WASHINGTON, D.C. - Driven by finding ways to reduce the cost of running local government, the nation's counties are implementing innovative green government strategies and say they have seen cost‐savings as a result, according to a new survey from the National Association of Counties (NACo).
Wind turbine erected at Frey Farm Landfill, Conestoga, PA for Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority by PPL Renewable Energy, September 2010.
The NACo Green Government Initiative surveyed all of America's 3,068 counties on their current and future sustainability strategies, priorities, and the challenges, with 18 percent of counties responding to the survey. The survey analyzed the responding counties' demographic and geographic characteristics, including a population analysis and regional and climate assessment. Among the key findings:
- Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Generation along with Waste Management are the most common sustainability efforts counties are pursuing.
- 68 percent affirmed that their county has sustainability strategies underway.
- 45 percent said the most important benefit counties are realizing from sustainability efforts is cost savings.
- Overwhelmingly, funding is the most significant challenge inhibiting counties from accomplishing all sustainability strategies.
- The majority of respondents would like to further invest in:
- Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Generation
- Waste Management
- Green Building Construction/Renovation, and Water Conservation/Reuse
- Green Purchasing, Local Food Systems, and Green Economic Development
“Counties are clearly national leaders in pursuing green government efforts to help protect the environment and save taxpayers' money,” said Green Government Initiative Chair Shannon Staub, Commissioner, Sarasota County, Fla. “This survey is just one more example of the work NACo's Green Government Initiative is doing to help us all better understand county sustainability strategies, what efforts are working, and where do we go from here.”
The survey's findings are available in the NACo publication 2010 County Sustainability Strategies.