The City of Orange firmly believes that sustainability and environmental responsibility are not just good for our planet, they are also good local governmental policy. Over the last decade, we have taken concerted action to reduce our energy usage, conserve water, reduce fossil fuel use, lower waste, and encourage a greener city.
Here are just some of the initiatives we have undertaken to reduce our impact on the planet:
• We recently finished a multi-year project to convert all of our City’s streetlights (8,400 of them!) to low-energy LED fixtures. Our traffic signals have been converted as well
• Within city-owned buildings, lighting fixtures have been changed to LED
• In collaboration with So Cal Edison and So Cal Gas, we have completed several energy efficiency projects throughout the City
• The City of Orange continues to take water conservation very seriously
o We have been converting our public parks irrigation controls to a system called Cal Sense, which monitors the moisture content of the air and reduces watering when appropriate
o We have replaced some of our public landscaping with native and drought tolerant plantings
o Drip irrigation has also been installed at several landscaping sites across the City, which also contributes to our water conservation efforts
o We were one of the first cities in Orange County to install waterless fixtures in our City restrooms
o Coverings installed over our City pools greatly reduced water evaporation loss and energy maintenance costs
• Our city vehicle fleet includes both electric and CNG vehicles, both of which reduce our use of gasoline. We have installed electric vehicle charging stations at City Hall, as well as at other city facilities
• Throughout Orange, we are responsible for over 31,000 City owned trees along our streets and in our parks. Every year, we add to that inventory
o For the past 30 years we have proudly have been designated a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation
o In 2019, we held a tree give-away in partnership with Circle 3.0 through a grant by CalFire
• Several City-owned building projects over the years have focused on green and “LEED Compliant” construction. The Old Towne West Metrolink Parking Structure was constructed using the highest sustainable and environmentally sensitive building standards
o The structure has solar panels, sustainable lighting, electric charging stations, designated vanpool parking, and bike lockers. The structure itself encourages the use of alternative transportation mode such as bus, train and bike travel
o Orange Fire Department Station #4 was retrofitted with energy conserving solar panels
o The Sports Center at Grijalva Park and the new Shaffer Park Community Room were both constructed LEED compliant
• The City has been a funding partner in several construction projects using LEED compliant methods, including the Lemon Grove and Citrus Village affordable housing projects
• Each year, the City completes several capital improvement projects that are specifically done for environmental impact. These include:
o The installation of specialized grates that prevent unwanted debris into our storm water system, which protects the water quality of our creeks, rivers, and oceans
o The installation of rubberize asphalt on our city streets, which is made-up of recycled materials (around 2,000 used tires are in every lane mile paved.) The rubberized asphalt reduces noise pollution and is more durable, which decreases the need to resurface as often
o Expansion of our extensive multi-purpose trail system that encourages alternative modes of transportation. This includes 6 miles of dedicated bike-lane throughout the City
• Over the past 10-years, Orange has drastically reduced the amount of waste paper it generates by embracing recycled paper produces where possible, and “going digital” where appropriate.
o Our classes and programs have transitioned to a web-based registration system, eliminating the need for paper forms
o City water and waste customers can pay online with electronic bill pay
o The City Council and City Committees will soon be transitioning to a paperless agenda packet
o Those seeking a permit for building projects will soon have the ability to submit their documents electronically using a paperless plan check system
o Purchase of post-consumer recycled paper products wherever possible
Being a “green” City has also allowed us to make better use of our public tax dollars. Not only do these sustainability changes save us money in the long term, many of them are paid for, wholly or in part, through grants or other outside funding. These savings allow us to continue our primary missions of caring for public infrastructure, providing public safety, and enhancing the quality of life for our citizens.
Orange takes great pride in being a responsible steward of our natural resources and environment. As we move forward, we will continue to reduce our carbon footprint, lower our use of electricity and fossil fuels, increase our recycling and use of recycled materials, and look for new ways continue to be a responsible governmental “citizen”.