Office of Sustainability- 2013 Year-in-Review

Jan 21, 2014 - 11:57 am

With January comes the sense of a fresh start and unlimited potential. While there’s a lot of thought put into making resolutions for the coming year, it’s also a chance to celebrate the previous year’s accomplishments. As we’ve been both strategizing AND reflecting over the last few weeks, the Office of Sustainability is finding a lot of reasons to celebrate. Our team is proud of the following 2013 accomplishments:

1. Recognized 111 local businesses as Austin Green Business Leaders, representing more than 12,000 employees and 10.2 million square feet of office space.

2. Awarded 19 $3,000 Bright Green Future Grants (an increase from 3 awards in 2012) for elementary, middle, and high school sustainability projects that promote environmental stewardship among K-12 students, as well as the broader community.

3. Raised Positive Impact on Climate and Community (PICC) funds in partnership with the Austin City Limits Music Festival to support Hill Country Conservancy’s Violet Crown Trail Project and offset over 2.2 million pounds of CO2.

4. Won a $152,000 Federal Highway Administration grant in partnership with Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) to make Austin’s transportation system more resilient to climate change (the final report will be released in late 2014).

5. Received a 2013 Climate Leadership Award from the Environmental Protection Agency and its non-profit partners: Association of Climate Change Officers, Center for Climate & Energy Solutions, and The Climate Registry.

6. Achieved a ranking of 6th in the nation for energy efficiency by the American Society for Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

7. Adopted a Sustainable Printer and Paper Policy for the City of Austin, as well as initiated a Sustainable Purchasing Pilot program, to save energy, natural resources, and money, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

8. Worked with more than 100 City staff from across departments as well as subject matter experts from state and federal agencies and community organizations to collect data and benchmark performance against 500 measures of community-wide sustainability in 44 categories as part of the application process for the STAR Community Rating System (the final rating will be announced spring of 2014).

9. Completed an EcoDistrict opportunity assessment to identify strategies for green development on the 70-acre project area that includes redevelopment of the Seaholm Power Plant, Green Water Treatment Plant, and new LEED-Certified Central Library.

10. Reached more than 10,000 members of the local, national, and international community face-to-face at numerous events, including the annual Earth Day festival, SXSW Eco Conference, University of Texas/Munich Germany Energy Xchange, and Future of Cities Conference.

Happy 2014 – let’s all work together to make it a bright, green year for Austin!

                           Austin City Skyline Photo