February 2015

The Green Matters e-newsletter is designed to give you a quick glimpse of important sustainability initiatives happening around the metro Atlanta region and beyond. Whether it's the latest research, new educational offerings, environmental stewardship efforts, or potential funding opportunities, this e-newsletter will help you stay abreast of what's happening in this important subject area.


Do hybrid, electric vehicles pay off for Fort Collins?

Hybrid and electric technology could be a financial game-changer for Northern Colorado municipalities, if they're willing to wait for the savings it brings.

Although purchasing green vehicles is often more costly up front, cities like Fort Collins say the initial cost is worth the payoff in the long run.

Based on the vehicle's lifetime costs, a Ford Fusion hybrid purchased by Fort Collins in 2012 will be $11,460 cheaper than its gas-powered counterpart purchased by the city in the same year, according to a Coloradoan analysis of three city-owned vehicles.

A Nissan Leaf, purchased by the city in 2013, will save a projected $21,625 over the gas-powered Ford Fusion. Ben Prochazka, of Electrification Coalition, estimates that fueling a Nissan Leaf for 90,000 miles would cost around $2,160, depending on electricity costs, bringing those savings to just under $20,000.

And the city continues to find ways to save money while greening its fleet.

Continue reading to discover how…

Seven Communities Commit to Sustainability

Seven local governments in the 10-county region were recently recognized for their leadership in implementing policies and practices that contribute to efficient and sustainable use of resources in metro Atlanta. Four counties and three cities obtained certification in the agency’s five-year-old Green Communities program.  

The following communities received certification points for their programs and policies to reduce their environmental impact:

  • City of Alpharetta – Recertified Gold
  • Cherokee County – Recertified Bronze
  • City of Decatur – Recertified, upgraded to Platinum
  • DeKalb County – Upgraded to Silver
  • Fulton County – Recertified Bronze
  • Gwinnett County – Upgraded to Gold
  • City of Sandy Springs – Certified Bronze

Several firsts were achieved this year; the City of Decatur was the first local government to reach Platinum certification – the highest level, Gwinnett County was the first county to reach Gold certification, and the City of Sandy Springs became certified for the first time.

Watch the video >

Chicken Fedoras and Serious Savings – Energy Efficiency Gamification

  • Be an Energy Rockstar Contest – The Hall family of Bellevue, WA turned off their lights, unplugged all nonessential appliances, cooked their meals outside, and used computers at the library instead of at home. In one month, they reduced their energy consumption by 94%, easily winning the grand prize—a $7,500 Lowe’s gift card.
  • Ugliest Lighting Contest – The City of Palo Alto, CA got its citizens to submit pictures of their most hideous incandescent or halogen lighting by offering the winner $400 toward an LED upgrade. The contest helped draw attention to the city’s many rebate programs for other efficiency upgrades, like appliances and solar panels.
  • Energy Chickens – In this game you are responsible for the health and well-being of a small group of adorable chickens living on a virtual farm. The catch? Each chicken represents a light or electronic device in your office. Left your printer on all night? Prepare to see that chicken looking withered and green the next morning. Remembered to turn off your computer? That chicken will grow and thrive. Keep up the good energy-saving behavior and your chickens will start laying eggs, which you can use in the virtual general store to buy things like flowers, fruit bushes, and yes, fedoras for your chickens.

Check out ACEEE’s analysis of over 53 energy efficiency games and apps

Green News from Near and Far

Georgia’s clean energy industry provides nearly 20,000 full-time jobs

Georgia House passes solar energy legislation, sends it to Senate

How the electric vehicle rode public subsidies into the mainstream

Electric vehicle charging accommodations discussed for Rockdale

30-acre “ATL Energy Park” proposed at Hartsfield-Jackson

Midtown’s Greenprint plan begins

Winter Bike Commuting Racks Up Miles

Foodscrap waste prohibited in Seattle

Burlington, VT Now Runs on 100 Percent Renewable Energy

Cleveland, Evanston and Seattle Lead in Climate Change Action

Can Melbourne lower its temperature by 4 degrees?

The Best Technology for Fighting Climate Change? Trees

Charlotte Moves Forward Planning $120 Million Neighborhood Investment

EPA Recognizes Outstanding Food Recovery Challenge and WasteWise Program Participants

Green Acres - Novel program benefits city, local businesses, and property owners

Getting to Green: Paying for Green Infrastructure Report

Who Will Pay America’s $1.5 Billion Recycling Bill?

Upcoming Sustainability Funding Deadlines

Environmental Education (EE) Grants
Applications due – March 6

Mayors' Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets
Opening Summit – March 12

Sprint Offers $5K to Students Who Find Innovative Ways to Recycle Smartphones
Applications due – March 27

DOE State Energy Program 2015 Competitive Awards
Transformative Category 2: Working with Local Governments
Applications due – March 31

Closed Loop Fund for Recycling
Applications due – Open until funds are used

Georgia Power Incentives for Energy Efficiency Retrofits
Applications due – Open until funds are used

Energy Efficiency Potential

40%: Buildings use this percentage of the world’s energy

20 – 40%: Energy savings if existing building stock is retrofitted

$290 Billion: Energy costs avoided through energy retrofits

600K – 900K: Green jobs created

Source & Infographic

Sustainability Interactive! 3.0
February 23 – Atlanta, GA

Next South Conference
February 27 – Atlanta, GA

Sustainable Atlanta Roundtable
March 6 – Atlanta, GA

Greenprints Conference
March 11 & 12 – Atlanta, GA

BOMA High Performance Building Summit
March 17 – Atlanta, GA

Earth Day Leadership Breakfast
April 17 – Atlanta, GA

Atlanta Streets Alive – West End
April 19 – Atlanta, GA

Construction & Demolition Waste Recycling Training
April 21 – Atlanta, GA

EarthShare of GA Earth Day Party
April 22 – Atlanta, GA

BOMA Streetcar Tour of Atlanta Buildings
April 23 – Atlanta, GA

National UMC Caring for Creation Conference
April 24 & 25 – Decatur, GA

International Compost Awareness Week
May 3 to 9 – Everywhere!

National Bike to School Day
May 6 – Everywhere!

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