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Sustainability efforts equal big savings and respect for our environment

Efforts saved more than $4.5 million since 2005

Post Date:04/22/2019 1:01 PM

Happy Earth Day! Fox River looking east

Established in 1970 as a way to get environmental issues on the US political agenda, Earth Day has since grown into an international movement, campaigning for sustainability across the globe. Appleton has been a leader in implementing smart, sustainable practices. Sustainability is important to the City, but not just for the label. The City makes efforts to engage in sustainable practices because it makes sense for the community in terms of quality of life and economic interest. We consider the long-term impact of decisions, with respect to keeping our residents healthy, and finding ways to save money along the way. Sustainable practices happen to meet these goals.

Big impacts in sustainability are achieved through big efforts. Our list of initiatives is impressive and you can read about it in our 33-page sustainability master plan.

“Local governments owe it to their taxpayers and local communities to build and maintain facilities with a focus on energy efficiency, sustainability, and environmental quality that reduces operational costs that are paid by taxpayers, and that is what the City of Appleton will continue to do,” said Parks, Recreation, and Facilities Manager, Dean Gazza,

Below are some of the coolest & most impactful projects we've undertaken that have saved us $4.5 million since 2005. 

- The wastewater treatment plant has been one of the most effective innovators. While many wastewater plants just burn off the methane that is a process by-product, our plant utilizes this methane through biogas boilers installed in 2011. The methane gas heats the boilers that then heat our facilities, helping to reduce our annual natural gas usage by nearly 50%. We also have future plans to add a third boiler.

  • Bio-solids from the plant get composted with yard waste. In 2016 we produced 6,750 cubic yards of compost for the community to use.We also sell compost to area farmers that helps generate revenue for the wastewater utility as well. 
  • The 2016 conversion to UV light filtration at our water treatment facility has reduced the use of chemicals in our processes & reduced energy costs by nearly one million dollars each year.
  • 62% of the city owned streetlights and over 300 of our leased light had been converted to LED by 2017. This effort is still ongoing for all lights in parks and city buildings.
  • Adding recycling containers in all City parks and the downtown area has helped increase our landfill diversion to recycling plants to almost 24%.
  • Appleton is designated as a Green Tier Legacy Community meaning we collaborate with other communities and organizations to develop and implement sustainable measures! In 2018 we earned a 71% on our scorecard – the highest of any participating community.
  • Public works crews have added miles of bike lanes and trails including trestle conversions with our Parks/Recreation Department. Though this act does not appear sustainable initially, these efforts encourage alternatives to automobile transport and help decrease emissions.
  • The sidewalk poetry program is another way that we are encouraging people to ditch their cars! By beautifying sidewalks, we hope more people choose to use them.
  • Transit busses are gradually being replaced with diesel models that are expected to be 90% cleaner in terms of emissions!
  • Crews use green seal cleaning products when cleaning city buildings. Even the weed control in the parks is achieved through use of horticultural vinegar.
  • GPS devices were installed in over 100 city vehicles. By using GPS, drivers can find the most direct route to their location and produce fewer emissions!

We are proud of the conscious effort we have made to increase energy efficiency, and improve air and water quality in Appleton. The interdepartmental collaboration is what has made us so successful at implementing citywide initiatives. We will continue to dedicate ourselves to this mission of increasing energy efficiency and cost savings through replacing windows, installing additional LED light fixtures, and purchasing additional diesel busses. Sustainability is about the future, and our efforts are ongoing.

Appleton Communications Coordinator Chad Doran can be reached at (920) 832-5814 or chad.doran@appleton.org

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