Thursday, January 03, 2008

Mayor highlights the City of Duluth’s Office of Sustainability

Members of Sustainable Duluth and Mayor Herb Bergson spoke to the media. Left to right: Bergson, Bill Mittlefelt, Cliff Tanner, Jan Karon, Warren Howe and Julie McDonnell.

Mayor Herb Bergson hailed the environmental accomplishments made by the City of Duluth during his tenure in office and urged that the City’s new Office of Sustainability be allowed to continue its work in the future.

“We’ve made great strides,” the mayor said at Dec. 29 news conference. “Obviously, the work isn’t done but we have laid the groundwork for real environmental protection and progress according to the principles of sustainability.”

The Duluth City Council passed a resolution declaring Duluth a “sustainable city” eighteen months ago in accordance with the “Natural Step” process, which includes:
Reducing wasteful dependence upon fossil fuels, scarce metals, and minerals; Reducing wasteful dependence on chemicals and synthetic substances that can accumulate in nature; Reduce dependence on activities that harm life-sustaining ecosystems; Meet present and future human needs fairly and efficiently.

Since that time, the City has taken an active role in environmental protection including the refitting of the Duluth Steam Plant to reduce harmful emissions; the purchase of high-mileage scooters for city travel; and the transition to green cleaning products throughout the city. In addition, all new carpeting purchased by the City will be from recycled content, and old carpeting will now be recycled. This is especially important in the Library’s replacement of 7,500 square feet of carpeting in its Main Branch. The City has also taken the following additional measures:

In the recent Auditor’s Office Renovation, all replacement lighting was either electronic ballast fluorescent or low voltage lighting, saving approximately 75 percent of the original energy consumed from the existing lighting layout.

The new West Duluth Police Department’s lighting was handled in a similar manager, with up to sixty percent recycled content in its furnishings.

The Fire Station #5 remodeling on Park Point will include geo-thermal space heating, passive and active solar power for domestic hot water and emergency communication electrical needs and the buildings mass will support energy reductions that meet or exceed the State of Minnesota’s B3 design standards for energy consumption.

“It’s all about taking action,” Mayor Bergson said. “The social justice component of sustainability is very important. We are all stakeholders in creating a better community and as we move forward, my hope is that we won’t lose sight of the need for all stakeholders both to have an equal voice and to use that voice for relevant action.”