November 2007 

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City Adopts Plan To Further Environmental Efforts

The term “sustainability” may not mean much to the average citizen, but it will soon become a part of everyone’s life. While many think of it as meaning green or environmental, sustainability as defined by the city means “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” This covers many different aspects of our community from economic development to social organization.

The city recently held a sustainability planning workshop with members of the City Council and the Planning Commission along with local architects, transportation experts and others who could share their experiences with the city. The panel made several presentations and created a good dialogue among city staff and elected officials on how to make sustainability a part of life in Las Vegas.

As a result of the workshop, the city developed an action plan on how best to incorporate sustainability in the business practices of the city. This is in addition to an already-existing sustainability policy.

The action plan includes eight steps. These steps include:

  • Develop a sustainability plan – This includes identifying goals, targets and indicators as well as outlining implementation of the plan.
  • Evaluate fiscal and environmental costs of expansion – study the costs of investing in new infrastructure and services for new growth versus investing in the more mature, urban cores in the community.
  • Code audit – review the city code to identify barriers to sustainability and look for opportunities to amend the code to encourage sustainable practices.
  • Evaluate incentives and mandates for green building – currently the city has a green building program. The city will look for additional incentives for commercial and residential builders to construct green buildings.
  • Promote green building – work with other local agencies such as the University of Nevada Las Vegas, the Nevada Conservation League and the Southern Nevada Health District to create ways for sustainable practices to be incorporated in local neighborhoods.
  • Heat island mitigation plan – look at technology that pertains to roofing and paving for ways to reduce temperatures in urban areas. Urban areas are five to seven degrees warmer than rural areas as a result of the sun heating paving and rooftops.
  • Tree planting program – increase the number of trees in the community, provide assistance to businesses and residents to plant more trees and educate the public as to the benefits of trees.
  • Best practices report – highlight the city initiatives that are geared toward sustainability practices.

The City Council approved the plan at a recent meeting, paving the way for city staff to begin moving toward implementation.


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