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Is your city practicing its own green ideas?

If the city or village you live in encourages “green living” by promoting recycling programs, rain barrel use, CFL or LED lights, and restrictions on water use during hot summer months, you’d like to know that the city fathers practice what they preach.

A good way to find out would be to determine what sort of green practices are in place at City Hall and other municipal buildings and operations.

Chances are, you will find a “green team” in place at the city level, pushing for conservation through example as much as through educational and marketing campaigns.

In Geneva, IL, a “Green Team” has been assembled with a representative from the various city departments being a part of this panel that studies ways for the city to embrace conservation projects and habits.

But it starts right in their own surroundings, with the City Hall building being upgraded with more energy-efficient equipment — from the HVAC system to the CFL lights on timers replacing incandescent bulbs.

Putting a dishwasher in the City Hall building may sound odd, but it allows plates, glasses and mugs to be cleaned and reused, rather than supplying the building with wasteful paper products, single-use plastic forks, knives and spoons, or even Styrofoam products.

Programmable thermostats in Geneva’s water treatment plant are an example of how most city buildings have been upgraded in an effort to reduce power costs. In another interesting twist, the gas generated from the main digester building that treats waste water is being used to provide fuel to heat exchangers. Rather than ship sludge off to landfills, the high-quality sludge is being used to fertilize farm fields.

The city takes its green measures to the street, literally. Street lighting has been converted from mercury vapor to more efficient high-pressure sodium, and city crews are recycling tree limbs and branches into wood chips, while also recycling scrap metal as a source of revenue.

Ongoing energy audits allow the city to track waste and make improvements in older city buildings.

Last, but not least, don’t be surprised if you see police cruising around your hometowns on a Segway in the future. There would still be squad cars available for emergency response, but fewer of them if the police are making some rounds through town on a Segway – thus saving on fuel costs and lowering greenhouse gases in the environment.


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