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Fort Worth embraces the value of continuous improvement for sustainability

Posted Sept. 18, 2019

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cyclists ride a trail with the skyline in the background
Numerous City of Fort Worth actions support sustainability.

On Sept. 20, concerned residents in Fort Worth will join their counterparts across the world for the Global Climate Strike, a grassroots movement designed to bring attention to climate justice and to encourage local actions to promote sustainability.

“The City of Fort Worth understands the importance of taking actions which foster sustainability for future generations to come,” said Cody Whittenburg, environmental manager for the Code Compliance–Environmental Quality Division. “From a global perspective, there is a lot of work that can be done in this area; acting locally, I anticipate Fort Worth will only continue to explore sustainable actions that make sense for our community.”

Some city actions that support sustainability include:

U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement

This early agreement, signed by former Mayor Mike Moncrief in 2007, set a goal to meet or beat the Kyoto Protocol targets through actions ranging from anti-sprawl land-use policies to urban forest restoration projects to public information campaigns.

Clean Energy Scorecard

A 2019 report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ranked Fort Worth 44th among 75 large U.S. cities in energy conservation. Fort Worth performed best in buildings policies and energy and water utilities. The report also offers areas where the city can improve to advance its rank in future editions.


  • The City of Fort Worth supports and promotes the Fort Worth BCycle bike sharing program, with 350 bikes at 46 stations across the city.
  • The city has purchased hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric and other alternative fuel vehicles — supporting alternative fleet options, where possible.
  • The Solid Waste Division is replacing diesel-based illegal dump collection vehicles and other lightweight units with CNG-based vehicles over the next several years.
  • The Commuter Benefits Program encourages city employees to participate in activities that help reduce air pollution during ozone season (between May 1 and Oct. 31).
  • The city is working with Trinity Metro and other partners on developing a mobility/transit plan.
  • The city works closely with regional partners through the North Central Texas Council of Governments on regional transportation planning which also promotes clean air actions that can improve air quality, including taking alternative transit options.
  • The city has an electric charging station available to the public at its Business Assistance Center, 1150 South Freeway.

Energy and water

  • The city, in partnership with the State Energy Conservation Office, is updating its Municipal Energy Management Plan, first published in 1981 in response to the 1970s energy crisis.
  • In 2012, the city joined the Better Buildings Challenge under the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. With city encouragement, the local partnership committed to reducing the energy intensity of 20 million square feet of community buildings by 20%. As of 2018, a 16% reduction has been achieved.
  • In 2016, the city joined the Department of Energy’s Better Communities Alliance, a program to bring together public and private sector leaders to deliver energy efficiency, sustainable transportation and renewable energy solutions that create cleaner and more prosperous communities.
  • The city’s streetlight maintenance program replaces streetlight fixtures with new LEDs and completed a pilot program installing more than 3,400 residential streetlights.
  • The city continues planning for future outdoor LED projects, including lighting throughout city parks and at other city facilities.
  • A city resolution establishes a goal to reduce city facility electricity consumption by at least 5% per-year through 2021 to comply with Texas Senate Bill 898; city energy and water utilities ae publicly reported on its website in compliance with House Bill 3693.
  • New city buildings are designed to meet, at minimum, LEED Silver standards. While the city does not always pursue formal LEED certification, city standards ensure implementation of energy- and water-conserving features.
  • Nearly 50% of city government buildings, and the largest of its 11.8 million square feet in facilities, have undergone comprehensive energy- and water-efficiency retrofit over the last decade.
  • Approximately 50% of city energy consumption is for water treatment and pumping. Over the past five years, energy efficiency improvements were implemented at all of the city’s water utility facilities.
  • The city’s Water Department participates in area conservation programs such as Save Fort Worth Water and SmartWater to encourage residents to better manage the community’s water resources. City facilities have participated in these efforts to save water.

Electricity generation

  • Energy recovery efforts have reduced the Village Creek Water Reclamation Facility carbon footprint by an estimated 58,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The city has installed solar panels at seven public facilities, including the Southwest Community Center, the East Regional Library, the Hillshire Drop-Off Station and the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge.
  • The city continues to explore renewable energy options to power its facilities, including the installation of an onsite solar- and wind-power and purchase of renewables by contract for all city facilities.

Trees and the urban heat island

Waste diversion

  • Fort Worth has increased the diversion of yard waste (tree limbs, grass and leaves) and organic (food scraps) materials from the Southeast Landfill.
  • Staff members continue to explore opportunities to divert materials from both the residential and commercial sectors away from the Southeast Landfill.
  • Materials management staff continue to support sustainable behaviors that include the well-known basics of reduce, reuse and recycle.

Long-range planning

  • The city is finalizing a draft Environmental Master Plan, the first plan of its kind, which is planned for release this fall for public comment.
  • The city worked with stakeholders to develop the Lake Worth Greenprint plan, which identifies lands to be targeted for conservation.
  • The city’s Comprehensive Plan incorporates core themes of sustainability, as the community continues to grow and evolve.

To learn more about environmental quality or sustainability topics, contact environmental@fortworthtexas.gov.

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