Creating a More Sustainable Future
Environmental consciousness, energy conservation and sustainable objectives are nothing new in Bloomington. Early efforts preserved one-third of the community as parks and open space. In so doing, important, often fragile, rivers, bluffs, lakes, ponds and wetlands were protected from development.
The City's history of good stewardship provides a foundation of leadership to sustainability. Efforts today continue to move us toward an ever more sustainable future.
Protecting Our Natural Resources
These ongoing City efforts preserve and protect our natural resources:
- Conducting a rain garden demonstration project, working with residents on Thomas Avenue South to install rainwater gardens.
- Constructing permeable asphalt parking lots and rain gardens to allow infiltration of rainwater into existing soils, reducing runoff by as much as 90 percent.
- Converting manicured turf to swathes of natural prairie, a landscape similar to 150 years ago.
- Testing low-maintenance fescue grass with the hope of using it to reduce maintenance activities and cost.
- Employing well-trained forestry professionals, planting new trees throughout the city for more than 25 years, encouraging residents to plant trees via an annual tree sale -- and, as a result, receiving a "Tree City" designation since 1989.
- Developing a comprehensive storm water quality improvement program.
- Upgrading the storm water system to improve capacity and water quality.
- Completing a comprehensive water and wetlands study that resulted in a wetland buffering program.
- Requiring retailers selling fertilizer to offer phosphorus-free products.
- Increasing street sweeping to reduce runoff into water bodies.
Stewardship leads to increased service and energy efficiency. The City's efforts include:
- Replacing major facilities with more energy-efficient buildings.
- Using a bio diesel blend in 100 percent of our total diesel consumption.
- Purchasing vehicles that use E-85 and hybrid vehicles.
- Enacting a vehicle idling policy for all City vehicles to address two major concerns facing the City - air pollution and vehicle fuel expense.
Planning Initiatives and Projects That Support Sustainability
- Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant
On June 23, 2009, the City submitted a grant application to the Department of Energy for $876,800 in one-time funding from the Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program.
- Harrison Park Infiltration Project
The City recently installed a permeable asphalt parking lot and rain gardens at Harrison Picnic Grounds, 1701 West 100th Street.
- Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification
LEED certification recognizes sustainable development practices.
- Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP)
With funds from a federal grant, Public Health is helping to support street designs that accommodate walking and biking, in addition to installing bike racks around the city.
Sustainability Work Program
The City of Bloomington's Sustainability Work Program outlines ongoing and new sustainable initiatives, which on June 2, 2013, the City Council identified for implementation in the next three years. Table 3A (Ongoing and Low Hanging New Sustainable Initiatives) identifies new initiatives that can be accomplished in the next 12 month along with the current ongoing initiatives. Table 4 (Other Short-term New Sustainable Initiatives) identifies initiatives that would be implemented in the next one to three years depending on resources and funding.
- Table 3A (Ongoing and Low Hanging New Sustainable Initiatives) (PDF)
- Table 4 (Other Short-term New Sustainable Initiatives) (PDF)
Regional Indicators Initiative (RII)
As part of the Sustainability Work Program, one of the key initiatives was to identify key environmental sustainability indicators and establish measurements. Bloomington became a participating city in the ULI Regional Indicators Initiative in 2013. As a participating city, the firm LHB gathered and analyzed annual energy, water, vehicle miles traveled and waste data from 2008 to 2012. Data will continue to be updated for subsequent years, as a participating city.
- May 12, 2014 City Council study session – RII data presentation
- Analyze the data of the participating cities of the RII