Mike Williams, Published September 14 2013
Letter: For Fargo, conservation saves, paysFargo has received several top rankings as a happy and healthy city. To continue to improve, it will take continued efforts and community engagement as we work to implement the Fargo GO 2030 key initiatives determined from participation of more than 8,000 people.
In our efforts to protect our environment and make better use of resources, Fargo is proving that conservation saves and pays.
As cities across the country have become more aware of the benefits of conservation and the effects of changing climate, it’s important for cities to share successes and ongoing search for solutions to common challenges. While there is much room for improvement in Fargo, the city and residents are working together to improve energy efficiency while reducing emissions.
As our transportation options grow and become cleaner and more efficient, we have focused on improving land use and making better use of infrastructure.
A few examples:
- In 2002, the property value of downtown was about $190 million. In 2013, due to smart private and public investments and targeted Renaissance incentives for our core and focus on revitalization, the downtown property value is almost $600 million and growing.
- Transit ridership has almost tripled from 800,000 riders in 2004 to more than 2.1 million annual riders today and growing.
- The landfill transfer station uses electricity produced from solar and wind energy.
- We collect landfill methane that used to be wasted into the atmosphere, clarify it and produce enough electricity to power 700 homes. Total annual sales of this resource are more than $400,000.
- LED streetlights, LED stoplights and energy-efficient equipment, in concert with the EnergyStar program, are being used all over the city.
- Six hybrid-electric buses are responsible for better fuel efficiency with 50 percent less pollution than diesel buses.
- Water conservation of better than 1 million gallons a day with an innovative re-use of effluent delivered to a high-volume industrial plant generates more than $600,000 a year in new revenue, enabling a $3-a-month reduction for residential waste water utility bills next year.
The common denominator is conservation that saves the city and residents money, while protecting environment and health.
Fargo is recognized as a national economic, academic and environmental leader. To continue to improve, we need to develop more sustainable methods to grow well without negatively affecting land, water and air – the things we need to live.
Williams is a Fargo city commissioner.