Recognizing its role as an environmentally-conscience good neighbor to hundreds of nearby homeowners, San Antonio International Airport reached a milestone in its airport and federally-funded Residential Acoustical Treatment Program completing the 1,000th home in late 2012.
The Downtown Operations Department renovated more than 20,000 sq. ft. of mature landscapes on the River Walk with more than 9,000 new plants better suited to the climate and lighting conditions.
Through its community outreach program, the Parks and Recreation Department's Tree Division planted 1,672 trees in 45 City parks, and provided more than 2,800 trees to local residents through tree adoption events. In partnership with CPS Energy, the Department provided funding support for the Green Shade Tree Rebate Program, in which 1,000 rebates were made available to residents who made tree purchases. The tree crews were also instrumental in transplanting and relocating 39 species of trees.
Recycling and other green initiatives remained a top priority for the City’s Solid Waste Management Department (SWMD). The department updated the Recycling & Resource Recovery Plan to move the goal of 60 percent recycling from 2020 to 2025, and in 2013 attained a 31 percent recycling rate.
The SWMD also launched the “I Recycle" marketing campaign, which included television commercials, Internet radio ads, billboards and brochures. The Department also successfully transitioned the Organics Recycling Pilot Program to Subscription Organics Recycling Program, and serviced approximately 9,600 homes in a service area covering 48,000 homes. The Program will continue into FY 2014. SWMD also developed and marketed the MyWaste mobile app to help customers manage household waste easier and faster.
Through SWMD, the City built and opened two bulky waste collection centers – the Bitters Bulky Waste Collection Center in the northern section of the city including those of multi-family facilities and gated communities.
In November 2012, the OS held a grand opening of the San Antonio Mission Reach Expansion to launch seven San Antonio B-Cycle bike share stations. By the end of August, there were a total of 10 new B-Cycle locations along the Mission Reach bringing the total number of stations in the system to 52. More stations will be added in FY 2014 at Mission Park Pavilions, Mission San Juan, and Mission Espada to bring the total number of San Antonio B-Cycle stations along the Mission Reach to 12.
Bicycle-safe resources development for 8 to 80-year-olds and for the San Antonio B-Cycle Urban Core Expansion was made possible when OS received two Transportation Enhancement grants from the Texas Department of Transportation. In addition, the Department received the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks grant for $295,774.
The Office of Sustainability continues to work with City Council offices to place more than 100 bike racks across San Antonio. OS staff supplied helmets, bike lights, sunscreen and water bottles to residents during many community events throughout the year, emphasizing the importance of bicycle safety and the Complete Streets initiative that aims to create streets that are safe and universally accessible for drivers, pedestrians, transit riders and bicyclists.
In 2013, OS, in partnership with the San Antonio Police Department, announced neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) as another environmentally-friendly travel option for residents and visitors in San Antonio. NEVs are low-speed vehicles that are inexpensive to own and operate, and emit no tailpipe emission, thus making them a green alternative to other vehicles on public streets.
Lighting retro-fits marked the completion of the fifth phase of the OS projects at 52 facilities comprised of more than 1,100 fixtures. Retro-fits included office buildings, community centers, recreation centers, health clinics, libraries, fire stations, and police stations, and resulted in the replacement of heating and cooling equipment systems to improve energy efficiency at one Health Department clinic and three San Antonio Fire stations.
The OS initiated and completed the sixth phase of interior and exterior lighting retro-fits at 27 properties, representing the installation of more than 3,800 fixtures. This included projects at parks, community centers, office buildings, parking garages, and a maintenance facility, as well as upgrades to approximately three miles of lighting of the River Walk. In total, this project accomplished more than $840,000 in improvements to City facilities and will yield more than $190,000 in annual energy and maintenance savings.
Five of the largest City-owned properties representing approximately three million square feet were retro-commissioned by the OS. They included the Alamodome, the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, the Central Library, Municipal Plaza, and the Public Safety Headquarters. OS will complete all improvements, as well as measurement and verification, in advance of the March 31, 2014 deadline.
One-hundred percent of City departments also maintained their departmental sustainability plans incorporating sustainability principles and initiatives within their daily operations.
The OS concluded the Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) totaling $12.9 million and achieved the following:
- Through the City Lights program, provided more than 850 business owners with a subsidized energy audits and no-cost to low cost lighting upgrades to save energy and improve lighting;
- Created the first bike sharing system in Texas through the San Antonio B-Cycle program, which is currently at 52 stations and more than 450 bikes in the system;
- Retro-fitted a host of municipal facilities through lighting, window film, and HVAC improvements resulting in nearly a million dollars in annual savings;
- Funded the development of the solar photo-voltaic array for the San Antonio International Airport; and
- Funded the successful Green Shade Tree Rebate Program, which planted 5,735 trees and provided $286,750 to households, non-profits, and business in the San Antonio area.
FY2013 also marked the conclusion of the OS-led $10 million Better Buildings ARRA grant, which produced several key results, including providing homeowners with subsidized and do-it-yourself energy audits; directly paying residential retro-fit incentives to homeowners who improved their average energy efficiency; and providing local contractors with certifications to perform energy efficiency evaluations of residential properties – growing the local green work force. The OS also successfully organized and hosted numerous major community events:
- Urban Environmental Accords Summit as part of the 57th Annual Sister Cities International Conference with more than 600 international and national attendees;
- The City of San Antonio’s 11th Annual Earth Day event at Woodlawn Lake that attracted more than 3,000 attendees;
- The City of San Antonio’s 5th Annual Green Building Awards ceremony distributed seven awards to local green builders with more than 80 guests in attendance; and
- In May 2013, more than 450 City employees participated in the Walk & Roll to Work event.
As part of the City’s Fiesta San Antonio recycling initiative, the OS recruited 180 City volunteers to participate in helping with the City’s recycling efforts during the 2013 Battle of Flowers and Fiesta Flambeau parades. During this third implementation year of the City’s Green Events Ordinance, there were 36 events that received certification and there was a diversion of more than 30 tons of trash from the landfill.
The OS entered its second year of partnership with Hertz 24/7 and expanded the carshare program. The program has expanded to include 28 carshare locations, including 13 downtown locations, one San Antonio International Airport location, five National Tire and Battery retail locations, and nine participating Walgreens stores. The program has recruited more than 1,600 registered users with approximately 300 City employees enrolled in the program. Twenty-nine percent of the enrolled City employees claim that thanks to the carshare system, they no longer drive alone to work.
Through the U.S. Department of Energy’s “SunShot Initiative” grant program, the OS and the Development Services Department (DSD) partnered to expedite the process for solar permitting by adding residential Solar Permits to its online permitting system. Solar installers can now apply for their solar permits online and provided their plans directly to the DSD for review. Once the solar installers’ plans are approved, installers can go online to pay their permit fees and schedule their inspections. This program, in partnership with the cities of Houston and Austin and led by the City of San Antonio, successfully completed all program scope requirements.
New landscaping on the River Walk
Energy Efficiency lighting on the River Walk
Green Shade Program
Green Building Solar Award winner
Walk & Roll to Work event participants