Albuquerque was recently ranked one of the â€œgreenestâ€ cities in America as a result of a study of the 100 most populated cities in the U.S.
The scores used for this ranking by WalletHub were based on a variety of factors, with Environmental Quality (air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, green space and water quality) the most significant. In that category, Albuquerque ranked 3rd nationally.
The ranking also included the â€œgreennessâ€ of transportation, energy sources and lifestyle, as well as local policy. Albuquerque had good rankings in all these categories.
Thatâ€™s something as a city we should truly be proud of.
And it didnâ€™t happen by accident. Our city administration under the leadership of Mayor Richard Berry, our City Council and our citizens has been intentional and has taken a pragmatic approach to environmental stewardship. Let me give you a few examples.
Since 2010, the city has completed 98 energy efficiency projects, which is five times more energy efficiency projects than any other administration.
We estimate that these projects have a total energy cost savings for taxpayers of more than $2.6 million.
In addition to being a smart investment, these projects also have reduced the cityâ€™s carbon footprint by more than 11,500 metric tons â€“ the equivalent of planting nearly 300,000 trees or taking 2,400 cars off the road!
In 2013, through a public-private partnership, the city cut the ribbon on a brand new recycling facility and delivered â€œBlue Binsâ€ to all residences across the city to make recycling both easy and accessible.
In the facilityâ€™s first year, the city saw its greatest ever increase in residential recycling â€“ with residents recycling over 33,000 tons (thatâ€™s 66,000,000 pounds!).
In 2015, that number is projected to increase to over 35,000 tons. This represents a 44 percent increase since opening the new recycling facility and bringing â€œBlue Binsâ€ to the community, which I find to be a strong and encouraging indicator that our community is committed to partnering with the city on our recycling efforts.
We enjoy consistently good air quality â€“ our air monitoring network shows that Albuquerque is well within the health-based standards set by the EPA.
We have a robust program to ensure that vehicle emissions are within limits, as well as programs to curb dust and smoke in our high desert climate.
Albuquerque is consistently touted as a â€œBest American City for Parksâ€ by organizations such as CNN and WalletHub, due in large part to the fact that our city is home to 290 parks that total over 2,200 acres, as well as over 29,000 acres of open space. We are also home to over 140 miles of multi-use trails and are adding more in the future.
Our transit system regularly boards approximately 13 million passengers each year, benefitting our community by reducing vehicle emissions on the road.
In 2014 and 2015, the cityâ€™s ABQ Ride Department put 21 new Compressed Natural Gas buses in its fleet, with 20 more set to be added in the coming year. The ABQ Ride fixed-route fleet is 100 percent alternative-fueled, with 41 CNG buses and 116 hybrid buses.
The mayorâ€™s proposal for the Bus Rapid Transit system called ART (Albuquerque Rapid Transit) is the next logical step for public transportation and will add to our environmental quality, ridership experience and economic opportunity for our city.
When it comes to the environment, we can take a common sense, business-friendly approach to green building and renewable energy. With the city of Albuquerque leading by example and incentivizing the business community toward sustainability, we all win.
It is my hope that the community feels as proud of our beautiful environment and the recognition we receive for it as I do.
Albuquerque will continue to support the programs and initiatives that help to make this possible, and we can look forward to an even greener future together!