Green Fire Stations: Saving Energy and Money
The new stations integrate solar panels, recycled materials, drought tolerant plants, dual pane windows, an electric car charging station, tankless water heaters, and energy-efficient lighting. They will use less energy and water, helping to reduce the County's carbon footprint. In addition, the Department is retrofitting some of its older fire stations with solar panels, tankless water heaters, and other energy-saving measures.
Our Largest Solar Project Yet: Moorpark Water Reclamation Facility
We've installed our largest solar project yet at the Moorpark Water Reclamation Facility (located at 9550 Los Angeles Avenue, just west of Moorpark City limits along State Highway 118.) The one Megawatt (MW) system, funded in part by a Southern California Edison (SCE) grant, covers 80 percent of the facility's energy needs. This reduces our energy bill by the amount of energy needed to power 500 average homes for a year. And it reduces greenhouse gas emissions on par with planting 175 trees.
Greening the Sheriff's Office
From recycling to solar arrays to composting to flex-fuel vehicles, the Sheriff's Office is embracing sustainability. Sheriff Dean stressed, “I think we need to do everything we can to protect our planet and protect our resources for our children. And there needs to be something left for our children and our children's children.” A new solar array with 4,260 solar cells will provide more than 40 percent of the energy needs at the Todd Road Jail, reducing the jail's annual electricity bill. The Todd Road Jail also composts its food waste.
Managing Pests: Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
At the Government Center, we are stewards for over 1,900 trees, ensuring their growth and protecting them from pests. In implementing our Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Plan, we've adopted an environmentally sensitive approach, avoiding the application of pesticides and poisons whenever possible. To reduce the amount of health and environmental risks, we've turned to mechanical, biological, and green chemical treatment methods to manage pests, and have decreased the amount of harmful substances introduced to the system.
Our Greener Fleet
Leaner and greener - that's our mission for efficient, fiscally responsible, and eco-friendly transportation policies and practices. From lowering fuel usage in our fleets to providing preferred parking for carpools, the County is doing its part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We have decreased vehicle emissions by 5 percent since 2008 by adding eco-friendly vehicles, such as hybrids, alternative technology vehicles, and partial zero emission vehicles (PZEV) to our fleet. As of December 2012, GSA's fleet has 156 hybrid vehicles and 119 PZEV. Aside from emitting fewer greenhouse gases and particulate matter, we are saving County funds by consuming less fuel. Since 2002, we have saved over $250,000 in fuel costs and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 950 tons (equivalent to taking 173 cars off the road).
Spotlight on VCMC: Composting Food Waste
By composting patient and cafeteria food waste, the Ventura County Medical Center (VCMC) is keeping waste from our landfill and saving money. The staff has been trained to sort the waste, recycle all plastic, bottles and cans, and compost food waste when preparing food and when clearing waste off patients' trays. Composting has been a big success, saving $200 per month (by eliminating the need for one waste bin at the hospital) and diverting over 10 tons of food waste from the landfill to date. Food waste is now sent to a nearby compost facility, where it is transformed into fertilizer for local farmers. VCMC buys food from local farmers when possible. What was once trash in a landfill now nourishes our local produce.
Four-Legged Weed Abatement
Have you seen our goats? At the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, the Fire Department uses a unique approach for weed abatement. Forgoing the use of toxic chemicals, a herd of more than 400 goats is used to help manage the vegetation. The goats happily chomp down on the vegetation, eliminating weeds and reducing wildfire danger in an environmentally friendly way. The site is set back from sensitive riparian habitat, making it ideal for this approach.
County of Ventura Achieves Climate Registered Status
The County of Ventura achieved Climate Registered™ status by successfully measuring our carbon footprint according to The Climate Registry’s program, then having it third party verified and publicly reporting the data on The Registry’s website.
Measuring our carbon footprint with The Registry allows The County to prepare for future regulation, identify inefficiencies and potential for cost savings, and provide real and meaningful data about our environmental performance. It is the first step towards reducing our energy usage, costs and carbon emissions.
For more information, visit www.theclimateregistry.org.