Do you know all about the GREEN efforts in St. Petersburg, Florida?
Recently, St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster along with the St. Petersburg City Council have been hosting public budget summits to offer the community an opportunity to speak up on what they consider top priorities to help address the city’s budget deficit. Overwhelmingly, people have expressed that they would prefer to pay more versus having services cut in the city—though they also would like some assurance that the city is using its funding as efficiently as possible in the process.
To this end, several community members expressed that they think the city needs to have a stronger focus on “going green” to not only help the environment but also to help cut energy costs for the city. Foster quickly interjected that St. Petersburg has many green initiatives; that the city has accomplished a lot with plans to do more.
And, on May 29th, the city held a ribbon cutting ceremony at The Coliseum (one of 21 city facilities) to recognize the successful completion of the city’s most recent green energy-saving investments.
New solar panels for water heater systems, HVAC systems, chiller plant replacements, and lighting retrofits were installed at the Coliseum and City Hall. It is reported that these green changes will save $22,117 annually in energy costs.
The May 29th ceremony was an opportunity for the City of St. Petersburg and Pinellas County officials, along with representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy and local contractors to gather, recognizing the completion of projects valued at $2.38 million.
The funding source for the energy saving projects, which began in 2010, was the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG), administered by the U.S. Department of Energy and available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The City of St. Petersburg reports that over the years, the city has partnered with more than 25 local contractors, small businesses, nonprofit organizations and professional consultants to complete the city’s list of green initiative projects. Some of these projects include:
- Jordan School renovation
- Water Resources Administration building
- LED Traffic Signal conversions
- USF-SP and Progress Energy solar energy system
- 13 Fire Station upgrades
- Hybrid fleet and E-Z GO utility vehicles
- 2,300 acres of public parks system
- Water Conservation efforts
- Earth-Friendly Recycling program
- 10 Electric Vehicle Charging Stations installed downtown
As Florida’s first green city, St. Petersburg continues to be a pioneer in its commitment to living green. In 2007, the city received its green designation and in 2008, the city adopted an Executive Order to focus on specific program areas, including:
- Reporting of financial and emission reductions
- Meeting LEED standards for large new construction or renovation projects undertaken by the city
- Using alternative fuels
- Converting street lighting system to more energy efficient systems
- Developing and implementing a prototype solar project
More information on St. Petersburg’s green initiative can be found at: www.stpete.org/green.