In my initial post, I said that Round Rock first needs to conduct a greenhouse gas inventory to determine what our carbon footprint is. Then we need to establish goals and timelines to reduce this footprint. We need to do both of these things on two tracks: city operations and the wider community. In this post I want to focus on the first track, city operations. These are things that the city has complete control over, such as the city owned fleet and facilities, and how those are powered.
80% of the carbon footprint of a typical city is in transit and buildings.
The City of Round Rock owns over 1,500 vehicles, which burn over 416,000 gallons of fuel per year. We should determine where and when we can begin to upgrade our fleet to electric vehicles. Propane may be a viable option for some applications, but the future is electric. Even where performance, range, and reliability are paramount considerations, electric vehicles are finally up to the task. Electric police patrol cars and motorcycles are beginning to be deployed across the country. There’s even an electric fire engine being developed.
This conversion of Round Rock’s fleet will not happen overnight, but the important thing is to begin.
The City of Round Rock owns 54 buildings. Unlike our neighbors Austin and Georgetown, Round Rock does not own its own electric utility. The city has a choice, just like all of us, which electricity provider and plan we want to use. Round Rock spends approximately $5 million on electricity every year. We should work with our provider–and shop around–to secure the best contract on energy that comes from renewable sources. In addition, we should evaluate which buildings have the location and structure to support a solar array. Producing energy at the same place it is used is the best!
The goal of carbon neutrality is an ambitious one for any business or governmental entity. This will be a long term effort. But the steps to get there can be identified and achieved. The important thing is to begin.
In my next post, I will discuss the second track: Things our city can do to help engage the wider community of Round Rock to join this critical effort.