Osceola’s Green Initiative moves forward

  • Osceola County Commission
    Osceola County Commission

Submitted by Osceola County

Osceola’s Green Initiative is on its way to Tallahassee where the newest element of the comprehensive plan will undergo interagency reviewed after it was approved by the County Commission on Monday.

 Embracing sustainability – from economic to environmental initiatives – led to the action that includes thinking and acting differently in planning for the county’s future. About a year in the making, the effort incorporates several initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and their harmful effects by 2060. 

For Florida’s inland areas – including Osceola County – the impacts are potentially disruptive and threatening to the county’s economy, health, and natural resources. The proposal introduces a new element into the Osceola County 2040 Comprehensive Plan.

“Most climate change scenarios lead to major changes based on the increase in greenhouse gases,” said Osceola Commission Chairwoman Viviana Janer. “We are already witnessing an increase in extreme weather events, so it is my hope that these policies will lead us to a more sustainable community that protects our resources for generations to come.”

 Plan highlights:

·Establishment of a county workgroup to manage implementation of policies.

·By 2060, 100 percent of all new buildings approved by the county will use renewable clean energy and be resource efficient.

·Actively promote energy-efficient land use patterns that reduce fossil-fuel use and vehicle miles traveled (VMT).

·The county shall work toward capturing 80 percent of its 2020-60 population growth within the Mixed Use Districts (MXD) and Centers shown on the county’s adopted Future Land Use Map.

·Preparation of alternate development scenarios illustrating how the design of a MXD is capable of lowering a development’s VMT.

·Achieve greenhouse gas emissions reductions through eliminating waste at its source and maximizing recycling and composting in homes, businesses and institutions.

·Launch a collaborative process for increasing the county’s preparedness for impacts from changes to the natural environment.

The county’s shift to renewable energy sources can be achieved most effectively through a consistent, thorough approach that replaces the county’s reliance on fossil fuels. With this purpose in mind, the county will amend its Land Development Code to require all new buildings and buildings undergoing major alterations or renovations – residential and non-residential – to meet a certain percentage of their annual electrical needs from one or more renewable energy sources. This percentage will, by design, increase over time as the county strives to meet its 2060 goal of 100 percent renewables.

The county, in collaboration with energy service providers and community stakeholders, will develop a phasing strategy establishing the percentage of a building’s energy needs that are to be met by renewables. The phasing strategy will cover a 40-year period. A technology-neutral approach shall be used to include all sources of zero-carbon electricity (solar, wind, hydro, or any other proven source of zero-carbon electricity), as well as green building technologies that are capable of increasing a building’s efficiency.