATER TREATMENT (AWT) – With the City expecting to complete all upgrades to the AWT facility by 2015, the plant continued to move forward addressing its primary goals, identified below.

AWT Goal

AWT Result

2014 Outcome

Reduce total nitrogen loading in the wastewater effluent

Since October 2012, the facility has been meeting DEP’s reduced total nitrogen requirements

1.27 mg/L average total nitrogen

Produce public access quality reclaimed water for all effluent

By late 2011, began to treat all effluent to public access quality reclaimed water standards

18.7 million gallons treated per day

Improve the longterm capability of biosolids production

Since October 2013, 100% of the biosolids produced were converted to a Class AA biosolids material that is sold as fertilizer

2,600 metric tons of Class AA biosolids marketed

WATER QUALITY REPORT – The City of Tallahassee published the federally mandated Consumer Confidence Report: 2014 Water Quality Annual Report. The results in the report show that the quality of the City’s drinking water surpasses all standards set by state and federal agencies. The report provides important information about local drinking water, resource protection, governmental safeguards, and other related topics. 9

STORMWATER IMPROVEMENTS – The proper management of the City’s stormwater system can save the community money, while also protecting water resources. Along with the TAPP program (see next page, at right) the City addressed stormwater through a number of initiatives. Killearn Improvements The City completed a stormwater improvement project in the Killearn area in 2014. The project, which included new storm drain pipes and inlets, is expected to reduce flooding in the area and improve the quality of stormwater entering Lake Killarney. Report on Hazard Mitigation Strategy In 2014, the City released the Tallahassee-Leon County Local Mitigation Strategy Progress Report. Due to the City’s proactive stormwater management program, participation in the federal Community Rating System annual recertification, and the mitigation efforts identified in the report, Tallahassee floodplain property owners automatically receive a 20% discount on premiums (totaling approximately $250,000). The City’s mitigation efforts were as follows: •

Retrofitting owner occupied, low-income homes to improve disaster resistance

Identifying areas within the community where future development should be avoided due to the potential for flood damage

Updating the Flood Insurance Rate Maps

The City places the utmost importance on protecting the natural resources that make Tallahassee such a desirable place to live. The picture at top shows volunteers picking up litter in the community during a City-organized 2014 Super Clean Sweep event.

THINK BEFORE YOU THROW – Litter control is an important part of a community’s sustainability efforts. Litter control initiatives help reduce negative impacts to the environment, reduce costs (especially those associated with cleanup), and improve community pride. The City’s comprehensive litter control program featured two stand-out initiatives, listed below, that took place in 2014. Adopt A Street During fiscal year 2014, a total of 19 new street segments were added to the Adopt A Street program. Additionally, 16 existing segments were adopted by new community groups. For the year, Adopt A Street groups picked up litter on approximately 118 miles of streets each quarter and collected over 800 bags of trash that were then disposed of properly. Super Clean Sweep The City’s 2014 Super Clean Sweep event saw over 120 city employees and community partners gathered to clean over 5 miles of streets in the South City neighborhood. The group collected approximately 135 bags of trash for proper disposal. The EPER-hosted event was part of the Super Clean Sweep annual countrywide event sponsored by Keep America Beautiful and the local Keep Tallahassee-Leon County Beautiful chapter. COGONGRASS – Invasive plant and animal species cause extensive negative impacts to the environment. Management of Florida’s invasive plants alone costs an estimated $100 million annually. The City of Tallahassee addressed cogongrass, which first showed up in Florida over one hundred years ago and has taken over stretches of Leon County. In 2014, the City supplied equipment and trained staff to help control cogongrass in the area. The City also partnered with the Nature Conservancy to obtain grant funding to eradicate cogongrass on one city parcel on Tram Road. CARBON INTENSITY – The City’s 2014 carbon intensity, its carbon emissions per unit of electric production, remained the same as the previous year at 0.48 tons/MWh. The intensity was static despite a 2.4% increase in the City’s Net Electric Load. Over the last five years, the City’s carbon emissions from electric generation have shown an overall decrease even with increases in electric demand (see chart at right).


Trees planted by Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Affairs in 2014


Carbon Emissions/Megawatt-hour


0.54 tons per MWH


0.51 tons per MWh


0.56 tons per MWh


0.48 tons per MWh


0.48 tons per MWh


Years in a row the City of Tallahassee has received the Tree City USA designation

TAPP rain garden in South City

THINK ABOUT PERSONAL POLLUTION (TAPP) – To assist in efforts to reduce nonpoint source pollution, the Environmental Protection Agency awarded the TAPP program a $190,600 grant to conduct research and provide education through community outreach via public service announcements, presentations, social media, and printed literature. The TAPP program also helps address contamination in stormwater runoff through other cost effective means, such as rain gardens. The City provides grants for rain gardens, which keep and treat stormwater on one’s own property. In 2014, TAPP facilitated the installation of numerous residential and institutional rain gardens throughout the community. The City also partnered with Native Nurseries to offer a workshop where attendees learned how to manage the pollution from stormwater run-off with rain gardens. Attendees received instruction on how to install a rain garden, and Native Nurseries staff helped gardeners select native plants that thrive in rain gardens.


Trees distributed through the Adopt-a-Tree program in 2014

ENERGY SOLAR – The City continues to support the production of solar energy through its net metering program and through the installation of solar PV (photovoltaic) systems on city buildings. These efforts help the City reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and the carbon emissions associated with electric generation. The City pays full retail kilowatt-hour (kWh) value for the electricity fed into its electric grid by customers participating in the net metering program. The capacity highlighted below offsets the need to generate an estimated 2,369,142 kWh per year and includes the following installations: Installation Type

Number of Systems



80 installations

404 kW


129 installations

1,126 kW


23 installations

232 kW


232 installations

1,762 kW

As part of the City’s solar efforts, the City’s Gemini Building added a 10.8-kW solar PV system in 2014. The system is expected to generate approximately 14,191 kWh per year. 11

ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND CONSERVATION MEASURES AT CITY FACILITIES – The City’s overall electric consumption for its operations continues to remain fairly steady. Electric consumption for city operations in 2014 was 94,795,220 kWh. This was an increase over the previous year and was largely attributed to weather (there was a 6% increase in heating and cooling degree days). To help further reduce energy consumption in its facilities, the City implemented a number of efficiency measures in 2014, including the following: HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) Upgrades The City upgraded the gymnasium’s HVAC system at Jack L. McLean Jr. Park with controls and devices that significantly improve the unit’s energy efficiency and its effectiveness at regulating relative humidity. City Hall and Tallahassee Police Department headquarters are both in the design phase for HVAC efficiency upgrades. Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESCO) The City’s energy savings performance contract with Honeywell continues to generate energy savings. The programs in the ESCO are aimed at reducing energy use and electric demand at city facilities. Through May 2014, the City again realized energy savings that exceeded the savings guaranteed under the contract. In what was the ninth year of the contract, the City savings associated with energy reductions were $513,540. Tallahassee leads the way with initiatives that address energy efficiency and electric consumption and demand. Renewable energy projects, like the PV system on the City’s Gemini Building pictured above, are important components of the City’s sustainability efforts.

ENERGY SMART PLUS – The City’s Energy Smart Plus (e+) program continued to further energy efficiency and conservation through a number of customer incentives in 2014, as shown in the chart below. e+ Initiative

Customers Reached and Savings

Neighborhood REACH Grants

403 issued

257,137 kWh saved

$28,249 saved

Energy Star Appliance Rebates

4,506 issued

750,052 kWh saved

$82,401 saved

Energy Star Homes Rebates

101 issued

155,591 kWh saved

$17,093 saved

Energy Retrofit Loans

491 issued

savings are included with grants/rebates

$3.3 million lent

Energy Audits

6,600 done

2,634 MWh saved

$289,354 saved

Energy Assistance Grants

410 issued

220,666 kWh saved

$24,242 saved

Ceiling Insulation Grants

428 issued

188,753 kWh saved

$20,736 saved

Energy Efficient HVAC Rebates

1,284 issued

1,047 MWh saved

$115,033 saved

Natural Gas Rebates

1,536 issued

1,543 MWh saved

$169,549 saved


All-electric fast-charge buses operated by StarMetro in 2014


CITY GREEN FLEET – When addressing energy, the City looks beyond its electric use and addresses fossil fuel consumption through innovative programs in its Fleet department. Alternative Fuel Vehicles The City’s alternative fuel vehicle fleet continues to expand, which helps reduce fossil fuel use while saving money over the long term. Through 2014, the City’s fleet included: • • • •

21 Supplemental Engine Bucket Trucks 13 Hybrid Heavy Duty Trucks 83 Less Idle Time Police Cruisers 18 Compressed Natural Gas Vehicles

GET THERE GREEN – The City’s Get There Green program, an initiative aimed at providing city employees alternative options for work-related travel, continued to grow in 2014. Staff could be seen riding to nearby meetings in one of the two electric vehicles or on one of the bicycles that are part of the program. During 2014, the numbers were as follows: • • • •

267 two-way trips 802.2 miles traveled 40.11 gallons of gas avoided $120.33 saved (with an estimated fuel cost of $3.00 a gallon for 2014) City Electric Vehicle

Biodiesel Fleet’s biodiesel operation was in limited production in 2014, as the Fleet department enhanced processes and upgraded equipment. Fleet produced approximately 2,500 gallons of biodiesel in 2014. Fuel and Solid Waste Programs Fleet also continued to implement a number of initiatives that reduce fuel use and/or decrease waste generation, such as: •

Incorporating lighter aluminum replacement bodies, which saves fuel

Using biodiesel, which saves fuel and reduces waste

Expanding the tire recapping program, which reduces waste

Using re-refined motor oil, which reduces waste

Miles traveled by the City’s electric buses in 2014


Get There Green Bike and Electric Car

ENERGY EFFICIENCY (DEMAND SIDE MANAGEMENT) – The City extended its PeakSmart program to small and mid-sized businesses through a small pilot of approximately 60 smart thermostats. If the initial pilot is successful, the City will explore expanding the pilot in the upcoming year.

Gallons of diesel fueluse avoided in 2014 due to the electric buses



Saved by not having to buy diesel for the electric buses

SOLID WASTE STAR3 – The City’s Start Thinking About Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling (STAR3) initiative, an effort to reduce the amount of waste generated at city facilities, continued in 2014. To address the reducing part of STAR3, the City began the development of a list of vendors that offer green services or products to assist city staff in their procurement decisions. The current list identifies vendors who provide green services and products for certain procurement categories. As an excellent example of incorporating STAR3 principles, the City’s Information Systems Services department participated in Hewlett Packard’s new bulk packaging program. The program packs eight computers to a box, allowing the City to go from 464 boxes in 2013 to 30 boxes in 2014. REDUCING PAPER USE – The City continues to explore and implement new ways to reduce the amount of paper used in its operation. These initiatives not only reduce the amount of paper product used, but they save money and, in some cases, offer our residents more convenient and easier ways of doing business with the City. Below are updates on new and existing paper-saving initiatives for 2014. Cash for Trash Starting in 2014, customers who participated in the City’s Cash for Trash program were issued a $5 credit on their utility account electronically rather than via a paper voucher. 13

FYI Training Equity and Workforce Development (EWD) converted registration, course evaluations, personal action plans, and course completion certificates for FYI employee training courses to electronic processes. EWD’s New Public Servant Initiative also moved to a primarily electronic format, and program evaluations were completed online. Employee Electronic Forms Human Resources now distributes Annual Critical Policies and other required forms electronically, joining these already in-place paperless initiatives: online application submission, annual benefits enrollment, and new-employee benefits enrollment. City Projects The Growth Management process that allows customers to submit documentation and pay fees online led to over $36,000 in paper savings in FY 2014. Applicants also avoided 22,410 vehicle miles. Electronic Vendor and Employee Payments The City began issuing vendor payments and employee reimbursements through electronic processes. This effort reduces the costs and paper-use associated with check printing and stuffing and mailing envelopes. The electronic vendor payments process saved the City $15,000 (from the initial limited launch from June to October 2014), with greater savings expected during the coming years.

The Trashtronauts created music at the City’s Sustainable YOU reception by repurposing trash into the instruments pictured above. The City looks for opportunities to address solid waste with a number of initiatives aimed at reducing, reusing, and recycling.

Asphalt Recycling Public Works, Underground Utilities, and Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Affairs reused 5,000 tons of asphalt mill chips from the Public Works resurfacing program. The reused chips divert material from the landfill and saved the City $55,000 in 2014. Recycling at the Electric Utility In 2014, the Electric Utility recycled over 1,782,000 pounds of iron, steel, copper, and aluminum from construction scraps, obsolete transformers, and field material. The Utility sold over 23,000 gallons of used transformer oil to be repurposed as fuel. Recycling revenues reached a high of $388,556 in FY 2014. Wood Waste Recycling In 2012, the City’s Public Works department shifted from disposing tree-related debris at an offsite, privately-owned location to using a more convenient city-owned site. A private vendor grinds the debris and hauls it to a biomass plant where the chipped material is used to generate electricity. The use of the Cityowned site and the private vendor reduces city-vehicle trip lengths and waste-disposal fees, saving the City $11,482 in 2014.


Community participation rate in city recycling in 2014


COMMUNITYWIDE SOLID WASTE DIVERSION – By expanding education and outreach and incorporating single stream recycling (right), the City has significantly increased the amount of recyclable material collected from the community, saving money and reducing the amount of waste that goes to the landfill.

SINGLE STREAM RECYCLING – Through single stream recycling, customers can now put all of their traditional recyclables together in one bin (the City converted 40,000 bins, rather than buying new). Single stream makes it easier for customers to recycle, as they no longer need to separate the material. The convenience seems to have paid off, with the City’s first full year of single stream recycling leading to a 23.4% increase in material collected over the prior year.

During the five-year period from 2010 to 2014, the City’s recycling tonnage increased by just over 69%.

FY 2014 City Solid Waste Collected in Tons FY 2014 Total Recycling


Total Garbage


Recycling as a % of Garbage Collected


City Solid Waste Totals 2010 to 2014

Metal recycling at the Electric Utility


Solid Waste in Tons

RECYCLING – The City incorporates recycling as part of its daily operations. These efforts not only divert material from the landfill, they often lead to dollar savings and revenue, as seen in the efforts below.

116,000 96,000 76,000 56,000 36,000 16,000


















Ton of coffee grounds composted from City Hall in 2014


WASTE REDUCTION PROGRAMS – The City’s Procurement Division has fully implemented and increased the use of electronic payments to contractors, suppliers, vendors, and employees through the following processes: vendor selfservice, purchase order dispatch, online vendor registration, automation of check request and approval, and automation of the city-travel approval process (see p. 13 for additional information on the 2014 additions).

Recycling rate for City Hall (recycled material as a percent of overall trash) in 2014



Tons of recyclable material collected during the 2014 Cash for Trash event

LAND DEVELOPMENT & MOBILITY LAND DEVELOPMENT – During 2014, the City continued to redevelop land within the urban core, transforming contaminated, blighted, or otherwise underutilized areas into cultural amenities that address environmental concerns, enhance walkability, and strengthen economic vitality. Cascades Park In 2014, Blueprint 2000 completed the construction of Cascades Park. Through the City’s significant clean-up effort, the once contaminated 24-acre area in the southeast corner of Tallahassee’s downtown was transformed into a park that includes an amphitheater, multi-use trails and paths, an interactive water play plaza, a children’s play area, and many other amenities. The stormwater management system within the park improves water quality and abates flooding through two stormwater ponds, a recreated wetland, a stream, and waterfalls. These features treat 73% of the annual stormwater runoff from the surrounding 860 acre basin. Cascades Park has received the following awards: • • • •


The Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association, Award of Excellence in the Planning Project Category Florida Planning and Zoning Association, Outstanding Design Excellence Award Florida Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, People’s Choice Award for the Smokey Hollow Commemoration Urban Land Institute (ULI) North FL Chapter, 2014 Award for Excellence in the Public Sector category

Capital Cascades Trail Blueprint 2000, the intergovernmental agency that administers projects funded by the one cent sales tax, began construction of the Capital Cascades Trail Segment 3 project in 2014. The project expands the multi-use trail located in Cascades Park. When completed in 2016, the trail will broaden mobility options in the area and provide stormwater improvements along the FAMU Way Extension, a new east-west roadway under construction. Gaines Street Art Alley In 2014, the City began construction on enhancements to the Art Alley, which will transform the undeveloped easement in the All Saints District into a functional and attractive pedestrian pathway and habitat for wildlife. The project is funded in part through a $25,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Federation and Wells Fargo, as well as in-kind contributions from a number of community partners that total over $32,000. The City incorporated salvaged and recycled material into the project’s construction, including reused bricks, recycled plastic decking, and salvaged steel beams that will serve as light poles and display areas. The project, which is expected to be completed in 2015, will address stormwater, erosion, lighting, safety, and access issues.

The City’s land development practices and mobility alternatives are integral to its overall sustainability. Green infrastructure, such as the stormwater features in Cascades Park pictured above, highlight these efforts.

GREEN BUILDING UPDATES FOR CITY BUILDINGS – By incorporating green-building practices, the City is able to better address energy efficiency, solid waste, air quality, and other environmental concerns during construction or renovation. The City implemented the following green-building practice in 2014. Material Reuse and Recycling At City Hall, crews removed and reused the existing fascia granite panels and brick and recycled 6,000 square yards of carpet. At LeVerne F. Payne Community Center, crews recycled damaged aluminum gutters and downspouts. Air Quality At City Hall and the Los Robles Gate, crews used low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) solvents and paints, which are more environmentally friendly than typical solvents and paints and put fewer pollutants into the air. PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION – Public transit provides residents the opportunity to save money, while also reducing emissions and congestion. In 2014, the StarMetro expanded its public transportation options with the two programs below.

BICYCLING – As a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Community, it is important to the City to continue to make bicycling safe and convenient for those looking for alternative transportation options. The City implemented the following in 2014.

All Access Pass Through this program, StarMetro offers businesses, schools, and apartment complexes reduced rates if they agree to purchase passes for all of their employees, students, or residents. The pilot program saw a 45% usage rate. Based the FREE on MULCH pilot’s success, StarMetro is seeking additional agreements.

Bike Corral The City, in partnership with the Downtown Improvement Authority, installed its first downtown bike corral (for 12 bikes) at the intersection of College Ave and Adams St.

FLEX Route In FY 2014, StarMetro launched the Lake Jackson FLEX Route, which provides curb-to-curb service for all Lake Jackson residents and connects with two city routes at the Lake Jackson Town Center. One FLEX vehicle takes an estimated 10 cars off the road, during morning and evening hours.

Bike Boxes The City installed three new bike boxes on Call St (at the Bronough and Macomb street approaches). Bike Tallahassee The Tallahassee-Leon County Planning department updated the Bike Tallahassee website with more user-friendly content and a new interactive map application. 3-Feet Safety Education Event This Citycoordinated event was held on May 7 to increase awareness of the Florida 3-foot law.

Art Alley

South City Revitalization – CARES Event

SOUTH CITY REVITALIZATION – Developed in 2014, the South City Neighborhood Strategic Plan is the result of a collaborative effort between the City, residents, businesses, neighborhood clergy, and social service-based organizations focused on the South City neighborhood.

The plan seeks to address the following: Public Safety - Enhance public safety to ensure people feel safe and secure where they live, work, and play. Economic Vibrancy - Support initiatives and projects that offer diverse business development and job training/ growth opportunities, and quality infrastructure improvements that promote residential and commercial redevelopment. Recreational Opportunities - Provide and support programs that offer a wide array of activities for youth and adults that contribute to their health and wellness. Educational Enhancements - Support lifelong learning opportunities through strategic partnerships with academic institutions, social service entities, and other organizations. Clean and Healthy Environment - Support the establishment of a sustainable community that is clean and presents a healthy environment.



Trips provided by StarMetro in 2014


Bus passenger miles traveled by StarMetro riders in 2014


Passenger vehicles removed from the road in 2014 because people took StarMetro instead

City of Tallahassee Sustainability Partners

2014 Green Initiatives Annual Report City of Tallahassee For more information visit Like us at

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City of Tallahassee 2014 Green Initiatives Annual Report  
City of Tallahassee 2014 Green Initiatives Annual Report