Recycling, building and vehicle initiatives are expanding, mayor says
April 21, 2011
By Maggie Galehouse
"We're trying to find more ways to get people out of doors," Mayor Annise Parker said at an Earth Day Breakfast held outside City Hall earlier this week.
That effort includes everything from encouraging residents to grow vegetable gardens — the city grows herbs and vegetables in huge pots around city buildings and parks - to enabling more city dwellers to recycle.
At the breakfast, Parker updated a green-leaning crowd on Houston's environmental accomplishments.
"One-third of city residents have curbside, single-stream recycling," Parker noted, adding that she herself is a "rabid recycler" whom staff has pulled away from trash bins when she sees recyclables that have been thrown away.
"We are the oil-and-gas capital," Parker said, "but we want to be the energy capital."
Among the city's green accomplishments:
The City Hall Farmers Market, launched last year, sells local produce from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays at 901 Bagby.
Houston is the largest municipal purchaser of wind energy in America.
Houston has 118 buildings that are LEED certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating points to energy efficiency, water savings, use of green materials, sustainable site development and more. Houston ranks sixth in the country for cities with green buildings.
More than 300 organizations are registered with the Houston Green Office Challenge, which recognizes achievements in energy usage, waste, water and tenant participation (sign up at HoustonGOC.org).