Clark County is taking its commitment to sustainability to the next level.
The County, at the behest of Commissioner Justin Jones, will adopt a Sustainability/Climate Action Plan in one year's time. Additionally, it will hire a full-time manager dedicated to sustainability to be housed in the Department of Air Quality. An audit will be conducted of the County's sustainability efforts to date to determine their effectiveness and how they can be improved. And, finally, the County will join the national County Climate Coalition
Jones laid out the blueprint for sustainability efforts at the County Commission meeting Tuesday.
Jones described the plan as a continuation of the 2008 Clark County Eco-County Initiative, which established the creation of the Office of Sustainability, which is run by staff who have other responsibilities.
"We need to get back to some of the goals that were originally made in the 2008 Eco-Initiative," Jones said. "The state of Nevada has made a major commitment, from the top to the bottom, to sustainability and addressing climate change in a meaningful way. Clark County now has the opportunity to step up and make sure that we are also making those same type of commitments to sustainability and addressing climate change."
What is Sustainability?
It is responsible management of the environment while maintaining a viable economy and providing for the social well-being of our community. A sustainable community converges and creates a balance between the three pillars of sustainability—economic, environment and social—providing a healthy, supportive and viable community to both present and future residents.
Air Quality Director Marci Henson, whose department also includes Desert Conservation Program, sees this as a perfect fit.
"Promoting and advocating for sustainability efforts fits perfectly with Air Quality's current mission of protecting the air we share," said Henson. "We appreciate the Board's confidence and will stand on the shoulders of our past efforts to advance sustainability practices for the present and future Clark County residents and businesses."
About the Office of Sustainability
Established in 2008, the Office of Sustainability is responsible for serving as a liaison to other entities, cultivating funding resources, creating a strategic marketing plan and promoting ongoing County conservation efforts. It focuses on improving quality of life in the community, natural resource conservation, economic vitality and public engagement.
Transitioning sustainability efforts to Air Quality seemed a natural fit, according to Jones.
"Marci and her team do a tremendous job of monitoring the EPA standards; also, working on our Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan and the lands bill on top of that," he said. "It makes a lot of sense for the sustainability manager to be housed in Air Quality."
The County has been committed to conservation for some time. For instance:
- The County's 2,540-vehicle fleet also includes 424 hybrids, the largest hybrid fleet in Nevada.
- The County recycles tires, batteries, and antifreeze from its automotive fleet. In addition, all used oil is sold to a third party for reprocessing.
- Clark County has upgraded 2,675 streetlights and 304 traffic signals to energy-saving LED luminaire fixtures, resulting in 34 percent streetlight energy savings and 50 percent traffic signal energy savings in 2017.
- By upgrading to LED streetlights, Clark County saves more than $3.2 million annually.
- About 212 traffic signal lights will be converted to LED lighting by 2021.
- All new traffic signals are now installed with LED luminaire fixtures.
- All new school crossing flashers have LED technology, and some locations are/will be powered by solar panels.
- At the County Government Center, a 20-space photovoltaic array parking canopy with vehicle charging stations for up to six vehicles was constructed.
- Clark County now has five photovoltaic sites (solar panel locations) that are 30 KW or greater.
- Clark County has replaced 1.4 million square feet of grass, reducing water consumption by 76 million gallons of water annually.