County presents plan to reduce greenhouse emissions

Osceola County is aiming to go even greener.  

Osceola County Director of Strategic Initiatives Jeff Jones earlier this month presented the board with a long-term plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Here’s a rundown of the five-part plan.

1. Sustainable land and use patterns.

Goal: Create mixed-used developments that will make it possible for residents to meet daily needs with fewer and shorter trips by car, reducing traffic emissions in Osceola County by 75 percent.

Policy/actions: Advocate for mixed-use developments in conjunction with economic development and electric vehicles.

2. Energy efficiency

Goal: New buildings will produce enough renewable energy to meet their annual consumption requirements.

Policy/actions: Decrease the use of electricity and promote energy conservation through energy efficient buildings and facilities, both public and private.

Obtain green building certifications; retrofit county buildings; promote rainwater harvesting; invest in solar power and “green roofs”; support federal Property Assessed Clean Energy Programs.

3. Water conservation

Goal: Reduce per-capita potable water consumption by 30 percent.

Policy/actions: Promote public and private programs that encourage water conversation, including the use of Florida-friendly landscaping and best-practice fertilizer ordinances as well as the continued acquisition of sensitive lands and coordination with state water management districts.

4. Waste reduction

Goal: County eliminates sending solid waste to the landfill.

Policy/actions: Promote a strategy of “reduce, reuse, and recycle.”

Promote construction and demolition recycling; encourage reusable bags; reduce landscape waste; donate excess produce; expand recycling to apartment and condo complexes; support composting/recycling programs at public events.

5. Adapt to environmental change

Goal: Minimize vulnerability to the consequences of changes to the natural environment by increasing the county’s ability to deal with the impacts of environmental change.

Policy/actions: Engage the public through education and advocacy; increase urban tree cover; implement an urban forest management plan; build strong partnerships with best-practice organizations; manage fire hazard areas.

The county’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions builds upon other sustainability and green initiatives in recent years, including the county’s Florida Green Government Certification in 2018 and its “Strategies for a Future” report, released in 2017.