The Coastal Star

Boca Raton: Sustainability manager hopes to cut use of fuel, electricity, water

By Mary Hladky

Boca Raton now has a sustainability action plan, the first major city effort to begin protecting residents from the effects of global warming and sea level rise.

“This will be a road map for the Office of Sustainability going forward, the direction we want to go in and some actions it will take to get there,” Sustainability Manager Lindsey Nieratka said in unveiling the plan at a July 22 city workshop.

The document is preliminary and is intended to be updated as Nieratka gets additional data.

The city is conducting a greenhouse gas emissions inventory to learn who or what is emitting them and to develop strategies to reduce them. It wants to reduce emissions by 15 percent by 2025.

It also is conducting a climate change vulnerability assessment that will be used to reduce the impact of greater tidal flooding, higher storm surge, heavier rainfall and increased heat.

The action plan focuses on seven main areas: resource use, waste, the natural environment, the built environment, transportation, climate resiliency and local government.

Goals include reducing the use of electricity by the city and its residents by 10 percent and reducing water consumption by 5 percent by 2025.

The city wants to reduce solid waste by 20 percent and increase recycling by 10 percent, along with reducing plastic pollution.

It also aims at increasing Boca Raton’s tree canopy by 35 percent and to have all new city buildings built to green standards.

The transportation goals include reducing city fleet fuel usage by 20 percent and commuting by single-occupant vehicles by the same amount.

Another aim is to increase the city’s investment in sustainability and to train city staff on the subject.

The city intends to ramp up its efforts even further after it meets its initial goals.

Many more goals and targets are outlined in the plan, which is available on the city’s website, www.myboca.us

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