How Local Governments Are Supporting Green Technology 

There is an increasing sense of urgency to adopt green technology. The news continuously shares headlines about melting sea ice, disappearing glaciers, poor air quality, and cliamte-change driven weather events. In many areas, local governments are leading the charge to help bring about change. Here’s a look at what they are doing.

Switching to Alternative Fuels

Some municipalities have invested in determining a renewable energy solution for their operations and switched to alternative fuels. This can be adding solar panels to buildings or investing in electric fleet vehicles. Either way, the result is a more environmentally friendly way to do business.

One of the key benefits of governments making this type of upgrade is that it sets an example for the rest of the community. Instead of telling residents and businesses to do more, the government is taking the lead and showing others how to do that. For many, that can make the difference between whether or not they adopt new technology.

Encouraging Recycling

There has been a lot of bad press about abysmal recycling rates, and much of that failure falls to local governments. This is especially true in places with municipal garbage services.

Some states use a cash incentive to encourage customers to return plastic bottles to the place of purchase. For example, California’s CRV program pays consumers for recyclable drinking containers. Other states, including New York and Michigan, have similar bottle laws on the books. Wastedive offers updates on current law changes that affect recycling. It is a great place to learn more about what your state is doing and what direction they are heading.

Recycling yard waste into mulch and offering a safe avenue for disposing of hazardous chemicals are a few other tactics that can support environmental efforts.

Promoting Energy Efficient Upgrades

Consumers that are passionate about green technology and environmental consequences will often choose more efficient appliances and home systems. However, these items’ usually higher upfront cost is a deterrent for many others.

Home efficiency is also a major problem for many Americans. Unfortunately, many households do not know what improvements will have the biggest impact. This is where energy audits and free upgrades can make a big difference.

States are combatting these problems by incentivizing energy-efficient upgrades, such as:

  • Electric panel upgrades
  • Energy-efficient appliances
  • Heat pumps
  • Solar panels

Instituting Green Taxes and Tightening Regulations 

Taxes are never a popular political move, but they do affect consumer and business behavior. That’s why many governments try to avoid using them as a punishment for established activities. However, when incentives to do the right thing are not enough to make people change their behavior, increasing the cost of the undesirable behavior often helps.

This is often referred to as the stick-and-carrot approach. You are simultaneously offering a reward for the favorable action and punishing the bad. While not always effective, it can potentially change general behavior.

Educating the Public About Available Options

Providing residents and businesses with information about available options and how to implement them can go a long way in encouraging the adoption of green technology. Basic workshops and presentations are both great ways to get information to the public. This is applied across the age spectrum in many areas by offering programs at schools, community centers, and senior centers.

For example, areas with extension offices can often host workshops covering everything from installing solar backup systems to backyard composting. Partnering with an energy provider or community college often serves the same purpose in areas without a local cooperative extension office.

Increasing Alternative Transportation Options

Transportation accounts for a large part of carbon emissions. Cities are working to bring that down by enacting policies that encourage alternative forms of transportation. Adding bike lanes, walking paths, and electric vehicle charging stations are common approaches. Once installed, the challenge then becomes getting residents to use these new systems instead of jumping in their cars.

Local governments have the ability to encourage sustainability. They are working toward this by encouraging recycling, offering incentives for energy-efficient upgrades, and investing in alternative fuels.