Energy efficiency is on the minds of Boiseans. According to a recent survey, some 75 percent of the city’s residents consider sustainability a key value. The City of Boise has embraced this sentiment, making plans to enhance a destination in ways that will last far into the future without stripping away too many of the earth’s resources. A bold directive from the City is to be carbon neutral for city government by 2035 and for the community by 2050.
Here is a closer look at how Boise is creating a more sustainable community for both locals and visitors.
The City of Boise
Thanks to its geography, Boise has access to geothermally heated water that flows beneath the city. This is a valuable, natural source of energy to tap into to help heat homes and businesses. The Boise Centre, Boise City Hall and State Capitol Building all use geothermal energy as a primary source of heat. Other businesses that use geothermal include Jack’s Urban Meeting Place (JUMP), the Treasure Valley YMCA & several buildings at Boise State University.
Citywide Transportation Action Plan
Downtown Boise is wonderfully walkable, pedestrian and bike-friendly. Now city planners are developing transportation strategies to make Boise a more mobile, healthy and sustainable metro area. With its transportation plan, the city wants to give residents options beyond their cars and to make the streets safe and suitable for multiple modes of transportation.
City Compost Program
In June 2017, Boise launched a new program to encourage residents to compost. The initiative has been incredibly successful. More than 70,000 residents participate and have produced nearly 40 million pounds of compostable materials. This has helped keep 41% of the city’s total waste out of landfills. Local residents and businesses can buy excess compost from the city to use as well.
The Hospitality Industry
Energy efficiency and environmental-friendliness have been longtime priorities at the Boise Centre, the city’s largest convention space. Some of the key priorities for the venue include waste reduction and recycling, food donation and clean transportation. Through its efforts, Boise Centre has redirected 32,220 pounds of recyclables from local landfills and donated more than 3,000 pounds of food to the Boise Rescue Mission.
The Boise Centre’s location also makes it easy for visitors to take advantage of green transportation. Valley Regional Transit’s Main Street Station is beneath the Boise Centre, giving people the option to take a bus.
Several Boise dining establishments are leading the way in local sustainability. Located on bustling 8th Street, Bittercreek Alehouse are committed to local, farm-to-table ingredients. The innovative restaurants also have “vermicompost” bins (composting with worms in bins) in their basement to recycle food waste. The castings are then sold as garden fertilizer at the Boise Farmers Market when spring arrives.
The Grove Hotel’s restaurant, Trillium, is also prioritizing sustainability through its local, seasonal approach to menu sourcing. The restaurant ensures a smaller carbon footprint through partnerships with local producers such as Gaston’s Bakery & Cloverleaf Creamery.
The community’s focus on sustainability extends to the hospitality sector. Hotel 43 has a partnership with nonprofit Clean the World, which repurposes used hotel soap, shampoo and conditioner.
Big-name properties like the Hyatt Place and the Residence Inn by Marriott, are implementing sustainability initiatives on a national scale for all properties, as well as in Boise. This includes reducing single-use plastics, cutting back on energy consumption, recycling and using energy efficient designs and lighting in the hotels.
Sustainability is important to visitors, local businesses, local government and Boise-area residents. As the city continues to evolve, building a more sustainable, eco-conscious environment is a major priority.