About

About Leon County’s Office of Sustainability

 

The Leon County Office of Sustainability, established in 2009, leads and coordinates the County’s sustainability efforts by finding strategies to drive energy and water conservation, waste reduction, and responsible stewardship of our community’s resources. Since its inception, the Office of Sustainability has grown from one single full-time Sustainability Coordinator to a team of passionate employees driven to enhance Leon County’s pursuit toward a more sustainable future. Leon County believes in the creation of cooperative partnerships, both within the organization and the community at-large, in order to foster a supportive network for sustainability efforts – one in which every citizen can feel involved and inspired.

Energy Employee Waste Transport Litter Community

Waste Reduction

  • The Hazardous Waste and Electronic Collection Events launched in 2012 as a way to offer a more convenient hazardous waste collection location on the first Saturday of the month between September and May.
  • Leon County began installing water bottle filling stations in various County buildings in 2015, which have filled over 150,000 reusable bottles, thus reducing the use of plastic water bottles.
  • Staff created a Leon County Recycling video in 2016 to help citizens and students understand how recycling works locally, and why it is important to recycle.
  • Leon County reached a 66% recycling rate in 2017.
  • During the September 2017 to May 2018 Hazardous Waste Collection Event season, a record 3,871 citizens helped divert 56 tons of hazardous waste and 55.4 tons of electronic scrap from the landfill.
  • Leon County continues to partner with schools to further integrate waste reduction through the donation of recycling bins and the creation of the Growing Green Recycling Lesson Plans for Grades 3-5.

 

 

Energy Conservation & Efficiency

  • Leon County developed its first Climate Action Plan in 2008, and committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions relating to County operations by 20% by 2017.
  • Since 2008, Leon County has realized more than $8 million in utility costs through efficiency renovations on County buildings.
  • Since 2012, the Cooperative Extension Building has continued to operate as a Net-Zero Energy building complete with solar arrays, a geothermal system, and rain collection cistern.
  • Staff launched the residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program in 2017, which allows for property accessed financing on energy improvements and weatherization upgrades for residential properties in Leon County.
  • In 2017, Leon County exceeded the goal of a 20% reduction target by reducing 5,362 tons of eCO2 in County operations from the baseline year of 2006/2007 as detailed below:
  • Buildings (energy use): According to an independent energy consultant, Leon County has saved on average 4,400 tons of eCO2 annually through energy upgrades since the baseline year’s figure of 17,205 tons of eCO2 or a 26% reduction.
  • Fleet: According to County fuel reports, Fleet has realized an average annual savings of 962 tons of eCO2 from the baseline figure of 4,114 tons of eCO2 or a 24% reduction.
  • Total: 5,362 tons eCO2 current reduction compared to original target of 4,510 tons eCO2.
  • Leon County continues to the expand its solar PV arrays on County facilities with four new arrays installed in 2019, adding to the three arrays on existing County facilities. This will bring the combined solar energy production on County buildings to 148 kW.
  • Leon County has achieved LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification for three County buildings: the Eastside Branch Library, Public Safety Complex, and the EMS Logistics Building. LEED certification is one of the most popular and widely used green building rating system in the world.
  • Leon County continues to expand the scope of utility management through a new tracking and monitoring tool in order to better track energy efficiency upgrades and conservation efforts within internal operations.
  • Sustainability staff continues to track all work travel by Office of Resource Stewardship employees and calculates the carbon impact. Using the Sustainable Travel International’s Carbon Calculator, staff converts the carbon impact into a dollar amount that is donated to Sustainable Tallahassee’s Community Carbon Fund, which invests in carbon reduction projects in Leon County. In FY18, the Office of Resource Stewardship donated $436 to the Community Carbon Fund to offset its travel carbon footprint.

 

Transportation

  • Leon County adopted a Green Fleet Policy in 2012 in order to maintain a fleet that is as fuel-efficient, cost efficient, and environmentally friendly as possible.
  • In 2018, three free-to-use electric vehicle charging stations were installed to encourage Leon County citizens and employees to transition to electric vehicles. These stations are located at the County Courthouse, Eastside Branch Library, and the Leroy Collins Leon County Main Library.
  • Leon County continues to expand alternative fuel vehicles, which currently includes 53 vehicles: 6 propane, 7 electric, 16 CNG (compressed natural gas), and 24 hybrids. Procuring these vehicles helps Leon County reduce our carbon footprint and keep the air in our community cleaner. Fleet is currently in the process of upgrading the department’s fueling software with the goal of getting more accurate fuel consumption and efficiency data.

 

Internal Employee Education

  • In 2010, Leon County implemented green cleaning contracts with all custodial service companies.
  • Since 2014, sustainability staff continues to give presentations centered on recycling and sustainability at New Employee Orientation. This engagement ensures that all new County employees know the importance of sustainability and recognizes sustainable practices that can be practiced at work.
  • Sustainability staff continues to host Workplace Sustainability Workshops for all Leon County departments. The objective of these workshops is to increase sustainability education, conserve more resources, recycle better, and further integrate sustainability into standard practice within Leon County departments and operations. In 2017, this initiative was awarded a National Achievement Award by the National Association of Counties, which shows Leon County’s leadership in sustainability across the country.
  • In 2017, the Sustainability Office implemented the Green Team, an interdepartmental sustainability task force comprised of representatives from each Leon County work area. The team meets every other month to discuss various topics and additional ways Leon County can be an even more sustainable organization.
  • An online reservation system was created for County departments to rent reusable dishware and utensils for County events in 2018.
  • Sustainable purchasing guidelines for County internal meetings and events were developed in 2018 to reduce the use of single-use disposable items.

 

 

Litter & Illegal Dumping Abatement / Beautification Initiatives

  • In 2010, pet waste bag dispensers were installed in all Leon County parks. Pet waste contributes to nutrient pollution of Leon County’s local waterways.
  • Sustainability staff continues to work with the Urban Forester and Public Works staff to amplify the County’s Adopt-A-Tree program with providing citizens with more varieties of trees not only to give them more options, but also to help citizens pick the right tree for their yard, which helps ensure the longevity of the tree.
  • Sustainability staff continues to host a variety of events that supports the County’s efforts for litter reduction and beautification initiatives:
    • Buy-One-Get-One Free Deal at Native Nurseries – In order to encourage planting native land, Leon County partnered with Native Nurseries in 2017 and 2018 to sponsor a BOGO deal on all native plants. This event promots native plants and supports economic development for multiple businesses, including Native Nurseries and its local growers.
    • Lake Jackson On-The-Water Clean Up – In 2017 and 2018, Leon County partnered with Tall Timbers, Florida Kayak School, Friends of Lake Jackson, the DEP Office of Greenways and Trails, Sustainable Tallahassee, the FWC Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network, Leon County 4-H, and Harry Smith Outdoors to host a clean up of Lake Jackson. Over 500 pounds of trash were pulled out of the lake both years. Participants learned about the importance of Lake Jackson’s ecosystem and how to prevent litter from entering local waterways.
    • Cigarette Butt Disposal Containers – Leon County partnered with DEP Lake Jackson Aquatic Life Preserve to install a cigarette butt disposal container at Sunset Landing in an effort to reduce litter.

 

Community Partnerships/Public Outreach

  • Since becoming a co-founder of the Sharing Tree in 2010, Leon County remains involved in the growth of the Sharing Tree. In 2017, the organization diverted over 100,000 pounds of materials from the landfill and resold them to the community.
  • The Community Garden Grant Program was established in 2010 which has since awarded over 38 grants to support schools, faith-based groups, and other important community organizations.
  • In 2012, Leon County partnered with Sustainable Tallahassee to support the Community Carbon Fund (CCF). Contributions to the CCF are used for energy-saving retrofits to the facilities of local non-profit organizations that serve low-income, disadvantaged, or disenfranchised populations. 
  • In an effort to make a broader and lasting impact on sustainability education, the Office of Sustainability worked with Leon County Schools to develop Growing Green Education, recycling and sustainability lesson plans for Leon County teachers in K-5 classrooms. 
  • Since its launch in 2015, all seven Leon County Library locations participate in the Seed Library Program, which gives citizens access to a variety of seeds that grow well in our climate. 
  • Leon County created an interactive Green Map in 2015. Sustainability staff continues to expand the Green Map, which includes community gardens, farmers’ markets, regional farms, public recycling bins, and local bike routes.
  • Since 2008, Leon County continues to host Sustainable Community Summits every other year: Climate Action (2008), Sustainable Communities (2010 & 2012), Sustainable Food (2015), Sustainable Hospitality Industry (2017), and Sustainable Outdoor Recreation (2017).

 

Privacy StatementCopyright 2019 by Leon County Board of County Commissioners