Department Programs & Initiatives

The City of San Antonio commits to a greener and more efficient government to benefit all San Antonians and will continue to strive for excellence through implementation of City plans and initiatives, including the SA Tomorrow Sustainability, Comprehensive and Multi-Modal Transportation Plans. Each city department varies in size, services and scope but they all strive to be more efficient and sustainable. Below are a few examples of sustainability initiatives from each department.

Animal Care Services

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For this fiscal year, Animal Care Services made a commitment to reduce their energy usage by 5%, track their vehicle miles traveled (VMTs) in order to further lower VMTs and reduce waste. 

Aviation

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Did you know that the parking garage at the airport has solar panels and an energy efficient parking system? This year, Aviation is working to install additional EV charging stations, reduce waste by donating more food and increasing environmental education in their department.

Building & Equipment Services

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Goals for this department include converting 85% of sedans to hybrid or electric vehicles and reducing the fuel consumption of the city’s fleet by 14%.

Center City Development & Operations

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Most residents don’t realize that the latest boats along the River Walk are all electric and create zero emissions. The electric batteries are expected to last four years and are fully recyclable.

City Auditor

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For this fiscal year, the City Auditor’s Office is increasing flex scheduling and telecommuting to decrease GHG emissions. They’re also working to eliminate at least 90% of single-use plastics from the breakroom, department meetings and events. 

Convention & Sports Facilities

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The Henry B. González Convention Center is LEED certified, set up for large scale recycling and specialty recycling, utilizes an energy policy, and regularly participates in the City’s Green Purchasing Policy. 

Development Services

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In 2011, Development Services was one of the first city departments to implement a Standing Operating Procedure (SOP) for sustainability policies. The SOP addressed waste reduction, energy conservation, telecommuting, green purchasing and fuel efficiency. This culture of sustainability continues. Department staff is still working to reduce paper consumption, decrease vehicle emissions and install new water filling stations to reduce single-use plastics.

Economic Development

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To encourage the business community to obtain LEED, utilize LID, and reduce water consumption, the department has created a sustainability section within the current tax abatement guidelines. This year, Economic Development is supporting the CAAP by evaluating incentive options for businesses that lower their carbon footprint. Did you know that the department also celebrates Meatless Mondays? Thereby lowering GHG emissions and promoting healthy eating.

Emergency Management

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Natural disasters such as floods, fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, and windstorms affect thousands of people every year. Those numbers will likely increase as the climate changes but the Office of Emergency Management has series of plans in place and resources for residents.

Finance

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The Finance department has worked closely with CPS Energy to convert over 60% of the city’s streetlights to LEDs. After the first phase of installations, the city reduced emissions by 22%.

Government & Public Affairs

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This department has been telecommuting for quite some time and they’d like to continue that in their day-to-day operations. They’re also training all employees on the City’s climate action strategies and increasing the amount of climate-related information on the City’s social media accounts.

Health

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Through programs like ¡Por Vida! and Healthy Corner Stores, the Metropolitan Health District continuously encourages healthy eating and buying local. The department also monitors its environmental footprint very closely. This year, they’re working to reduce the energy and water use in buildings by 5%. 

Historic Preservation

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The Deconstruction and Salvage Initiative, Rehabarama and mobilizing the Climate Heritage Network are examples of how the Office of Historic Preservation protects the historic, cultural, architectural, and archaeological resources that make San Antonio unique while reducing waste and minimizing the city’s impact on the planet.

Innovation

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Internally, the department has encouraged telecommuting for a number of years to decrease vehicle emissions and in their breakroom they’ve replaced single-use plastics with washable mugs and plates. They also oversee SmartSA which features the Smart Streetlight Project; applications of the streetlight include parking sensing, air quality, temperature, ambient noise and flood sensing.

Neighborhood & Housing Services

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Recently a winner of the SA Tomorrow Sustainability Awards, the Under One Roof program replaces worn or damaged roofs with new, energy-efficient roofs for qualified homeowners. Green & Healthy Homes is a program that provides a healthy environment for families, children, and pets by correcting health hazards such as lead-based paint and asthma triggers.

Parks & Recreation

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At Parks & Recreation, most of their offices are equipped with motion-sensor lighting to reduce power consumption, light fixtures are replaced with LED lighting, solar lights are used for parking areas at a few locations (and growing), toilets are replaced with low usage units and they limit activities like mowing and painting during Ozone Action Days. Parks also oversees the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge. They’ve developed a pollinator garden committee, installed pollinator gardens throughout the city, and native plants, grasses and wildflower seeds have been exclusively used on projects under the Howard W. Peak Greenway Trail System.

PreK4SA

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Did you know that all centers have sensored light switches to reduce energy consumption and that several facilities are managed with the Energy Management System to control and monitor building temperatures? Also, to eliminate water bottles, water dispensers have been installed at the corporate office and education centers.

Solid Waste Management Department

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SWMD has several sustainability and climate-related initiatives. Some of them include increasing the number businesses that achieve ReWorksSA certification to 170, increasing organics diversion and residential paint reuse, increasing the residential recycling rate and adding new electric and hybrid vehicles to their fleet. Currently, they have 6 new hybrid trucks that collect downtown and get 22% better fuel mileage.

Transportation

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Reducing your vehicle miles traveled (VMTs) can be difficult. That’s why Transportation created a vanpool pilot to encourage city employees to leave their vehicles at home. It’s become very popular and the pilot is now expanding.

World Heritage Office

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If you’re ever taking a stroll in downtown it’s not uncommon to run into city staff from the World Heritage Office as they’re walking to meetings (even in the summer). This year, not only are they reducing their vehicle emissions, the World Heritage Office is also training employees on climate action strategies and initiating a pilot for battery recycling at their office.