|EMS and Compliance Audits
William Madison, EMS & Compliance Manager
More than 60 Years Ago, the City of Dallas Started Down the Green Path
It was more than half a century ago, in the 1950s, when the City of Dallas realized it could not take the environment for granted. There had been a drought -- and not an ordinary drought -- a severe and cruel period of little or no water for months and months. The city leaders resolved that Dallas should never again be left in such a vulnerable position. And so, the City developed long range water storage plans which included creating and acquiring lakes and reservoirs for future water supply needs.
The result? The City has sufficient water supplies for today's needs and continues to plan and work to accommodate for the projected regional water needs of the future.
Dallas continued on the path to environmental stewardship in the 1990s when it decided it would move toward a fleet of "green" municipal vehicles - trucks, cars, small carts and other transports - that run on bio-diesel, batteries and other fuels that treat Mother Nature better than gasoline. Today, the City of Dallas fleet includes nearly 1,100 environmentally friendly vehicles in its motor pool.
From there, it seemed a natural step to adopt strategies promoting "green" buildings. In 2003, Dallas completed the Jack Evans Police Headquarters, its first LEED-certified structure (LEED: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). As of 2014, the City has built and certified 29 LEED facilities and has an additional 20 projects registered and in the design or construction phase. The City leveraged its commitment to "green" construction in campaigns to encourage private sector developers to follow its example and was the first city in the United States with a comprehensive green building requirement in place for new development. "We couldn't very well ask the private sector to develop green buildings unless we did it ourselves, could we?" then-City Manager Mary Suhm said.
And the next step? Dallas had made the commitment to implement a visionary idea called an Environmental Management System (EMS). And it's not just a simple commitment; it's a Texas-size commitment. Fact is, the City's EMS is more ambitious and wide-reaching than that of any major city in the U.S. It is a huge commitment and has reaped substantial rewards for Dallas—both from an improved environment as well as significant savings of taxpayer dollars.
Explore this page and GreenDallas.net to learn more about the environmental programs and initiatives overseen by the City of Dallas.