The Office Sustainability and Resilience seeks to reduce our community's carbon footprint and the degradation of natural resources through conservation, efficiency and judicious use and reuse of energy, water, land and material resources. The office promotes the personal and collective responsibilities for adoption of clean and renewable energy, eco-friendly consumer consumption, waste reduction, climate change resiliency policy and infrastructure, all with attention to issues of social and intergenerational justice. The goal is to ensure a high-quality lifestyle for citizens, a prosperous economy, and a clean, healthy and biodiverse environment for this and future generations.
Programs and Projects
As part of the global push to reduce the use of single-use plastics, the Green Implementation Advancement Board (GIAB), unanimously passed a resolution requesting that the City Commission consider an ordinance that would limit the use of single-use plastic straws at food establishments in Delray Beach. The Office of Sustainability partnered with the Sandoway Discovery Center to initially implement a Skip the Straw campaign. In January 2019, City Commission approved Ordinance 10-19 which requires food and bar establishments to provide single-use plastic straws only upon the customers request. Effective January 1 2020, only straws made of marine bio-degradable materials, such as paper or bamboo straws, or reuseable straws made of metal or glass can be dispensed in eateries. Exemptions have been made for ADA compliance.
Look for the Skip the Straw decal in the window of businesses that have been early adopter of the campaign and complement their commitment to the environment.
A Greenhouse Gas (GHG) inventory quantifies a city’s or community’s greenhouse gas emissions from activities related to energy consumption for buildings, transportation, utilities, garbage disposal, and economic activities. Once a baseline data is established, the city can develop realistic reduction goals by sector to meet our commitments to national and international efforts, including the Paris Agreement which aims to limit global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius and the Climate Mayor's pledge to reduce emission by 80% in 20 years.
In 2017, Delray Beach's community-wide emissions totaled 998,446 mtCO2e, and we identified transportation activities as the largest emitter of GHG, Click on this link to review the complete GHG Inventory. The city will next prepare a Climate Action Plan (CAP) to identify actions needed to achieve the stated reduction goals.
New Coastal, Conservation, Sustainable and Resilience Element
We are working to draft the Conservation, Sustainability and Resilience element to be added to the City’s Comprehensive Plan: Always Delray. We are also rewriting the Coastal Element. The data and goals are presented to the Always Delray steering committee and the individual topic related working groups. This project should be completed by the spring of 2019.
Trees are a critical green infrastructure that the city must assess, value and improve, as they provide multiple ecosystem services, including storm water management, reduction of the heat island effect, wildlife habitat and air pollution reduction, as well as increased home values. To quantify the benefits and better plan where trees should be planted, a formal Tree Canopy Analysis was completed in 2019. It determined that Delray Beach's canopy presently stands at approximately 23%, with some neighborhoods maintaining 29% canopy and others as low as 15%. The report provided recommendations of establishing a goal of 10,000 new trees by 2035, reducing the disparity among neighborhoods and maintaining the health of the current urban forest though proactive maintenance and increase training of city staff. Click here to see the Tree Canopy Analysis.
In December of 2015, Ordinance 02-15 "Green Building Requirements" updated the Land Development Regulation pertaining to development in the central business district (CBD) adding a requirement that new buildings 50,000 square feet or larger must attain a green building designation of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver or equivalent. To date, a handful of new developments in the downtown have been subject to the regulation. Moreover, because CBD district is largely built-out and only a few sites can accommodate a building over 50,000, much of the new construction in the pipeline will not be required to be green certified. The Office of Sustainability is working to create solutions, which may include amendments to the local development regulations that will increase the number of new buildings that will have to meet the specification for green certification.
From March 1 through October 31, property owners within the Sea Turtle Protection Zone, an area that extends 600 feet landward of the mean high water line along the Atlantic shoreline and its inlets, are required to take beach chairs and cabanas off the beach at night or move them to the very foot of the dune so as not to create obstacles for pregnant turtles searching for a nest site, and adhere to the Sea Turtle Protection Lighting Plan. The lighting plan requires that no light sources be visible from the beach, as the lights disorient baby turtles trying to return to the ocean waters. Property owners are asked to:
- change white light bulbs to an LED amber or red colored wavelength, which turtles don't sense.
- Direct all lighting fixtures downward and shield any point light sources, including outdoor patio or balcony lights.
- Uplights and rope lights that illuminate palm trees or building facades, should be turned amber or turned off.
- Additionally, try to eliminate visible indoor lights from a window or sliding door, by drawing shades closed.
On average, Americans discard 70 lbs of clothing each year, but less than 15% is recycled. To help remove clothing from the waste stream and to increase recycling of textiles, public donation bins have been placed in ten locations throughout the city. We encourage you to place clothing, shoes, bedding, towels and household fabric in the donation bins. If the bin is full, DO NOT place bags of donated items on the ground adjacent to the bin, as they are unsightly and may end up as street litter. Either find a different bin location or return on a different day. If you observe a bin that requires maintenance attention, please notify the Sustainability Office at 561 243-6495.