City Public Works Department Earns Sustainability Award

City Public Works Department Earns Sustainability Award


Efforts to be more “green” are paying off for the city of Alameda Public Works Department. The city’s new program that included reducing water and paper usage, producing less trash, while increasing recycling, resulted in the city receiving the 2016 Sustainability Practices Award. The Northern California chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) gives out the award each year.

Public Works made an “outstanding contribution to promote sustainability” and provided “efficient delivery of infrastructure in an environmentally and socially responsible way that ensures the best choices in the long term,” to earn the recognition, said APWA. This was Alameda’s first award from APWA in many years, and one of 10 from various categories awarded to cities in the Bay Area. 

The local program, titled “Walking the Talk: Green Certifying the City of Alameda’s Public Works and Other Departments,” achieved environmental goals that businesses and residents can also strive for.

In 2015, the Alameda Public Works Department received Green Business certification for its entire operations, becoming the first Public Works agency in Alameda County to do so.  Public Works also helped gain green certification for City Hall, Recreation and Parks Department, and the Main Library, resulting in 86% of the City’s departments having the certification.

To be certified in the California Green Business Program, businesses are assessed in a number of ways, including water conservation, energy use reductions, and diversion from the landfill.  Alameda Public Works was certified as a Green Business by the regional coordination of a statewide program - called the Bay Area Green Business Program.

Alameda’s green certifications required installation of low-flow toilets, flow-restricting aerators, mulching, and reduced watering.  Average water use at Alameda’s now certified facilities dropped 40%, earning these facilities five WaterSmart certifications from the East Bay Municipal Utility District.  City departments have saved more than 120,564,277 gallons of water during the drought. Double-sided printing has reduced paper purchasing by 30%, and more recycling and composting has reduced the City’s trash service by 25%. In addition to achieving Green Business certification, the Alameda Main Library upgraded its USGBC LEED rating to Gold in 2015, boasting a solar array installation, significant paper and water use reduction, and a purchasing policy for future improvements.

For more information about going green, please contact Public Works Program Specialist Kerry Parker at 510-747-7959.