Long before sustainability became a buzzword, Worthington City Council was making strides toward environmental consciousness as one of central Ohio's first communities to offer curbside recycling and yard-waste collection.
Over the years, City Council has been forward-thinking and actively building upon environmentally sound practices to make sustainability a hallmark of living in Worthington and a priority in how our municipal government operates.
Earlier this year, staff members from our service and engineering department partnered with the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission to take inventory of current sustainability efforts and look toward our future as a greener community. That assessment, named Insight 2050, earned the city of Worthington Platinum Tier Status, the highest awarded by MORPC.
So what have we been working on to get there and how will we continue?
* Through voter-approved electric aggregation, nearly every home in Worthington has the ability to offset their carbon footprint by investing in green energy generated by wind and solar for their electric supply, instead of purchasing power from coal-fired plants.
* Through a grant from the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio we've piloted a food scraps-composting program. Plans to expand that program will be announced in early 2020.
* Our economic-development manager is working alongside service and engineering staff members and local businesses to make electric vehicle-charging stations available in the central business district and at the Worthington Community Center.
Grants and tax incentives also are available to businesses in Worthington willing to install sustainability features in their buildings.
* Beginning later this month, Evolved Lighting Solutions will work to retrofit all of Worthington's historic street lights to efficient and cool-burning LED bulbs.
* In one of our more ambitious projects to date, the city partnered with ABM to conduct energy audits at all city-owned buildings and retrofit HVAC and lighting to high-efficiency systems using much less energy to heat and cool our public facilities. The first building to receive completed retrofits is the Community Center. In the coming months, a large LED screen will be installed at the Community Center showing the energy usage and effective savings.
These programs, projects and activities barely scratch the surface of the many ways the city works to protect our environmental resources and our planet.
Worthington City Council and city staff members have made sustainability a priority and are working hard to bring new ideas and green initiatives to the forefront to help reduce Worthington's carbon footprint and protect our environment for future generations.
Dan Whited is Worthington's city engineer and director of service and engineering.