“We must educate citizens about what they can do to help with environmental issues if we are to be good stewards of our environment,” said Lehi Director of Environmental Sustainability and Recovery, Todd Munger. In an interview with the Lehi Free Press, Munger explained the necessity of educating residents about what they can do in this effort.
A five-member committee has been established to serve as an advisory group to learn, advise, and make recommendations concerning energy consumption, water conservation, clean air, open space preservation, and waste disposal. The five members are Steve Roll, Melynda Cummings, Curtis Payne, Susan Wilson, and David Bonner.
According to Munger, many initiatives can be encouraged, “We can educate citizens about the harm to our air if we leave our cars idling. Citizens can turn off the water when brushing their teeth. We can encourage citizens to use recyclable grocery bags rather than plastic, single-use bags. We need to educate people about recycling food waste. Food that ends up in landfills rot, and produce methane, a strong greenhouse gas, that pollutes our air.”
He went on to explain, “When we over-fertilize our lawns, the fertilizers leach into the soils where groundwater carries the nitrates into rivers and lakes causing seriously harmful effects of nitrification, and in extreme cases, Algae Bloom.”
Munger said he intends to immerse himself in the numerous local committees created to address environmental concerns, including Utah County Clean Air Task Force, Utah County Sustainability Committee, Recycling Coalition of Utah, EPA Region 8 Sustainable Materials Management, and UCAIR. “There is a mountain of information out there. We need to create a community of awareness,” Munger continued. He explained, for example, solar panels wear out, and need replacing after years of use. “They are very large and have about a fifteen/twenty-year life span. How do we dispose of them when they no longer work?” Munger said technology is getting better. There are now small solar tiles used in building construction. These solar tiles are more efficient than the panels in use today. He added, “Citizens can use electric lawnmowers, and string trimmers instead of gas-burning ones. Every little bit helps.”
Munger went on to explain that the City is forming a “Green Team.” This group will include one member from each of the City’s departments. Their job is to find ways to learn what that department can do to be environmental stewards.
Lehi City has recently opted into C-PACE, an organization administered by the Governor’s Office of Energy Development (OED). The C-PACE program provides financial incentives to upgrade existing and new buildings for energy efficiency, water efficiency, and renewable energy projects. According to Munger, “These financial incentives will go to owners of old, and new commercial/industrial buildings who go above code requirements. These incentives are facilitated through a voluntary energy assessment lien on the property.
“There are resources available but there must be a collective effort between citizens and businesses. We must get everyone on board. The new term used is ‘circular sustainability’ and we are engaged wholeheartedly in this effort.” Mayor Mark Johnson expressed excitement about the new committee and Munger’s efforts, “Todd is doing a great job and I’m excited about our committee members as well.”