A Citywide Effort
As we work to address issues that impact our environment, the City of Spokane has made the choice to develop plans that are both environmentally and financially responsible.
We want to be good stewards of this place we call home and meet environmental regulations that protect our resources. At the same time, we recognize that our community has financial limitations; our median household income within the City continues to lag behind the state and nation. Our businesses, too, need assurances of predictability and affordability from their City government.
That means we must work to get multiple benefits for the dollars we spend. We want to gain above-ground improvements while we improve underground infrastructure. We want to use these projects to help grow our economy and create jobs. We want to ensure that we are not wasting available energy and resources, saving dollars for more important and direct services to the public.
There are many examples of how going green allows us to save money or improve service to citizens:
- Conversion of our solid waste truck fleet to compressed natural gas (CNG) from diesel fuel. CNG is less harmful to air quality, and the cost is about half that of diesel. We will transition the fleet over the next 10 years on a normal replacement schedule. When the entire fleet has been converted to CNG, fuel savings should total more than $1 million a year.
- Implementation of single-stream recycling. The new program has increased recycling by about 80 percent in its first year—with citizens recycling about 18,000 tons in the first year of the single-stream program compared to 10,000 tons in the previous year. The switch to single stream has allowed about 5,600 customers to select a smaller garbage container, saving them about $12 a month, while the City's solid waste utility has seen a lower incidence of injuries and more efficient deployment of resources.
- Addition of software that shuts down City computers automatically when they're not in use. Saving electricity, saving money, and protecting the integrity of our computer network.
- Using gas generated at the City's Water Reclamation Facility to power the plant and using electricity generated at the Upriver Dam to power water pumps to serve our citizens.
Our environmentally and financially responsible approach will help us boost our economy, save taxpayer dollars, and leave our community better off.