A green and sustainable city is a community of residents, neighbors, workers and visitors who strive together to balance ecological, economic and social needs to ensure a clean, healthy and safe environment for all members of society and for generations to come.
Clayton has always been a leader in the environmental movement.
Click here for details about Clayton's efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.
- Regional Plan for Sustainable Development - HUD awarded the St. Louis region - with the East-West Gateway Coordinating Countil as the lead administrative and planning agency - $4.6 million in funding to create a regional plan for sustainable development. See http://www.ewgateway.org
- Clayton has been recognized by ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability for achieving Milestone One for Climate Mitigation. Clayton completed a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and forecast for municipal operations and citywide activity to achieve Milestone One.
- Clayton gets its first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building. Many projects in Clayton are registered for LEED certification, but Shaw Park Plaza at 1 N. Brentwood Boulevard is the first to become certified for Existing Building Operations and Maintenance.
- Clayton updates its Residential Composting Ordinance to allow the reuse of specific household waste materials for mulching as an alternative to landfill disposal.
- The Clayton Green Sheet is available to provide information on sustainable development resources to Architectural and Site Plan Review applicants. Energy efficient buildings that are designed, constructed and operated for optimal performance and resource conservation are able to demonstrate reduced negative environmental impacts, improved occupant wellbeing and profitability from energy savings.
- Clayton installs BigBelly Solar Trash Compactors.
- At the February Sustainability Advisory Committee meeting students from Wydown Middle School gave a presentation to build awareness on the issue of single use disposable plastic bags.
Monthly Question & Answer
Question: Are there sustainable alternatives to help supplement the fossil fuels we use heat our homes?
Answer: Before the 20th century, 90 percent of Americans burned wood to heat their homes. As fossil fuel use rose, the percentage of Americans using wood for fuel dropped, falling as low as one percent by 1970. Then during the energy crises of the 1970s, interest in wood heating resurfaced as a renewable energy alternative.
Newer on the scene are pellet fuel appliances, which burn small pellets that look like rabbit feed and measure 3/8 to 1 inch in length. Pellets are made from compacted sawdust, wood chips, bark, agricultural crop waste, waste paper, and other organic materials. Some pellet fuel appliances can burn a wide variety of biomass fuels, including nutshells, corn kernels, small wood chips, barley, beet pulp, sunflowers, dried cherry pits, and soybeans
Today you can choose from a new generation of wood- and pellet-burning appliances that are cleaner burning, more efficient, and powerful enough to heat many average-sized, modern homes. It's also important to use a properly sized appliance for the space to be heated. When an appliance is too big, residents tend to burn fires at a low smolder to avoid overheating, which wastes fuel and is one of the biggest causes of air pollution. A reputable dealer should talk with you about size requirements, but a good rule-of-thumb is that a stove rated at 60,000 British Thermal Units (Btu) can heat a 2,000 square foot home, while a stove rated at 42,000 Btu can heat a 1,300 square foot space.
Milkweeds for Monarchs
Monarchs play an important role in our ecosystem as they make their annual migration from Canada to Mexico and back. They are pollinators. These migrations are now threatened as monarch populations have declined 90 percent over the past two decades. Much of their habitat has been destroyed through the misuse of herbicides and insecticides. Female monarchs depend on milkweed to lay their eggs and feed their caterpillar larvae, so without milkweed we would have no monarch butterflies.
We can help restore their habitat with plantings in our yards and gardens or at school or work. All it takes is to plant a square yard of a milkweed mix (hardy non-invasive weeds). By planting milkweeds and a variety of nectar plants, you can help the monarch butterfly as well as other pollinators
Monarch Butterflies need our help. Well-known for their incredible annual migrations between Canada and Mexico, monarch butterflies are vital participants in pollination of the plants in our local eco-systems. Given the great numbers of Monarchs (up to 100 million) that gather to migrate each fall, it is hard to imagine them facing any threat of extinction. But Monarchs and their amazing annual migration are seriously threatened by human activities, in both their summer and overwintering sites. Their populations have declined 90 percent over the last twenty years. Many of the threatening activities are the cause of the destruction of good Monarch habitats. In the north (the United States and Canada), Monarchs face direct habitat destruction caused by humans. New roads, housing developments, and agricultural expansion - all transform a natural landscape in ways that make it impossible for Monarchs to live there. Monarchs in the north also face more subtle habitat destruction in the loss of their host plants. Milkweed, the plant larvae (caterpillars) feed on exclusively, is considered a noxious weed by some people and is often destroyed. In some areas across North America, milkweed plants are also being severely damaged by ozone. Both milkweed and plants that adult butterflies feed on are also vulnerable to the herbicides used by many landscapers, farmers and gardeners. Adult Monarchs themselves are being killed outright by many pesticides.
Help bring back the Monarchs! To offset the loss of milkweeds and nectar sources we need to create, conserve, and protect milkweed/monarch habitats. We need you to help us and help monarchs by creating "Monarch Waystations" (monarch habitats) in home gardens, at schools, businesses, parks, zoos, nature centers, along roadsides, and on other unused plots of land. Without a major effort to restore milkweeds to as many locations as possible, the monarch population is certain to continue to decline to extremely low levels. The City of Clayton Parks Department maintains Monarch Waystations in Shaw, Oak Knoll, Wydown Parks, along the GRG Trail and at The Center of Clayton. Plans for more Monarch Waystations in other parks are in the works. The City of St Louis has launched a citywide initiative, The STL Milkweeds for Monarchs. For more information on helping to save the monarch butterfly populations visit these websites.
High-efficiency Fireplaces and Fireplace Inserts
Designed more for show, traditional open masonry fireplaces should not be considered heating devices. Traditional fireplaces draw in as much as 300 cubic feet per minute of heated room air for combustion, then send it straight up the chimney. Fireplaces also produce significant air pollution. Although some fireplace designs seek to address these issues with dedicated air supplies, glass doors, and heat recovery systems, fireplaces are still energy losers. When burning a fire, you should turn your heat down or off and open a window near the fireplace.
Only high-efficiency fireplace inserts have proven effective in increasing the heating efficiency of older fireplaces. Essentially, the inserts function like woodstoves, fitting into the masonry fireplace or on its hearth, and use the existing chimney. You must install a flue collar that continues from the insert to the top of the chimney. A well-fitted fireplace insert can function nearly as efficiently as a woodstove.
Catalytic Wood Stoves, Advanced Combustion Woodstoves, and Centralized Wood-Burning Boilers
Wood stoves are the most common appliance for burning wood. New catalytic stoves and inserts have advertised efficiencies of 70–80 percent.
Advanced combustion woodstoves provide a lot of heat but only work efficiently when the fire burns at full throttle. Also known as secondary burn stoves, they can reach temperatures of 1100°F—hot enough to burn combustible gases.
These stoves have several components that help them burn combustible gases, as well as particulates, before they can exit the chimney. Components include a metal channel that heats secondary air and feeds it into the stove above the fire. This heated oxygen helps burn the volatile gases above the flames without slowing down combustion. While many older stoves only have an air source below the wood, the secondary air source in advanced combustion stoves offers oxygen to the volatile gases escaping above the fire. With enough oxygen, the heated gases burn as well. In addition, the firebox is insulated, which reflects heat back to it, ensuring that the turbulent gases stay hot enough to burn. New advanced combustion stoves have advertised efficiencies of 60 to 72 percent.
Another benefit is that the secondary channels funnel hot air toward the glass doors, keeping them clean for viewing the fire. They can also be slightly less expensive than conventional woodstoves fitted with catalytic combustors. Like wood stoves, centralized wood-burning boilers have been improved over the last several years. Modern, centralized wood heaters use wood gasification technology that burns both the wood fuel and the associated combustible gases, rendering them efficient up to 80 percent. In addition, systems are available that can switch to oil or gas if the fire goes out.
Monthly Green Tip
Sustainable Fun Facts!
Office buildings use approximately 19 percent of all energy consumed in the US
Energy use can account for over 30 percent of a company's operating budget, while adding 20 percent to the nation's total greenhouse gas emissions.
Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems account for between 40 percent and 60 percent of total energy use (all forms of energy) in the commercial sector.
An American family of four uses up to 260 gallons of water in the home per day.
Running tap water for two minutes is equal to 3-5 gallons of water.
A five minute shower is equal to 20-35 gallons of water.
A full bath is equal to approximately 60 gallons of water.
Water efficient fixtures can cut water use by 30 percent
Though accounting for only 5 percent of the world's population, Americans consume 26 percent of the world's energy.
America uses about 15 times more energy per person than does the typical developing country.
Find more helpful tips and listings of energy-efficient devices at the U.S. Department of Energy’s web site: www.energysavers.gov