Seven years ago, on September 21, 2010, the Gulfport City Council passed Resolution 2010-60, establishing policies for a "Green Gulfport" initiative. The Resolution specifically called for the items listed below. I am recommending we study each item from the Resolution and see how far we have come with implementation.
Explore methods to reduce Gulfport's carbon footprint.
Install LEED certified roof systems.
Only EER (energy efficient ratio) rated air conditioning units; seek Duke Energy rebates.
Adopting "Florida Green Building Coalition" standards for all existing and proposed building constructions.
Energy conservation measures to be developed for all City facilities.
Not entering into office space leases if the space does not meet Energy Star building standards.
Gulfport to adopt the U.S. Green Building's "LEED-NC Standards" for all new City buildings.
Only use hotels or conference facilities that have "DEP Green Lodging" certification.
Maintenance records for city vehicles must show reduced fuel consumption; new vehicles must possess greatest fuel efficiency.
Use of ethanol, biodiesel fuels and renewal energy sources in city vehicles, if locally available.
Converting lighting (incandescent, fluorescent) in City facilities to energy efficient systems. Convert streets lighting to more efficient systems. Convert street signal lights to LED lights.
Gulfport to appoint one individual responsible for coordinating the implementation of Green Gulfport initiative and policies.
The City webpage to contain a summary of Gulfport environmental initiatives and education, information on recycling and water conservation, our habitat environment, and much more.
The link below will take you to Resolution 2010-60 (please go to pages 57 to 60 for copy of the Resolution).
Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) & Gulfport
The FGBC is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit that provides "a statewide green building program that defines, promotes, and encourages sustainable efforts with environmental and economic benefits." They have a "Green Local Government Standard" specifically designed to award certifications to qualifying "Green Cities" and "Green Counties." To see a current list of FGBC-certified green local government projects, you can click on the link in No. 1 below and search their database. Currently in Pinellas County, the City of Tarpon Springs (Silver), the City of Dunedin (Platinum), the City of Oldsmar (Silver) and Pinellas County (Gold) are listed with certification awards. These four are among the other 29 certified local governments statewide.
In Gulfport's Resolution 2010-16, you see the reference to the city adopting FGBC criteria and seeking certification. After seven years since Gulfport Resolution 2010-60, we need to conduct a comprehensive assessment to determine how Gulfport has fared with adopting FCBG standards, especially with city buildings and properties. It is crucial that the City of Gulfport share the findings with community groups. More importantly, the City needs to make "green standards" a priority with current and future building and property construction projects.
Statewide and Local Governments FGBC-Certified Programs
Shining Cities 2017 -- Expanding Solar Power in Cities
In 2017, the Environment Florida Research & Policy Center, a 501(c)(3) organization, published "Shining Cities 2017," an extensive guide on municipalities expanding solar power. The Research & Policy Center is "dedicated to protecting Florida’s air, water and open spaces," encouraging cities, states and federal governments to adopt strong pro-solar policies. Unfortunately, through 2016, Florida cities continue to not make lists of top "solar cities with installed solar PV capacity" (see page 5 of the Executive Summary).
Below is a summary ofpublic policy recommendations for local governmentsby the Environment Florida Research & Policy Center (see pages 23-24). It is important for Gulfport to take solar power for municipal properties seriously, developing pro-solar policies that meet the "Green Gulfport" policies initiatives detailed in Resolution 2010-60. Such interest should not be seen as simply the interest of certain City Council members, but the interests of the city as a whole for years to come.
Set ambitious solar energy goals
Implement solar access ordinances
Adopt policies to promote “solar ready” or zeronet energy homes
Eliminate red tape by reforming permitting processes
Expand access to solar energy
Consider municipalization where utilities are unwilling to cooperate to promote solar power
Support strong state policies
Install solar panels on public buildings
State policy recommendations are found on pages 24-26
In 2008, the State Legislature enacted H.B. 7135, authorizing the Florida Public Service Commission to adopt rules for a net metering program for customer-owned renewable energy generation systems (e.g., solar power), as well as requiring utility companies to develop interconnection agreements and net metering operating systems. The Florida law, part of Chapter 366 of the state statute, enacted the following:
"Net metering” defined as metering and billing methodology enabling customer-owned renewable energy production (e.g., solar power) to be offset from a customer’s electricity consumption.
Owners of a renewable energy systems can net-meter their systems and get credits for generating more power than they use.
"Utility companies credit customers for the difference, or net, between consumption and generation. The excess power generated is fed back into the grid."
A customer "net excess generation" (NEG) is carried forward to a customer's next bill for up to 12 months. After 12 months, the utility company pays the customer for any remaining NEG credits ("renewable energy credits" belong to customers, who may sell them back to utility companies).
This net metering state law is definitely an opportunity and incentive for Gulfport's consideration of solar energy systems for city buildings.
HB 181 (Sustainable Florida/Natural Hazards): Creates an interagency working group for state agencies to coordinates and information relating to natural hazards (to include extreme heat, drought, wildfire, sea-level change, high tides, storm surge, saltwater intrusion, stormwater runoff and flooding).
HB 7043 (Anchoring and Mooring of Vessels): Implements FWC recommendations relating to the anchoring and mooring of vessels outside public mooring fields. A vessel is at risk of becoming derelict if the vessel does not have an effective means of propulsion for safe navigation; prohibits mooring of vessels within 150 feet of a marina, boat ramp.
HB 335 (Recycling and Recovered Materials): Adds new definitions to the Resource Recovery and Management Act relating to the conversion of post-use plastic polymers to fuel and other products using thermal conversion processes known as “pyrolysis.”
2017 Bills that FAILED
SB 442/HB 451/HB 35/SB 98: Sustainable Florida – Fracking Ban