The City of Coppell’s ecoCoppell program introduces engaging activities and practices that have become second-nature to employees and residents alike. With the population doubling since 1990, Coppell has utilized its growth as an opportunity to initiate eco-friendly programs, ordinances, and infrastructure to benefit the environment.
During this growth, the city seized the opportunity to initiate ordinances and policies to develop a sustainable community. Through public surveys and input, the city adopted a tree preservation ordinance, litter/neighborhood integrity ordinances, clean fleet ordinance, implemented curbside and yard trimming recycling, and a convenient household hazardous waste program.
As the city expanded, decisions were made to develop a city-wide trail plan, drought tolerant landscapes, central controlled irrigation and park lighting system, community gardens, and a farmers market.
The City collects yard trimmings in its curbside-recycling pickup and sends the trimmings to a local compost facility, more than doubling Coppell’s landfill diversion rate. As part of a water conservation effort, the City offered faucet aerators—which can cut in half the amount of water from a faucet’s water flow—to all households. Coppell also hosts its annual Earthfest where visitors can have fun learning about environmental efforts while dropping off oversized trash items and recyclables. Through educational and partnering outreach programs, environmental leadership is promoted to residents encouraging them to participate and serve as role models.
With more than 26 buildings, the City of Coppell can make a considerable difference in environmental impacts and cost savings by greening the operations and maintenance of city facilities through energy audits and retrofits. The Facility Management Division has made improvements by focusing on energy efficiency initiatives, such as lighting retrofits, H/VAC upgrades, thermometer set points, and window/ door replacements. Recently the Senior and Community Center was certified as a silver LEED building. With annual utilities costs of over 1.5 million dollars, the city has saved $500,000 since 2008.
The City made the decision in 2007 to continue to take a leading role in developing environmental initiatives through a systematic and broad-based approach to sustainability. The interdepartmental “ecoCoppell” team was formalized to begin focusing on internal operations. Leading by example, Coppell was among the first municipalities to implement an environmental management system (EMS)—a formalized plan that outlines specific methods to lessen city operation’s environmental impact—to look at government operations with a new perspective for continuous improvement. The first building targeted was the City’s service center, housing Parks, Streets, and Fleet Maintenance and Water operations. The EMS actively sought compliance, conservation of resources and controlled risks.
By 2010, the City of Coppell Service Center was recognized by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality as a GOLD Member of Clean Texas. To receive this recognition, the Environmental Management System at the Coppell Service Center was third-party certified, then verified by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The City of Coppell has also been recognized for the National Environmental Health Association for Excellence in Sustainability Award and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for the Environmental Excellence Award in Innovative Operations and Management.
The city partners with the Chamber of Commerce to recognize businesses, churches, and schools for their sustainability efforts through the Green Team, involving them in clean-up efforts, recycling, and sustainability workshops. Support from Waste Management, the City’s solid waste disposal vendor, has helped the school district implement recycling on all campuses and The Container Store headquarters sources their Earth Day employee lunch from the Coppell Farmers Market. These examples demonstrate the breadth of the community’s commitment to a more sustainable future.
By Clay Phillips, City Manager
City of Coppell, Texas