Sustainable City Operations
The City of Eugene is committed to operating sustainably across all city functions and is continually seeking ways to improve performance. As a large employer in the City with an operating budget of approximately $370 million, we play an important role in contributing to the local economy, enabling a healthy and active work force, and ensuring we are maintaining or improving the environmental well being of the Eugene area.
Implementation of many innovative ideas from staff and management throughout the City have enabled us to operate more sustainably. The City has also contracted consultants to document and analyze City operations to help us identify where to focus more attention. Below is a sample of initiatives that have been undertaken throughout the City to address the triple bottom line – people, planet and prosperity.
Individual city staff are also actively involved in helping to address social equity in Eugene. City employees rank among the highest per capita giving by organizations in annual charitable campaigns. Employees increased participation and pledges to United Way by 5 percent each year for the past three years.
- Energy Management
- Environmental Review
- Green Buildings
- Green Power
- Human Resources and Diversity
- Information Services
- No Idle, No Top Off
- Sustainable Purchasing
The City has an active Energy Management program that has saved over $1.7 million in energy costs in city facilities through tracking, staff training and efficiency upgrades since 1994. In addition, the City purchases green wind power electricity for 25 percent of its needs at major city buildings. The City is currently updating a green house gas inventory of all city operations before setting reduction targets and developing an action plan to help the city achieve the targets.
As part of facilities management of city operations, recycling systems have been installed in all city buildings but we feel there is more we could do to minimize the waste produced. In order to identify the volume and composition of waste produced by the City, waste audits are being undertaken throughout city buildings so we have a clearer picture of what we still throw away. After the audits are completed, we will set reduction targets and develop a waste minimization action plan to help us get there.
In addition to using biodiesel in its larger vehicles, the City has invested in a large and continually growing fleet of efficient and low-emission hybrid vehicles. 53 percent of the city fleet (excluding Police vehicles) are now hybrids and this percentage is increasing as vehicles are replaced.
In 2001 the City commissioned CH2M Hill to undertake a review of all City practices and activities, and their associated potential to affect the environment. The City then prioritized the issues identified and developed strategies to reduce the environmental impact of city practices. This included developing the City’s 2003 Environmental Policy, which says that decision making will be guided by the goals of increasing environmental benefits and reducing or eliminating negative environmental impacts of all aspects of the City's activities, while maintaining the City's fiscal integrity and the community's economic vitality.
In 2006 a review was undertaken to assess the progress that had been made towards implementing the changes identified in the CH2M Hill report.
The report outlined some of the major accomplishments that resulted including:
- Increased awareness of staff about the materials and supplies used
- Energy conservation efforts in electricity, heat, water and fuel consumption
- Conversion of fleet to biodiesel and hybrid vehicles
- Improved planning and building design standards when new buildings are constructed
- Improved maintenance procedures related to the care and maintenance of natural areas
- Enhanced practices in the capture of waste water including vehicle washing
In 2006, Council adopted the Sustainable Building Policy for the siting, design, hiring of contractors, operation and maintenance of City buildings. This included requirements that any city-owned and -operated buildings, 10,000 square feet in size and larger, achieve a "Silver" LEED certification.
Prior to this resolution, the City had already undertaken design and construction of the Eugene Public Library and two fire stations, incorporating energy efficient features and many other sustainable design features.
The City of Eugene is committed to reducing our carbon footprint. In line with that goal, we recently signed the EPA’s Green Power Partnership Agreement. The Green Power Partnership Agreement encourages the voluntary use of green power to reduce the risk of climate change. Partners benefit from the use of green power, while supporting the development of new, renewable energy in the U.S.
Green power is electricity produced from a subset of renewable resources, such as solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and low-impact hydro. The City of Eugene first began buying windpower from Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) in July 2006. Since then EWEB put together a new Green Power program that meets all the EPA requirements and the City has been purchasing green power since March 2008.
Human Resources and Diversity
The City's Human Resources division is committed to enabling diverse and able employee recruitment and ensuring the health and safety of all city employees. Human Resources staff works to enhance the organizational values of customer service, equitable treatment, appreciation of diversity, collaborative teamwork, employee and organizational creativity and productivity, and effective communication. The City has a diversity manager to help recruit and retain employees from diverse backgrounds and to promote workplace equity.
The Information Services Division pursues best practices in acquiring, maintaining, reusing and recycling all hardware and software used by the City. Learn more about the City's sustainable technology.
No Idle, No Top Off
Why You Should Care
- Gasoline refueling is a large source of the benzene in Oregon’s air. Gasoline in the Northwest region has double the benzene content of gasoline sold in other parts of the country, and three times the amount allowed in California.
- The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies benzene as a Class A carcinogen and has concluded that Oregon’s cancer risk "is dominated by the emissions of benzene."
- Studies show that breathing air contaminated with benzene inflicts genetic damage linked to childhood leukemia.
- Air monitoring equipment in Eugene shows that average ambient benzene levels are 10 times the benchmark level believed to spur cancer in humans over a lifetime of exposure as established by National Air Toxics Assessment.
- It’s estimated that not idling city vehicles would save 20,000 gallons of fuel a year – that’s $40,000 at $2 per gallon.
- Changing our behaviors to not top off and not idle vehicles will create sustainable benefits for our organization and our community.
What You Can Do
Don't Top Off
Don't top off a city vehicle or equipment past the point that the fuel nozzle overflow safety system shuts down the fueling process. Each time a vehicle is topped off, the space at the top of the tank that contains harmful fumes is filled with fuel, and the fumes are pushed into the air. Those fumes contain benzene which has been linked to cancer and more specifically leukemia.
Turn off your motor if you are waiting in a parking lot, driveway, talking with a coworker, etc., more than 20 seconds, provided manufacturers recommended shutdown idling periods are met such as in the case of diesel vehicles fitted with turbo chargers. Do not leave vehicle idling while unattended (unless operationally required to safely perform a job function). Do not exceed a period of more than one minute of engine warm-up (provided required airbrake pressure and other critical settings have been reached).
- Public Safety vehicles while on an emergency scene as required to respond to the emergency or when required for training operations.
- During freezing weather conditions or any other time when the health and safety of employees or others may be jeopardized (for example, when the driver’s visibility is impaired and no other method to eliminate the impairment is available.
- Idling while stopped for an official traffic control device or for traffic conditions over which the driver has no control.
- If the vehicle / equipment is not expected to restart due to a mechanical problem (Fleet Services must be notified as soon as possible).
- For vehicle maintenance and diagnostic purposes (to be kept to an absolute required minimum).
- If the engine is required to power auxiliary equipment (for example, hoists, lift platforms, hydraulic tools, inverters compactors medical equipment, specialized public safety radio communication and computer systems, etc.).
- When the vehicle / equipment manufacturer requires additional idle time for warm up or cool down for proper mechanical or functional operation of the unit.
- Additional requests for exceptions can be made the Fleet Board for consideration and recommendation to the Public Works Director.
It's Our Policy
The No Idling and No Top-off Policy is an official City of Eugene policy. Supervisors will ensure all employees adhere to this policy and shall address all non-compliance issues. View our official policy document.
City Council Resolution
The City of Eugene is committed to promoting a sustainable future that meets today’s needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
As good stewards of resources, it is important to consider the environmental and health effects of products, from raw material extraction all the way through the end of the product life. When negotiating services, we need to be conscious of the methods of performance and the impacts they might have on our community and ecosystem. The City seeks products and services that have a reduced impact on human health and the environment and that more fully support communities and economies.
The City actively encourages bicycling, walking and use of alternative modes of transport for staff commutes. The City provides bus passes for all employees and educates staff about alternative modes of transport in new staff orientation training.
Plans, Policies and Resources
Climate and Energy Action Plan Publications
- Eugene Community Climate and Energy Action Plan (CEAP)
- CEAP Final with Appendices
- Health Impact Assessment
Food Security Publications
- Food Security Memo to Council April 12, 2010
- Lane County Local Food Market Analysis
- A Comprehensive Analysis of Food Security Assessments of Lane County
- Sustainability Commission: Food Security Update/Report, Mar 2012
- Definition of Sustainability - Resolution 4618
- City of Eugene Environmental Policy
- Sustainable Buildings Resolution No. 4884
- Ordinance 20379 - Creating Sustainability Commission
- Sustainable Practices Resolution 4893
- City Sustainable Procurement Policy - Administrative Order N. 44-08-06-F
- City of Eugene No Idling Policy