GreenDallas building a greener city. Fri, 16 Mar 2018 21:04:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 62968459 Renewable Energy & Sustainability Planning Seminar with the City of Dallas and the Danish Trade Council Fri, 16 Mar 2018 19:03:58 +0000 Continue reading


The City of Dallas and the Danish Trade Council held a planning seminar to promote knowledge sharing between Denmark and the United States.  This was a great way for each group to explain their technology, expertise, and find ways to help and learn from each other.

Assistant City Manager Majed Al-Ghafry opened the seminar with fun facts about Denmark.

  • 50% of Copenhageners commute to work on bicycles no matter the weather.
  • The Danish Harbor is clean enough to swim in.
  • The United Nations World Happiness Report ranked Danes as the happiest people on Earth for 2 years in a row.

Brian Mikkelsen, the Danish Minister for Industry, Business and Financial Affairs spoke to Denmark’s circular economy and shared his own fun facts.

  • He rides his bike to work every day no matter the weather.
  • He watched the TV show Dallas growing up.
  • It’s safe to swim in the Danish Harbor because there are no sharks.

What’s a circular economy? It’s the opposite of our linear, take, make and trash economy.  In a circular economy, resources are in use for as long as possible, used to the fullest, then recovered and recycled. Or, they are used in something else or turned into energy.  This video explains it:


The City of Dallas highlighted some of its Green Facts:

  • Dallas is the largest city is in the US that gets 100% of its energy for city operations from renewable sources.
  • Our landfill has 35 years of capacity left.
  • In 2017, enough landfill gas was captured to power 70,000 homes.
  • All the recyclables from our curbside recycling program is sold to mills in Texas, Louisiana and Alabama and is a source of revenue for the City.
  • The Southside Wastewater Treatment Plant creates biogas and uses it to produce 40% of the power they need to clean the wastewater it receives.

Not to be outdone, Denmark shared their Green Facts:

  • Some Danish wastewater treatment plants remove phosphorus from the wastewater and sell it as fertilizer to local farmers.
  • Many Danes toss their food waste in a separate bin and that along with food waste from food manufactures and grocery stores is used to produce energy.
  • There are energy plants in Denmark that add bacteria to wastes from different sources like slaughter houses, and dairy and pig farms to make methane that is then converted into electricity.
  • Their newest wastewater treatment plant is mostly underground and the top of it is a public park.

The Office of Environmental Quality looks forward to continued relationship building and idea sharing with the Danish Trade Council because a new Danish Consulate General is opening in Houston on May 2, 2018. 

Danish Trade Council, renewable energy and sustainability planning seminar, office of environmental quality, city of dallas, biogas

Green Up Your Business Fri, 09 Mar 2018 14:30:07 +0000 Continue reading


The Office of Environmental Quality can help green up your small business.  Recently, we visited BCL, of Texas and showed them the path to living and working green by taking one small step at a time. 

This visit kicked off a series of green office presentations that the City offers for local businesses that want to reduce their environmental footprint and inspire their staff to take more sustainable actions throughout the work day, as well as at home.

As part of their continual to commitment to practicing sustainability, BCL’s Dallas office recently earned the City of Dallas bronze level Green Business Certification for actions such as staff education and training, providing reusable dishware and mugs, and promoting green policies, such as a telecommuting and a green purchasing policy.

Cruz Correa, BCL’s Community Loan Center Program Manager and Green Team Lead, said, “It was really great to have the City of Dallas come out and present to us. They had a wealth of information and brought us several different booklets of information that we can take home — everything from natural cleaning products to pesticide alternatives for the garden.” The BCL staff appreciated the passion of the presenters, and how the City staff could speak to their own experience implementing these practices at their own homes and offices. 

BCL CEO Rosa Ríos Valdez, who has championed sustainability and energy efficient practices for her entire career says, “Organizations should lead by example, and we’re happy to help lead the way!”

About BCL of Texas:

BCL of Texas is the most diverse statewide Community Development Financial Institution in Texas, offering consumer, mortgage, business, and community facility loans. In 27 years, BCL has added over $600 million to the local tax base and has helped over 2,000 businesses with expansion support. BCL has helped to create 6,000 new jobs, assisted over 5,000 families to become homebuyers, helped over 4,000 consumers to build their net worth and not fall prey to payday lenders.

Since 1990, Business and Community Lenders (BCL) of Texas has made a commitment to energy efficiency and sustainability one of their core company values. The board of directors has committed to green business practices, such as energy and water conservation, waste diversion, and recycling. BCL has a Green Team that holds monthly strategic meetings, and a Green Operations Plan to guide them along the way.

OEQ would love to help small business with green office tips and educational resources.  We offer free presentations to Dallas area businesses to show you and your employees how sustainable actions can help the planet and your pocketbook.  Contact us through our event and speaker request page at  

BCL, green team, green award, business community lenders

From Green Cheerleader to Environmental Leader Mon, 19 Feb 2018 01:23:45 +0000 Continue reading


On January 9th 2008, the City of Dallas’s Office of Environmental Quality officially launched, the City’s online portal dedicated exclusively to green initiatives and sustainability. At the time, Dallas was one of the first major cities to launch such a website.


Visitors to will find tips on improving Dallas’s air quality; reducing one’s carbon footprint; saving energy; increasing Dallas’s food security; protecting monarch butterflies, honey bees, and other pollinators; reducing one’s waste steam; and conserving our vital water resources. is a one-stop information center for people who live or work in Dallas who want to become environmental leaders at their place of business or in their own community.


The City of Dallas is an environmental leader committed to conserving our natural resources for all people living and working in the city. not only highlights all the environmental initiatives that the City has done, but also current sustainability projects in progress.  The City’s environmental programs, accomplishments, and awards regarding air quality; climate change; energy efficiency; food access & urban agriculture; land conservation; waste & litter; and water conservation are prominently featured on


Over the decade, we have shared 10 years of City environmental milestones.  10 years of environmental stewardship blog posts. 10 years of building a greener Dallas.  To mark this 10-year milestone, the Office of Environmental Quality hosted the Green Dallas 10th Birthday Bash on January 31st, 2018 in the City Hall Lobby from 11:00am to 1:00pm.  The Office of Environmental Quality and partner departments were present to highlight achievements and recent activities that are building a greener Dallas.  There were games, a photo booth, cake, and popcorn for attendees to enjoy.  To add to the fun, the winners of the Website Exploration Contest were selected.

City of Dallas Community Garden Grant Recipient Highlight! Tue, 30 Jan 2018 17:04:41 +0000 Continue reading


Paul Quinn College’s We Over Me Farm is a new recipient of the City of Dallas Community Garden Grant.  In 2015, the City of Dallas Office of Environmental Quality established the Community Garden Grant to help strengthen communities, increase access to nutritious food, diminish food deserts, and improve individual and community health and well-being.  

Paul Quinn College will use the Community Garden Grant to expand their We Over Me Farm by a half acre.  The soil will be regraded for planting.  New drip irrigation systems will be purchased and installed.  According to the We Over Me Farm Director, James Hunter, these improvements should help to harvest an additional 3000 pounds of food annually.

The We Over Me Farm is a great addition to the local community.  It’s located in a federally recognized food desert and it provides fresh healthy food options for the community.  It also serves as an opportunity for students to learn about agriculture and business operations. It currently has about 7,000 annual visitors.

For additional information, visit

#1 in the Business of #2 Thu, 25 Jan 2018 15:50:44 +0000 Continue reading


The award-winning Southside Wastewater Treatment Plant commenced operations in 1964.  Since then, the plant has grown from treating less than 10 MGD (millions of gallons per day) to the current permitted capacity of 110 MGD.  Southside is one of two wastewater treatment plants owned and operated by the City of Dallas Water Utilities (DWU).  Both plants are responsible for treating all wastewater generated by the estimated 1.25 million citizens of the city, along with eleven neighboring customer cities. The permitted treatment capacity for both plants is a total of 280 MGD.

While wastewater treatment is performed by both plant, the residuals (biosolids) resulting from the wastewater treatment is processed by Southside, only. Southside Plant does this by stabilizing the biosolids generated by both treatment plants.  During the process of stabilizing the biosolids, biogas (which is about 65% methane) is produced as a by-product.  Previously, the biogas was mostly flared as a means of disposal, with only a small portion of the inherent energy used to produce hot water for plant needs.  The Cogeneration Project allows the City to recover and utilize more of the energy contained in the biogas.

The Cogeneration Project is a twenty-year lease agreement between the City of Dallas and Ameresco, Inc., in which Ameresco finances, designs, constructs, operates, and maintains the cogeneration facility.  The City of Dallas supplies the facility with approximately 1.3 million cubic feet of biogas per day, which is converted by engines into electricity and hot water.  The electricity, about 33 million kWh/year, is sold back to the plant, and the hot water is returned to the plant’s hot water system, and is used for heating purposes. 

Benefits of the Project Include:

  • The project generates Renewable Energy Credits (REC’s), which the City uses for LEED certification of City facilities.
  • The project reduced the region’s overall emissions by eliminating the pollutants that would have been created by a power plant in the generation of 33 million kWh.
  • The Cogeneration Project did not require any City capital funds (construction cost is about $10 million dollars).
  • The plant reduced its grid-derived electrical needs by about 33 million kWh/year.  This is a 45% reduction in electricity for the plant, and a 4% reduction for the entire City.

DWU offers a way for its citizens to be a part of this waste-to-energy process through its nationally recognized Defend Your Drains – Cease the Grease Program (DYD-CtG).  DYD-CtG is an education and outreach program, started in 2005, that helps Dallas residents properly dispose of fats, oils, and grease (FOG), through residential cooking oil recycling.  DWU has nearly 25 CtG drop-off stations where anyone can leave a sealed container of used cooking oil.  That oil is collected and taken to Southside and becomes part of the cogeneration process.  By including citizens in the cogeneration process, DWU has decreased grease-related sanitary sewer overflows by 93%.

Up In The Air – Upcoming Greenhouse Gas Inventory Tue, 23 Jan 2018 15:03:19 +0000 Continue reading


Environmental protection is important to the City of Dallas and the people who live here.  Clean air, clean water, and clean communities are essential to a high quality of life; thus, the City of Dallas is committed to being a leader in this area.  As part of that commitment, the City has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. In 2006, then-Mayor Laura Miller signed the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement on behalf of the City, pledging to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 7% from 1990 levels by 2012.  More recently, Mayor Mike Rawlings committed to support the Climate Mayors Agreement. The City, for its part, has been working to reduce emissions from City operations by 39% from 1990 levels by 2017.

Since Mayor Miller’s initial commitment, the City of Dallas has initiated a wide variety of strategies and projects to address air quality and reduce emissions. The City’s commitment to achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions include the purchase of 100% renewable energy, inclusion of electric and alternative fueled vehicles for the City’s fleet, building LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified City buildings that consume less energy, water, and resources; and, improving the energy efficiency of existing City buildings. These are all positive steps on the road to a clean and healthy community.

 The question remains: how does the City measure progress and verify that the goals are met? The best tool to determine progress is an emission inventory of greenhouse gases.  The emission inventory is a process of tabulating all greenhouse gas emissions, such as those from City vehicles, the McCommas Bluff landfill, and those associated with the generation of electricity used by City facilities, to identify how the city is progressing. Once all the sources are identified, 365 days of data is used to calculate the emissions of greenhouse gases for that one-year period. 

Dallas conducted its first inventory of greenhouse gas emissions for the years between 1990 and 2005.  This inventory established a baseline to measure progress in subsequent years in the efforts to reduce greenhouse gases.  A second inventory was done to measure the greenhouse gas emissions from 2006 to 2010.  The results of the 2010 inventory show that the City of Dallas reduced greenhouse gas emissions 7% community-wide from 1990 levels, thereby meeting the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement signed in 2006.

Now the time has come to undertake a new inventory to determine how reductions are progressing and to determine if the City itself met the City Council’s goal of a 39% reduction from 1990 levels by 2017. Data from the calendar year of 2017, currently being collected, will be used to calculate progress. A detailed, globally recognized process will be used to ensure parity with other cities around the world. Once ready, the Office of Environmental Quality will announce the conclusions. The goal is to have this process completed by summer of 2018. 

It is important for this inventory to be as accurate and detailed as possible.  Not only will this inventory be used to measure progress on reaching current goals, but will also be used to create a city-wide plan for further reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Creating a plan to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions will ensure that the City of Dallas continues to lead the way among Texas cities in reducing greenhouse gases and mitigating the impacts of emissions on the climate.

GDN Website Exploration Contest – Week 3: Waste & Litter Mon, 22 Jan 2018 13:59:35 +0000 Continue reading


There’s no time to waste!  This is the last week of the Website Exploration Contest.  Get all the questions right on the easy quiz and earn a chance at a Perot Museum of Nature and Science family membership.  All the answers can be found on the Waste & Litter pages on this website.  After you take the quiz, make plans to attend to our 10th Birthday Bash on January 31, 2018 at Dallas City Hall from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM.  Besides a cool party with cake and popcorn, we will be drawing the winners at the bash! 

Link to the quiz: 

What are the rules and restrictions?  Find out here:

Share with your friends and family and good luck!

All Sorts of Recycling Thu, 18 Jan 2018 20:11:16 +0000 Continue reading


In January of 2017, the City of Dallas opened their new Material Recovery Facility in South Dallas. This facility was made possible through a contract with FCC Environmental Services who oversees operations of the facility. The new City of Dallas MRF can take recyclable material from the City of Dallas single stream recycling system. Single Stream recycling means residents can put all their recyclable material into one container together without separating them.  The MRF is equipped with the latest in recycling equipment such as optical sorters and gravimetric sorting systems which has helped the new facility process 55,000 tons of recyclables. The City of Dallas and FCC Recycling Facility takes recyclable items such as paper, cardboard, cartons, metal, plastic, and glass.

The National Waste and Recycling Association (NWRA) has recognized the Dallas Recycling facility for demonstrating leadership in key measurements, such as innovation, quantity of materials collected and or processed, types of materials recovered, site improvements, or sustainability measures adopted. The City of Dallas and FCC Recycling Facility was named the Best Recycling Facility in North America for 2017 by NWRA.

The Good, The Bad and The Gassy Tue, 16 Jan 2018 17:01:16 +0000 Continue reading


For over 20 years, the City of Dallas’ has been recycling garbage into a green energy at the McCommas Bluff Landfill.  In 2017, along with Energy Power Partners, almost 2,000,000,000 cubic feet of natural gas (averaging 5,400,000 CFD) was manufactured and captured from the garbage the citizens of Dallas placed on their curbs and threw away elsewhere.  That is enough gas to power approximately 70,000 homes.  The natural gas at McCommas Landfill is captured, cleaned into a high BTU product, and put into a transportation pipeline to service homes, cars, and industrial sites across the nation.  


To increase the production of landfill’s natural gas, an enhanced leachate recovery system treats the waste mass so that it can decay quicker resulting in greater methane production and lessened post-closure monitoring liabilities in the future.  Enhances leachate recovery is a system that recirculates moisture containing beneficial microbes in the waste mass, accelerating the production of methane in the system.  By capturing this gas, the City helps minimize the release of this greenhouse gas into the atmosphere and creates a revenue source for the City. 

GDN Website Exploration Contest – Week 2: Food Mon, 15 Jan 2018 14:00:38 +0000 Continue reading


“Chow down” for your chance to win a great prize! 

Here’s the link to the Week 2 Quiz on Food.

Best of luck! Submit your responses by 5:00 PM on Friday, January 19, 2018 for Week 2: Food.

Remember, be sure to check your email spelling and make the selections based on the information you find on the Food pages. Each question indicates which page to browse on the website.