The Green Team dates back to the City’s receipt of Energy Efficiency Block Grant (EECBG) funds from the U.S. Department of Energy. Initially called the Resource Sustainability Group (RSG), it was established in 2009. Its charge was to guide the investment of EECBG funds to meet the requirements of reduced fossil fuel emissions, reduced total energy use and improved energy efficiency in a variety of sectors. The RSG brought together a cross section of employees to set operational environmental objectives that would align with these requirements, but it quickly decided to take on the greater role of ensuring that the City becomes a model for environmental best practices. Since its inception, the RSG has always been informally known as the “Green Team.”
Assistant City Manager Susanne Torriente addressing our inter-departmental Green Team
The Green Team’s initial mission was to coordinate the City’s internal sustainability programs so that there would be no wasted resources. By cataloging existing sustainability initiatives, extracting best practices and sharing them throughout the City, successes could be duplicated and their gains magnified. This resulted in the wide application of environmentally responsible procedures such as reducing printing to conserve paper and energy, investing in paperless technologies, minimizing or eliminating engine idling to conserve fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and recycling at City facilities. At various points, sub-committees were formed to take on specific challenges such as conserving electricity—a central goal of the EECBG.
Though the EECBG grant period concluded, the Green Team remains. Today, it is an interdepartmental working group focused on introduction of best green management practices into department operations, and its role has extended to drive implementation of the Sustainability Action Plan. Assistant City Manager, Susanne Torriente, chairs the team, elevating its mission to the very highest levels of our organization.
Structure and Responsibilities
There is no limit to the number of team members. At a minimum, each department appoints a representative with decision-making authority. A department may appoint additional representatives to attend meetings while a strategic project is being implemented.
The responsibilities of the Green Team are:
- Eliminate potential barriers to the implementation of the Sustainability Action Plan by establishing formal communication channels between departments on the topic of sustainability;
- Identify opportunities for Departments to work together towards reducing the environmental impact of operations;
- Review proposed code changes to identify Community impact from different perspectives and to increase viability of change;
- Receive and share updates from regional and other partners in specific areas such as water management, transportation, waste reduction and recycling, forestry and so on;
- Provide a forum for Department staff to share ideas and be recognized for improving our performance along key sustainability indicators;
- Take information back to Department staff for the purpose of educating them about living, working and playing green;
- Support implementation of sustainability-related initiatives in various Departments, and own specific projects as appropriate.
Meetings are held every month, or more often as the Chair determines a need.