Scottsdale is scoring points with federal regulators for going above and beyond the call of duty in some of its environment-friendly efforts.
A recent evaluation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency applauds the city’s progress in energy and fuel conservation, preservation of open lands and waste recycling.
The city set high goals in those areas to qualify for the EPA’s National Environmental Performance Track program. It provides incentives for private and public entities to do more than simply meet regulatory requirements.
Many of the more than 300 participants in the voluntary program are manufacturing companies. Scottsdale is one of only a few municipalities putting itself to the test.
The city "still has challenges, but it’s becoming a model for other communities’ environmental management,’’ said David Guest, an EPA administrator who helped with the recent performance review.
Scottsdale received good marks for:
• Cutting electricity use by installing energy-efficient heating and cooling units in city facilities and instituting a preventive maintenance program for the equipment.
• Expanding the city’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve by almost 3,000 acres in the past two years.
• Reducing overall fuel usage by the city’s vehicle fleet by more than 10 percent.
• A pilot program that has converted more than 1 million tons of "green waste’’ — brush, grass and tree trimmings — into compost sold as landscaping mulch.
The city exceeded some of the goals "in rather spectacular fashion,’’ said Larry Person, coordinator of the city’s environmental programs.
"But like any regulator, (the EPA) suggested we set even tougher goals,’’ he said.
The suggestion was echoed this week by Mayor Mary Manross when she addressed the city’s Environmental Quality Advisory Board.
"We have been in the vanguard on the environment. We want to remain the leader,’’ Manross said, encouraging the board to push for even broader efforts.
Board members discussed several additional areas, including water conservation, recycling, solar energy use and expansion of the Green Building program, which promotes environmentally sensitive development.
Person said he’s working on new goals to keep Scottsdale involved in the EPA performance program through 2006.