The City signed the Central Ohio Green Pact in 2007 and became the first Central Ohio community to assess its own carbon footprint. In that spirit, the City established the UA Green Team, with the goal of becoming a Central Ohio leader for green communities. The UA Green Team’s goal is to reduce the City’s ecological footprint through reductions in energy use, waste and emissions. Thus far, the Green Team has a number of notable accomplishments:
- Drafted a Sustainability section of the City’s Master Plan, which was among the first in the country;
- Helped modify existing building and zoning codes to become more environmentally-friendly;
- Worked with the Franklin Soil & Water Conservation District to update our Stormwater Master Plan;
- Established numerous rain gardens at Sunny 95 Park, Fancyburg Park and Kingsdale;
- LED lighting is used in all street lights;
- Continue to plant park and street trees each year.
Upper Arlington was a founding member of the Central Ohio Green Pact, a regional sustainability approach with goals of enhancing and protecting the quality of life and economic vitality of the region. Watch a short video about this regional initiative.
Easy, Quick Ways to Save Money
- Turn the hot water heater down to 120-degrees;
- Install a programmable thermostat and limit usage when away from home or sleeping;
- Purchase EnergyStar labeled products when replacing appliances;
- Use ceiling fans and only run the dishwasher or washing machine when full;
- Only run the washing machine in cold water;
- Install low-flow showerheads and faucets, as well as water heat blankets;
- Caulk and glaze drafty windows; and
- Replace light bulbs with CFL or LED bulbs.
Interesting Facts about Sustainability in UA
- Just by following the City’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO/zoning code), nearly all commercial development is eligible for LEED-certification.
- Electric vehicle charging station available at Walgreens (3141 Tremont Road) and soon to Whole Foods (Lane Avenue);
- A solar-powered crosswalk is in service at the intersection of North Star Road and Guilford Road;
- The City’s outdoor lighting standards follow the Dark Skies® model in order to preserve the night sky;
- The 25,000 square foot of rain gardens at Sunny 95 Park remains the largest installation in central Ohio; and
- All traffic signals and pedestrian crossing signals have been converted to LED bulbs.
Home Energy Programs
AEP Ohio and Columbia Gas of Ohio each offer low-cost home energy audits. During these audits, you’ll receive a box of CFL light bulbs, LED night light, programmable thermostat and low-flow shower heads. Substantial rebates are available from each utility for implementing recommended improvements, upwards of 70 percent.
You don’t need to be a Columbus resident to join 10,000 other regional participants in the Columbus GreenSpot initiative.
The porous and varied terrain of natural landscapes like forests, wetlands, and grasslands traps rainwater and snowmelt and allows them to filter slowly into the ground. In contrast, impervious (nonporous) surfaces like roads, parking lots, and rooftops prevent rain and snowmelt from infiltrating, or soaking, into the ground. Most of the rainfall and snowmelt remains above the surface, where it runs off rapidly in unnaturally large amounts.
Storm sewer systems concentrate runoff into smooth, straight conduits. This runoff gathers speed and erosional power as it travels underground. When this runoff leaves the storm drains and empties into a stream, its excessive volume and power blast out stream banks, damaging stream side vegetation and wiping out aquatic habitat.
Increased Pollutant Loads
Urbanization increases the variety and amount of pollutants carried into streams, rivers, and lakes. The pollutants include:
- Oil, grease, and toxic chemicals from motor vehicles
- Pesticides and nutrients from lawns and gardens
- Viruses, bacteria, and nutrients from pet water and failing septic systems
- Heavy metals from roof shingles, motor vehicles, and other sources
- Thermal pollution from dark impervious surfaces such as streets and roof tops
Managing Urban Runoff – What Homeowners Can Do
To decrease polluted runoff from paved surfaces, households can develop alternatives to areas traditionally covered by impervious surfaces. Porous pavement materials are available for driveways and sidewalks, and native vegetation and mulch can replace high maintenance grass lawns. Homeowners can use fertilizers sparingly and sweep driveways, sidewalks, and roads instead of using a hose. Instead of disposing of yard waste, they can use the materials to start a compost pile.
In addition, households can prevent polluted runoff by picking up after pets and using, storing, and disposing of chemicals properly.