Gilbert — a town known for its red tile roofs — is looking to go green. The Town Council agreed Friday during a council retreat to investigate beginning a new citizens advisory committee to help in making “green” policies when approving new housing and office developments, and to educate the public about recycling and conserving water.
Councilman Les Presmyk said he and Councilwoman Linda Abbott proposed the idea for creating the environment and energy committee as a way to help guide decisions that could lead Gilbert toward policies similar to those approved in Colorado cities.
Presmyk said he wanted the council to begin supporting zero-carbon-based concepts in future Gilbert developments, such as solar heating of water or use of other methods that reduce carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. Zero-energy homes are gaining popularity internationally, and essentially are homes that use alternative technologies to produce as much energy as the homes use.
“I’m interested in this community leading the charge,” said Presmyk, a senior mine engineer with Salt River Project. “To research and look at where we might go in terms of a zero carbon footprint.”
Abbott said the committee would also educate citizens on recycling, composting, conserving water, and using buses or alternative transportation.
“There’s a real clamoring for this in terms of people wanting to participate,” she said. “The educational component is a plus if it helps us be more responsible as a community.”
Presmyk said the goal would also be to alleviate the urban “heat islands,” that occur when neighborhoods build out with little in the way of backyards and greenery.
And Abbott is seeking to introduce new residents to recycling programs at events, including small blue bins for recyclables that homeowners can use to sort items before taking them outside to the larger cans.
Other council members agreed with the concept. Mayor Steve Berman said he supported the idea as another way to make Gilbert “a leader” in the Valley.