Programs : GreenWorksDowntown
Central Houston, Inc. is discussing what measures can and should be taken to create a more sustainable downtown. We are working to an ultimate goal of making downtown Houston one of the most sustainable downtowns in the country. This is in line with the Downtown Development Framework created in 2004 which states, "As we build our city, let us think that we are building forever." Collaboration and cooperation among a wide array of companies and organizations is necessary to the successful implementation of our strategy. We are focusing our efforts on actions that will have the most leverage in increasing sustainability and have developed task forces to focus on different, but related efforts. Our goal is to impress upon the downtown community that sustainability is important to downtown as a community and for the long-term vibrancy of downtown.
This task force is discussing Energy Star and LEED certification for existing buildings (new buildings planned will be certified), development guidelines for properties that cannot meet Energy Star and LEED certification, and possibilities for on-site power generation demonstrations. We are working jointly with the Downtown District to reduce energy consumption in downtown. Lighting on Main Street has been updated to include LED sidewalk up-lights and planter lights. These lights lights are not only more durable that the lighting that existed previously but consume less energy and output a bright light at a lower temperature. A joint effort of Central Houston, the District, City of Houston and CenterPoint Energy is also underway to pilot LED street lights in downtown. The pilot is up and running with test fixtures and several locations.
Transportation | Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT)
While up to 40% of the downtown working population takes some form of alternate mode of transportation to work at least once a week, more can be done. A standing Central Houston transportation committee has been created and is evaluating ways to increase the percentage of those taking alternate modes of transportation.
The recycling task force worked with recycling vendors, buildings and tenants to offer an opportunity for members of the downtown community to investigate means by which higher levels of recycling can be achieved. We are working on a joint project with HDMD to introduce curbside paper, cardboard, aluminum and plastic recycling for participants of the Districtís trash subscription program.
This task force is evaluating how we can reduce the heat island effect in downtown, potentially including a heat audit to measure thermal bulk/reflexivity properties, bringing parking lots to city landscape standards or above, and implementing a green wall initiative. We continue working jointly with the District to mitigate heat island effect through continued strategic installation of street trees and via a green walls/exceptional landscaping grant program.
Education and Communications
This task force is developing branding for the Downtown Sustainability Initiative. Various resources including: Downtown LEED and Energy Star Map, Downtown Recycling Vendor Green Pages, and articles and links are available for download here.
Additional information about our downtown sustainabiltiy initiatives can be found here.