Americans today are recognizing, more and more every day, the need to treat our environment well, reusing, recycling and simply trying to make less of an impact on nature. Every day we try to use fewer water bottles, recycle the plastic that we do use, carpool to reduce emissions, go organic, and so much more. While every individual effort helps – every single straw kept out of a landfill makes a difference – we can make an even larger impact if entire cities strive to go green as a community. We have seen examples of cities going green in Seattle and New York, among others, and how their efforts at public transportation and recycling can be so effective. Now, we as a society should call on every city to strive for green in various facets of city operations. Following is a list of the top 5 reasons that a city should go green and ways that they can do so.
Going Green Saves on Maintenance. In the long term, going green can save money on maintenance of various systems, including surface roads and highways. When people carpool or ride bikes there is less wear and tear on roads. This saves costs in repair and replacement of the roads. It can also reduce the chance of auto accidents which would use law enforcement resources.
Going Green Can Make Us All Breathe Better and Stay Cool. One of the best ways for a city to go green is by installing green roofs on municipal buildings and encouraging their development on commercial buildings and apartment complexes. Green roofs are long-lasting, cost effective roofing systems that actually use grass and plants to cover a roof. These systems help a city deal with storm water management and reduce heat island effect. When intensive green roofs are created to become gardens and parks it also increases our usable living space, making people healthier and more relaxed. By installing green roofs on various large, flat topped buildings cities can improve their flooding issues, decrease pollution, improve air quality, provide habitats for nature and make daily life more pleasant.
Going Green Can Earn You National Attention. Today, going green draws positive attention. If you perform a web search on the greenest city in the United States a few will rise to the top, but San Francisco often tops the list. This search also draws attention to various political candidates who have made green pledges on behalf of their city and other fascinating news stories. In short, green equals public relations. By making a city green you not only make the people living their healthier and happier, but you generate positive press for the city itself, giving people something good to talking about and topping the type of lists that make businesses and people want to move to a city, helping ensure future growth.
Going Green Can Let You Cash in on Your Geographic Uniqueness. There are many ways where the green choice is also the economical choice. Look at Anchorage, Alaska who is saving money on street lights with a simple trick that homeowners have been using for years – automatic dimmers. Alaska spends half the year covered in sunlight almost 20 hours a day, and the other half of the year covered in a blanket of snow so reflective and constant that it amplifies the moonlight to the level of near dawn. By installing dimmer switches city-wide, Anchorage is able to dim their street lamps when conditions do not require that much artificial light. Combined with an effort to upgrade their street lights to LEDs, Anchorage is looking at a savings of nearly three million dollars each year. Similarly, sundrenched towns can use solar powdered street lights to save.
Going Green Can Solve Some Problems. Sometimes, going green is actually a problem solving method. For example, Boston, Massachusetts is going green by turning to methane for fuel production. Various projects around the city are looking at this problem, with one striving to turn lawn waste picked up within neighborhoods into usable energy for consumers. It is possible that a homeowner could end up purchasing power to run their snow blower that was created by the leaves that they put out at the curb!