The following is a list of the City's efforts to go green.
- The single biggest green effort for the City to date is the purchase of a hydroelectric plant along the Rock River that provides 55% of the electricity needed for City-owned facilities. When the City purchased the plant, it was running two turbines and two generators. The City now has rehabilitated two additional turbines and purchased two new generators, making it a 1.2-megawatt plant. The City is now able to provide two-thirds of the necessary power to City-owned facilities from a completely green and renewable resource.
- A green house gas inventory is being developed for the City of Rock Island to better understand the community’s carbon footprint. The City has adopted an Environmental Impact Policy to create long-term environmental impacts and improve the overall quality of life.
- The City recently conducted a Green House Gas Emissions Report. On average, each Rock Island resident produces 16 tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) through home heating and cooling, electricity, transportation, and food waste disposal. The City’s strategies to reduce green house gas emissions in the community over the upcoming years include:
- Alternative transportation options
- Energy efficiency
- Energy sources
- The City has upgraded lighting systems to be more energy efficient. Traffic lights have been converted to LED lighting. A few street lights have been converted to more energy efficient lights. Solar energy is starting to be used for signs and small lights. Motion sensor lighting has been installed at some City facilities.
- The City replaced all the windows at City Hall to be more energy efficient. The air conditioning units in the City continue to be replaced with higher efficiency models. Low-flow plumbing fixtures are used on new plumbing projects in City facilities.
- The City’s Parks and Recreation Department does many things to promote being green. The lights in the parks have been upgraded to low mercury fixtures. The golf courses now use organic fertilizers, have newly installed asphalt grinding cart paths to reduce erosion, and follow the guidelines set by the Audubon Club. The department composts and mulches leaves on-site and also recycles residents’ Christmas trees.
- The Sylvan Slough Natural Area is a demonstration project for Retain the Rain, and many of the industrial buildings on-site were recycled to create the park. The Recycled Float Race, an event held on the Fourth of July, encourages citizens to create race floats made out of recyclable materials around Lake Potter. The new Schwiebert Riverfront Park recycled the majority of the Armory after it was demolished on-site.
- Within City Facilities, employees participate in a recycling program and departments are reducing paper by using electronic files. In addition, employee education includes turning off lights and computers to conserve energy.
- The City Manager has set a goal to reduce fuel consumption in City vehicles by 10%, and employees are working hard to meet that goal. In addition, the City fleet uses biodiesel fuel (weather permitting). The City purchased 24 hybrid vehicles in an effort to reduce gas consumption.
- On the City streets, a micro-surfacing program is in place, which increases the life of the street and reduces the energy needed to replace streets. Also, milling material for street projects is recycled. An anti-ice material is used to reduce salt and use of vehicles.
- At the Waste Water Treatment Plant, methane gas is captured and stored for energy. Plans are underway to install a methane generator at the plant to provide both heat and power for the plant.
- The City has a leaf burn ban ordinance in effect, helping to improve the air quality of the community.
- The City has a stormwater control ordinance in an effort to protect water quality.
- A no-mow grass policy is in place that requires low-growing, low-maintenance grass seeds to be installed on newly purchased City-owned properties, mainly kept for redevelopment purposes.