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City of Waco pushes to improve its environmental sustainability

Posted at 10:38 PM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 23:38:24-04

WACO, TX — The City of Waco is taking a good look within to find the most efficient use of resources with the lowest impact on the planet.

"I think clean energy and sustainable energy is just good for the environment in general, and again as technology catches up to a practical application and a cost-effective application, I think that's what gets everybody's attention," said City of Waco Councilmember Jim Holmes.

Last summer, Waco city officials, along with consultants, put together an energy guidance document, which is basically a playbook on the city's sustainability from air and water quality to energy and pollution.

"It takes inventory of that to see where are we in the renewable energy continuum. Do we need to be getting more electric cars? Do we need to be thinking about solar energy on our city buildings? And I think the answer is yes in both of those cases," said Holmes.

On the list of projects is the new Fire Station #6 on 25th Street, which will be equipped with solar panels on its roof that will generate 45% of the building's electricity.

Several cars in the city fleet are already hybrid, if not electric. The City is working to installing more electric charging stations.

"In addition to that, the energy document called for the review of our city electricity, going to total renewable resources, so we've converted our city electric contract to totally renewable energy," said Holmes.

According to the energy document, by the city switching to 100% renewable energy, projected savings are $413,781 annually and $2.97 million over the contract's seven-year term.

Meanwhile, environmentalists like Dr. Alan Northcutt say we need to cut carbon emissions by at least 45% in the next nine years to prevent what could be a dangerous rise in global temperatures.

"When we get into more drought, more heat waves, we're talking about crop failure, and then we're talking about famine. These impacts will just get worse if we don't act," said Dr. Northcutt.

People can help reduce their own carbon footprint by choosing an electric plan that's 100% renewable and making the switch from gas-powered cars to electric ones.

"I think we do have a willingness to change. We went from horses to cars, and there was some resistance if you think back. We're gonna make that transition just like we did in the 20th century," said Dr. Northcutt.

You can also invest in rooftop solar panels, and generate your own power.

Both Holmes and Dr. Northcutt are running for Waco City Council District 5, along with Charra Burns and Royce Montgomery.