Being green doesn’t necessarily mean throwing around a lot of money. The city of Plano is sending that message from its “greenest building” – the Environmental Education Center.
The facility serves as an example of environmentally friendly construction and a model for the city’s future. “We are built out,” said Melinda Haggerty, Plano’s Sustainability Communications Coordinator. “The challenge for us in terms of conserving energy is how do we retrofit these existing homes?”
The center harnesses wind and solar energy and conserves water. It’s also home to sustainable and recycled materials, using EnviroGLAS counter tops in its kitchen.
In the meantime, local businesses say the demand to “go green” is a growing one.
“The Plano location has turned out to be the biggest consumer of those green products,” said Gary Rogers, general manager of Elliot’s Hardware.
Rogers works with the city of Plano, leading do-it-yourself workshops at the Environmental Education Center.
The city currently offers the classes alongside other programs, like rebates for energy efficient upgrades.
The class covers things you can mainly do inexpensively – like changing light bulbs, insulating switch plates and learning how to caulk windows. “I think everyone is concerned with saving money, and that’s what’s driven them toward the green products,” Rogers said.
Other upgrades, like low-flush toilets, can cut home water consumption by as much as 25%.
“Think globally, but act locally. It’s the power of one – the collective one – and it really does start with an individual.”