The City’s Path
Toward Sustainable Growth
City of Houston
August 2008 1
Framework for Sustainability
Buildings: Reduce energy consumption per The City of Houston has
square foot through increased energy reduced its kwh use by 5.8%
from 2004 through 2007 even
Transportation: Migrate to more fuel as services have expanded
efficient, cleaner vehicles, fleets across our
Infrastructure: Increase energy The Houston region’s
productivity utilization and long-term electricity use has increased
reliability for major infrastructure
only 1.1% per annum from
Energy Supplies: Embrace renewable 2004 through 2007 even as
energy sources to provide reliable, secure
power for our region leveraging wind and
metropolitan area has grown
solar resources over 4% per annum
Environmental Stewardship: Divert
waste flow away from landfills to recycling
paths. Improve water and air quality across
the region. Plant a million trees. 2
Defining Sustainable Growth Initiatives
Segment Programs for Change
Buildings Building codes
Green Building standards
Energy efficiency work
Transportation Hybrid vehicles
Flexible work hours
Infrastructure Traffic Signal LEDs
Combined Heat & Power
Sewer Collection System
Grass Root Change Houston Green Expo
Energy Supplies and Renewable Power
Environment Million Trees Plant
Woody Waste Recycling
Benzene Reduction Plan
Surface Water Quality 3
More Stringent Building Codes
Comprehensive upgrade of the city’s building codes to make Houston a leader in
energy efficiency for new construction and major renovations.
• ASHRAE 90.1 2004 plus local amendments for commercial construction
• Latest standard with software compliance support
• Increased energy efficiency: cool roofs, efficient lighting
• Approved by City Council; code in effect August 1, 2008
• IECC 2006 plus local amendments for residential construction
• Target: 15% increase in energy efficiency
• Enhancing City’s Code enforcement to support code transformation
• Summer workshops on new code; increased staff and training
• Green building resource center to help educate builders and owners
Green Building Program
Accelerate market transformation of Green Building through leadership, showcases,
and private sector partnership.
• Mayor’s Resolution, passed in June 2004, requiring all new City buildings and major
renovation to be LEED certified (21 buildings, representing 1M sq ft LEED
• Mayor’s Green Building Advisory Committee to showcase LEED buildings in private
• LEED Quick Start to expedite permitting; graduated fee rebates with LEED certification
• Over 70% of the new Class A commercial office buildings (over 50K sq ft in size)
designing for LEED classification (6 M sq ft committed), nearly half of the residential
new homes built are Energy Star.
Energy Savings Performance Work
Significantly reduce energy consumption at City facilities by 20-30% with no
upfront capital by financing through utility savings.
• City of Houston one of the first to contract large scale energy efficiency work:
• 271 facilities, 11 million sq ft under consideration
• Office buildings, libraries, multi-service centers, police stations, fire stations,
• Siemens and TAC selected as ESCOs
• Building audits, energy efficiency work, measurement/verification
• Audit work underway at 2 million sq ft
• Financing driven by lower utility bills available to remove up-front capital costs
• Center Point energy efficiency incentives available
Residential Energy Efficiency Program
Implement a “neighborhood by neighborhood” energy efficiency program targeted
at low income, hard to reach homeowners to reduce kwh consumption.
• 3,789 homes weatherized across 10 different neighborhoods
• Participation rates approach 50%; home owner satisfaction high
• 12% “weather adjusted” kwh reduction; high as 20% over summer months
• Efficient implementation model; contractors go house to house
• Agencies in Action program for more comprehensive retrofits including appliance
replacements (old refrigerators recycled)
• City administered program funded by Transmission & Distribution company and
Affordable Housing funds
• Working with Clinton Climate team to deliver mass market program
Fuel Efficient, Clean Vehicles
Lead the way for Houston to migrate to hybrid vehicles with dramatic increases in
fuel efficiency and cleaner emissions.
• City’s goal to have 50% of non-emergency, administrative fleet (2800 vehicles) by
2010. Currently have over 500 hybrids in our fleet (mostly Prius, some Ford
• Metro is purchasing 100 hybrid buses a year through 2011 for a total of 449 hybrid
buses. Currently 142 in fleet by end of 2008.
• Working with HAS and partners to migrate to clean fuel fleets at airport.
Energy Efficient LED Traffic Lights
Replace traffic light signals at all 2400 intersections within the city with energy
• 400 intersections completed in 2007 (mostly in downtown district)
• Remaining 2000 intersections to be completed by mid 2009
• 90% reduction in electricity use by new traffic light LEDs; last significantly longer
(7 years versus 1 year)
• Saves the City $10K/day or $3.6M a year in electricity costs
• Upgrading heads from 8 inch to 12 inch as part of process
Combined Heat and Power Solutions
Implement CHP solutions at City’s waste water treatment plants to increase energy
utilization & reduce overall grid delivered kwh consumption.
• Feasibility study carried out by HARC for 69th Street Waste Water treatment plant
showed 14% ROI with 7 year payback. Decision to focus effort at Almeda Sims
which is in the process of major facility upgrade.
• Preliminary engineering development (including environmental permit analysis)
kicked off at Almeda Sims Waste Water treatment plant for CHP solution. FY10
CIP includes a $10 million line item appropriations for project.
• Use a Design-Build development process with HARC/Bocci assisting in engineering
and construction project definition and procurement documents.
Improving Sewer System
Implement a comprehensive sewer pipeline renewal plan for Houston
beginning in 2005 through 2015.
• Collection system comprised of 33.5M feet of gravity collection lines, 1.5M feet of
force lines, 420 lift stations, and 39 waste water treatment plants.
• Increased pipeline rehabilitation and replacement rates over 10-fold from the 1990s
from ~0.25% to 3.1% 2005 forward. Renewed 4M linear feet of pipe from FY05 to
• Doubled pipe cleaning from goal of 2M feet to over 4M feet cleaned per year. Have
cleaned 17.5M linear feet from FY05 to FY08.
• Strengthened Ordinance including increased pump-out frequency (4 per year) of
interceptors (e.g., grease traps) and enforcement. Public education/outreach.
• Positive impact: 311 calls for System Stoppages decreased from 37,405 in FY03 to
25,017 in FY08. Actual Sanitary Sewage Overflow repairs decreased from
~400/month in FY05 to ~100/month in FY08.
Houston Green Expo
April 5-6 2008 Reliant Park
What is it: 10,000 in attendance Green is here today!
1st Regional Green Expo 24 consumer focused Green makes economic
Featuring certified green education sessions sense and is good for our
products and services environment
Nationally known speakers:
5 themes: David Freeman and Joseph Green products and services
Green Building Romm are available today
Renewable Energy Free and open to the public Living and working a greener,
Alternative Transportation more sustainable lifestyle good
Green Youth Zone for us individually, our
businesses, our community,
Promote and accelerate the adoption of CFLs among Houston homeowners and
• Door to door hand-out of 250,000 CFLs to Houston home owners via Mayor’s
Youth Summer Job Corp in partnership with Centerpoint
• 4 bulbs per house plus energy efficiency tips given to estimated 62,500 homes
• 100 youths hired by Houston Works (item passed Council 5-28-08)
Start date: June 4, 2008. End date: July 18, 2008
• CenterPoint funding $670K for the effort including bulbs and administration costs
• “Power to People” web site to promote and educate public on energy efficiency
Embracing Renewable Energy Sources
Large scale purchases of Renewable Power delivered to City of Houston facilities via
long term contracts.
• COH has purchased 1.7 billion kwh (40 MW of power) from Texas Wind Farms, at
a fixed price of 7.5 cents / kwh to be delivered over the next 5 years. This will
supply 25% of our annual requirements for electrical load.
• The EPA ranks the City of Houston as the number one municipality in terms of the
amount of renewable energy purchased.
• EPA Grant: Feasibility study for developing a 10 MW utility scale solar farm on the
300 acre Sunnyside landfill.
• DOE 2008 Solar America City grant to increase solar deployment across the region
(see next page).
DOE Solar America City:
Solar Houston Initiative
Establish a sustainable infrastructure for Houston led by an Advisory Council with
representatives from COH, academia, endowment, and private sector.
• Solar neighborhood program: Building 10 “near zero energy” homes in the Houston
Hope neighborhoods that include 1-2 kw rooftop solar.
• Demonstration sites: 6.6 kw system at City Code Enforcement building, 6.6 kw
system at City Hall Annex
•Workforce: Green Curriculum established at the HCC including solar and energy
• K-12 Programs: Demonstration site at SPARC Park (Tinsley Elementary School),
working with HISD to integrate solar
• Public Outreach: Houston Solar web-site; City of Houston partnering with HREG to
host Solar Home Tour on October 4, 2008
• Advanced Meters: Initial settlement for 125,000 to be deployed starting
this summer. Time of Use application enables real economics for solar.
Million Trees Plus Planted Goal
Significantly increase the number of trees planted and sustained across the region
through a public – private partnership.
• Significant ramp up in tree plantings from 814 per year prior to 2003 to over 62,600
planted from 2004 through 2007 by City of Houston.
• City of Houston will plant 100,000 trees from October 2008 through January 2009.
$750K in budget to water and maintain trees in 2009. 2000 medians identified for
• Public – Private partnership includes Apache, Trees for Houston, Greater Houston
Partnership to achieve the Million Trees planted goal.
• TXDOT Houston plantings: $28.5M funding ($22.8M federal earmark and $5.7M
state matching) beginning in 2002. Planted 600K trees from 2002 through 2008.
130K trees contracted to be planted in 08/09. Additional 200K trees planned in
09/10. Total 930K trees planted in the Houston area.
Diversion of Waste from Area Landfills
Implement a City wide recycling program to divert woody waste and yard
waste from area landfills.
• Potential for diverting 150K tons per year or approximately 20% of our waste from
• Renegotiated long term “Put or Pay” contracts with area landfills to enable diversion
of waste from area landfills.
• Setting up mulching / composting facilities in each quadrant of the city to take and
process waste. Two quadrants completed and receiving material.
• Lower tipping fees of $12.45 per ton at mulching facility versus $32 per ton at
landfill results in overall annual savings of $1.7 million to the City.
• Successful pilot of 47,000 homes conducted over past 6 months. 70% reduction in
landfilled material from pilot (these areas have high concentration of green waste).
Improving Houston’s Air Quality
A regional approach to reduce particularly harmful emissions such as
Benzene and 1,3-Butadiene.
• Scientific Task force on health effects of air pollution completed in 2006. Task force
members include: Baylor College of Medicine, MD Anderson, Rice, UT Medical
Branch, UT School of Public Health. Scientific ranking of pollutants.
• Benzene Reduction Plan completed in 2007. Need for reduction validated by
regional business-led task force. Goal of a 50% reduction by the companies in the
plan at about 20 sites.
• 1,3-Butadiene reduction of 75% at Milby Park monitor from 2004-2008 resulting
from City of Houston legal action against TPC plant located 1/3 of a mile
from the monitor.
Ensure Quality Water Supply for Region
Implement comprehensive Source Water Protection Program for surface
water bodies to ensure long-term quality of our water supplies.
• Installed and operate 20 solar powered lake circulators (Solar Bees) to mix water ahead of the
Northeast Water Purification Plant. Installed and operate 3 real time water quality monitors at
Lake Houston sampling 12 water quality parameters, connected wirelessly to the USGS and
posted on their website.
• New Ordinances in the works (expansion of Chapter 23) to prohibit discharge into Lake
Houston from boats, houses, subdivisions, others.
• Partnership with the US Geological Services, $5M over 5 yrs, to study characteristics of Lake
Houston in response to pollutants. Impact monitoring.
• Public Outreach: Water Works Museum to open summer 2009. Schools and community
programs to engage public to raise awareness and educate.
• Stakeholder group to convene in September 2008 to develop a regional strategy and
implementation plan for quality upstream water sources. Immediate issues include
upstream sand mining, fertilizer run-offs. 19