Conserve your green with city sustainability programs.

Parkland and Coral Springs are leading the charge for change with new sustainability programs in the works.

In addition to FPL’s current solar rebate programs for local Parkland residents, a new PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program was recently introduced at a Parkland City Commission workshop. The environmental program would provide financial assistance to residents looking to make their homes more energy efficient.

While FPL continues to offer rebates for residents who install photovoltaic and solar water heating systems in their homes, the new PACE program makes the city a middleman, whereby the city would help participants obtain financing and the special assessment levied on each property would be paid off by the property owner on their bill over a maximum of 20 years.

“This is a program that is nationwide and gaining steam in Florida,” said Public Works director Brian Archer to city officials after the meeting. “Broward County is using it. So is the state and some cities like Hollywood. … The city might have to put some upfront costs that it can later on recoup. … The assessment goes with the property and not the property owner.”

What’s unique about the PACE program is how it overcomes the barriers to the adoption of clean energy that conventional financing options cannot. For example, PACE eliminates the need to pay out of pocket for the project and repayment is spread out over 20 years, keeping monthly payments low enough that your utility savings may exceed your payment.

Mayor Michael Udine, a proponent of the program, says, “It is a great thing if we can do it. It really is minimal to next to no cost for the city. … It is a way for our residents to do a very expensive program and kind of internally finance it themselves; I’d like to see it happen.”

Coral Springs’s Waste Pro

Not to be outdone, Coral Springs’s Waste Pro has recently announced a pilot recycling rewards program that will offer single-family residents the opportunity to save money on purchases from local businesses.

Each blue recycling cart contains a Radio Frequency Identification Code chip that provides information about residents’ recycling participation. This program is designed to increase recycling and residents’ privacy is protected.

Every time residents in a single-family home recycle, they will be credited so that they can print their savings from several Coral Springs businesses. Single-family homes are automatically entered into this recycling program. All these residents need to do is activate their account online at www.WasteProRewards.com to access coupon rewards.

The program will run through Aug. 31. Then it will be evaluated for its impact on recycling participation. Multi-family residents will be able to participate starting June 1. Local businesses can even advertise for free through this program.

Parkland and Coral Springs’s sustainability programs are part of a national trend to think green while saving green that has emerged over the last seven years. To find out how you can take advantage of these programs and do your part in “going green,” visit your city’s website.

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