The town of Purcellville, Va., has embraced the challenge with several green initiatives from community shredding events including Painting Purcellville Green, an annual event with energy and cost-savings workshops plus other environmental themed activities. For these initiatives Purcellville has received many accolades, from being a VML-Certified Green Government, at the gold level, to the moniker Tree City USA.
In May 2010 Purcellville officially adopted a sustainable procurement policy to compliment the proactive measures it already had in place to protect and enhance the environment. Purcellville used the city of Portland, Ore.’s sustainable paper use policy as a model for its own administrative policy, developed an administrative green fleets policy — focusing on the procurement of hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles — as well as an energy management and conservation policy.
“For instance in our cleaning contract, we have it written that they mostly use green-certified products,” said Patrick Childs, assistant town manager. She added all the products used are Green Seal certified. “It reduces the chemical load in town hall.”
Other green chemistry practices include the installation of LED lights which, unlike the previous bulbs, contain no mercury. “We are probably seeing a decrease of 45 percent in our kilowatt usage,” said Childs.
The town has also used alternative energy and conservation methods to further lessen its impact on the environment. The municipal skating rink and community hub, Bush Tabernacle, utilizes a geothermal system plus waterless urinals, saving money and placing less drain on the environment. Purcellville also left behind individual printers for a centralized printer, and tested 60-gallon recycling containers in one neighborhood — which brought an increase in recycling. The town hopes to switch everyone over to the bigger containers soon.
“We’re a town of 8,000, but have a concern and interest in environment. We are trying to do our part,” Childs said. “Being close to communities like D.C., a lot of our residents and council members work near D.C. and they see (what D.C. is doing) and talk and try to implement that here.”
Like neighboring Fairfax County, Purcellville uses decentralized procurement, so information and communication are key so each department understands the policies and what products are available.
Childs stated municipalities should explore and try green products.
“They work well and reduce the chemical load. (Green products) are evolving more, so there are more choices. Talk to your peers and see what works.”
To view Purcellville’s initiatives, visit www.purcellvilleva.gov/documents/16/2012-Go%20Green_201209240651345953.pdf.