Orlando: The City Beautiful Going Green

What are some of the things Orlando is doing to be a sustainable and
“green” city?

Orlando’s nickname is The City Beautiful. With growing concern about waste, renewable energy, sustainability, and quality of life for the next generation, the city’s office has created programs to help Orlando be “green” and beautiful.  

According to City of Orlando Public Information Officer Ashley Papagni, being a green city means caring about the environment and giving residents and businesses access to programs and resources to help protect it. 

Accolades So Far

Orlando’s mayor Buddy Dyer has shown his commitment to the environment over his six terms. Orlando ranks 18th in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) green power rankings. Orlando is a CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) A-List City, meaning its greenhouse gas reporting and reductions align with this third-party, non-profit’s guidelines. Also, Orlando has achieved Gold Certification by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for cities and community standards.  

Where to Focus

One program in particular that has been useful in the city’s endeavor to be environmentally friendly is Orlando Green Works (OGW). With OGW’s 2018 Community Action Plan, the city has honed in on areas it wants to affect change in by 2040. These areas include local food systems, livability, transportation and mobility, zero waste, clean water, clean energy and green buildings.

The city continues to explore opportunities to implement low-cost, renewable energy solutions with “the goal to reduce overall energy consumption by 25% and increase city-wide electricity generated by renewable energy sources to 100% by 2050,” Papagni says.

One way the city will try to reach those goals is by transitioning a number of municipal buildings to solar energy. Currently, the city utilizes close to 30 megawatts of solar, Papagni says, including rooftop solar and community solar from the Orlando Utilities Commission. Similarly, the city’s vehicle fleet has been converted to 92% alternative fuel vehicles and continues to transition to all-electric vehicles. 

Trees & The Future 

Since the launch of the city’s One Person One Tree Program in 2016, more than 15,000 free trees have been distributed to Orlando residents in an effort to increase the city’s tree canopy, which can help reduce the urban heat island effect, energy demands, and the need for air conditioning. An educational initiative called the Sustainability Adventure Program also hopes to shape the city’s future by taking urban-dwelling students on camping trips to educate them about sustainability and professions within the green industry. 

How You Can Get Involved

If you want to know what you can do beyond the usual reduce, reuse, recycle, think about growing your own food or becoming a member of one of the various community gardens in Orange County. You can switch to solar for your home, use public transportation, or carpool. Electric vehicles are very useful in reducing emissions and non-renewable energy. You could even sign up to get free composters and rain barrels to be more sustainable. 

For more information and/or tips about being more environmentally friendly, check out the City of Orlando’s Office of Sustainability and Resilience. https://bit.ly/OrlandoSustainability 


What do you think?

385 points
Upvote Downvote

Written by Tarre Beach

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *