Cities Bribe Residents To Adopt Good Environmental Practices

If every town and city in the country did this we could dig our way out of a deep environmental hole.

This is an associated press article that was carried in at least the above newspapers.

U.S. cities encourage residents to go green with perks, cash



PARKLAND, Fla. – Free hy­brid-car parking. Cash rebates for installing solar panels.

Low-inter­est loans for  energy-saving home renovations. Money to tear up

desert lawns and replace them with drought-resistant landscap­ing.

Frustrated by what they see as insufficient action by state and federal

government, municipali­ties

 around the country are offer­ing financial incentives to get peo­ple

to go green.

“A lot of localities recognize they’re going to get a lot more done

using carrots and incentives

rather than regulatory means,” said Jason Hartke,

director of ad­vocacy for the U.S. Green Building Council.

In Parkland, where the motto is “Environmentally Proud,

” the city plans next year to begin

dispens­ing cash rebates to its 25,000 resi­dents for being more

environmen­tally friendly.

‘We will literally issue them a check,” said Vice Mayor Jared Moskowitz.

‘We’re sick of waiting

 for the federal government to do something, so we’ve got

to do what we can.”

Residents who install low-flow

toilets or shower heads will get $150. Replacing an old air condi­tioner

with a more energy-efficient one

 brings $100. Buying a hybrid car? An additional $200 cash back.

And the list goes on.

Based on an estimate of 1,000 residents participating in the re­bate

 program during the

first year, the city predicts it will cost up to $100,000.

“Could this bankrupt the city if the program grows by leaps and bounds?

” Moskowitz asked. “I can only wish

that so many residents want to go green that

that be­comes an issue.”

Many states already offer simi­lar rebates and incentives through

tax breaks, loans and perks such as

allowing hybrid-car drivers to use car pool lanes.

Utilities have long provided in­centives to buy energy-efficient a

ppliances, solar panels and toilets that use

 less water. The federal government, too,

offers tax incen­tives for purchases of many hybrid vehicles and e

nergy-saving prod­ucts.

Still, for many cities, it’s just not enough.

“In terms of waiting for the fed­eral government, we’ve waited

a long time, and frankly, we haven’t

gotten very much,” said Jared Blu-menfeld, director of

San Francis-

co’s Department of Environment. “And how do you change

some­one’s behavior? The simple an­swer is cash.”

Starting next year, San Francis­co will offer homeowners

 rebates of up to $5,000 for installing solar panels

if they use a local contrac­tor. Coupled

with state and feder­al incentives, that could cut in half the

$21,000 cost for an average household,

Blumenfeld said.

The city also will cover up to 90 percent of the costs of making

apartment buildings more energy-efficient,

 and will pay residents $150 to replace old


The neighboring city of Berke­ley is financing the cost of

solar panels for homeowners who agree to 

 pay the money back through a 20-year property

tax assessment.

Nearby Marin County offers a $500 rebate to homeowners

who install solar systems.

Baltimore offers at least $2,000 toward closing costs for

people who buy new homes

close to where they work. It is called the “Live Near Your Work”


“Just living near your job and taking transit or

walking to meet your daily needs

provides basical­ly the same environmental benefit as

buying a hybrid car,” said Amanda Eaken of the

 Natural Re­sources Defense Council.

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