The City of Coral Gables has been at the forefront of energy efficiency and green initiatives for more than 10 years. One of the first items to be replaced in all City facilities was light bulbs. Incandescent bulbs being used were replaced with compact florescent bulbs which are longer lasting and use less power. Electrical timers were installed in all parking lots, garages, parks and City facilities effectively managing the hours in which lights are turned on and off. Electric/automated thermostats are more precise and so the City has replaced manual devices with the digital thermostats for accurate temperature control. During the peak hours of energy usage, the City’s Police Station switches to generator power. The move not only conserves energy, but also gives the City the opportunity to test its generator.
An example of the compact florescent light bulbs the City uses.
Electrical timers control the lights at all City facilities and parks.
Recycling bins are conveniently located in break rooms and cafeterias at City facilities for employees to use.
Internally, a number of employees take advantage of the City’s recycling program and discard aluminum cans in designated receptacles. Sending emails instead of paper is encouraged whenever possible. Office lights are turned off at the end of the day along with all non-essential equipment. This simple step reduces the energy used by approximately 25 percent.
Metered parking space on Miracle Mile was turned into a serene garden for a day.
A metered parking space on the corner of Giralda Avenue and Ponce de Leon Boulevard was reclaimed for the day and turned into a beautiful tropical oasis.
Since 2007, Coral Gables has partnered with the Trust for Public Land on a special event that takes place simultaneously in several cities throughout the country. As part of the program, the city transforms a metered parking space into a park for the day. The transformation usually takes just a few hours of work by employees of the City’s Public Service Department. The event helps to explain to the community the City’s commitment to conserving land for public projects such as parks, gardens and natural areas. The parking space is selected from an area of the City, usually in its downtown, that experiences high pedestrian traffic. People are delighted by the fresh new scenery and the mini-park they get to enjoy for a day. Many of the City’s parks, entrances and landscapes are planted with drought resistant shrubs, trees and flowers, cutting down on water consumption and in turn promoting Florida’s native vegetation.
The use of drought tolerant plants promotes water conservation.
Coral Gables is a testing site for solar powered crosswalks. Miami-Dade County has installed one such crosswalk at Ponce de Leon Boulevard and Suarez Avenue. The pedestrian crosswalk is equipped with solar panels which power the crossing. A battery backup has the capability of operating for up to five days without charging.
The City’s proactive measures in promoting an environmentally sustainable future for the next generation have generated a lot of attention. For its continuing green efforts, the Broward Audubon Society presented Coral Gables the 2007 Protector of the Climate Award.
For details about all the rules on the water restrictions, use the following URL to access the Miami Web site: www.miami.about.com/od/natureenvironment/a/wateringrules.htm
Climate Change - What You Can Do:http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/home.html
On the Road:http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/road.html
At the Office:http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/office.html
Serve to Preserve: http://www.myfloridaclimate.com/env/home/
Managing Pollution: http://www.miamidade.gov/derm/pollution_air.asp