[Source: Associated Press] — The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is considering a plan proponents say will result in more recycling, better air quality, and improved decisions about land and building use. The program calls for planting garden roofs on its buildings to help offset the heat-island effect while requiring the use of solar energy or other renewable resources in the design of most new county buildings. And county workers would rely more on electronics, less on paper, and less on travel.
In approving the proposal unveiled Monday, supervisors would join other large county governments in setting comprehensive environmental policies. “It’s important for us to set the example and walk the walk,” Supervisor Don Stapley said. Stapley, R-District 2 of Mesa, is set to take over as president of the National Association of Counties this summer. He said he plans to make environmental policies a cornerstone of his term. “It will be a huge shift in the paradigm of how we do business,” Stapley said. “We want counties to be a catalyst for the change in the mindset of Americans.”
Officials said one main goal of the program is to save taxpayers money, although many of the measures would involve short-term costs. The strategies are essential to keeping costs and resources down as the county’s population continues to soar, authorities say. “Counties are now getting to the point where they’ve analyzed things like their air quality, transportation, building policies and now, we’re starting to see the trend where they’re taking all those pieces and putting them into a broader sustainability plan,” said Kelly Zonderwyk, a senior associate of the national counties association who runs its Green Government Initiative. “Green is sort of here to stay, and we need to be doing something to help the environment and to save taxpayer dollars.”
Goals set out by the county include increasing recycling while decreasing the use of paper. Several departments would step up the use of electronic documents while cutting down on hard copies. They also plan to increase by an average of 5% each year the amount of recycled and remanufactured products used.