We are now the tenth largest municipality in the United States and growing. Responsible stewardship of natural resources is vital to sustain our quality of life. My administration is helping transform Honolulu into a greener city by prioritizing strategic initiatives in alternative energy, landfill diversion, and preservation of agricultural lands.
I appointed an energy coordinator in the Office of the Mayor to align energy initiatives across all city agencies and improve our collaboration with others in this field.
To address skyrocketing fuel and energy costs, we are steadily converting to alternative energy sources, and maximizing federal funding for these projects. We have installed photovoltaic systems on city buildings, and retrofitted buildings and parking structures with energy-efficient fixtures, for projected annual savings of about half a million dollars. This year we will move forward with more energy-efficient lighting, air-conditioning, cloud computing, and photovoltaic initiatives.
We have introduced modern and efficient electric vehicles in the city fleet, and we are supporting people who invest in electric cars by installing electric charging stations in some city parking structures, and putting applications for home charging stations online.
We will launch projects to recapture methane gas from wastewater treatment plants in Kailua, Honouliuli, and Sand Island, and convert it to electricity to help run the plants.
Energy from waste.
Of vital importance to a sustainable future is the Honolulu Program of Waste Energy Recovery (H-POWER), which processes solid waste into fuel to generate energy. This year, we will add a third boiler to the city-owned H-POWER facility to increase its capacity by 50%. Together, the three boilers can reduce Honolulu’s need for imported oil by 900,000 barrels per year.
Oahu produces more than 1.5 million tons of trash each. Through H-POWER, curbside recycling, composting, pelletization, and other programs, our recycling rates are above the national average, and we rank fourth among top U.S. cities in landfill diversion. Adding the third H-POWER boiler will divert 300,000 more tons of trash per year, raising our diversion rate from 72% to almost 80%, and bringing us substantially closer to my administration’s “zero waste” goal.
Preserving agricultural lands.
As residents of one of the planet’s most remote island chains, we need to manage our dependency on imported food. Forward-thinking stewardship of agricultural lands will help ensure food security, support our local economy, and preserve green spaces. Recognizing the importance of supporting local farmers, I appointed the city’s first Agricultural Liaison in the Mayor’s Office. And for the first time in 34 years, we will begin to identify and map Oahu’s important agricultural lands .
We are upgrading the Wahiawa wastewater treatment plant to produce the highest quality of recycled water, which will allow for expanded agricultural use. Through a partnership between the city, the state, the military, private donors, and the nonprofit Trust for Public Lands, more than 1,200 acres in upper central Oahu will be dedicated to a new park, with the city providing funds for an easement to guarantee it will only be used for agriculture.
Safer cycling and walking.
We are working to adopt a “Complete Streets” policy that will create a framework for roads that are safer, more livable, and welcoming to everyone – including bicyclists, public transportation vehicles and riders, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.