Peoples Gas blog.

Natural Gas: Investing in Sustainable Community and Business Practices

Cities, companies and organizations throughout Florida are investing in sustainable community and business practices to mitigate climate change, reduce costs, improve efficiency and create a healthier environment for the people in our state. Peoples Gas is working with major industries and municipalities to advance the use of affordable, lower-carbon natural gas as a more climate-friendly, resilient energy option.

Transportation—Decreasing air pollutants and dependence on imported fuel with domestic natural gas

One strategy being utilized statewide is the shift from gas and diesel-powered transportation and processes to domestic natural gas.

The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) is transitioning its fleet of buses and vans from diesel to compressed natural gas (CNG). CNG is one of the best low-emissions alternative fuels for medium- and heavy-duty transportation. CNG provides up to a 95% reduction of air pollutants (CO2and CO) compared to diesel. No other transportation fuel is as sustainable, adaptive, and competitive across most applications and vehicle classes. Compared to conventional diesel-powered vehicles, one HART CNG van is estimated to reduce CO2 emissions by nine tons annually, and one HART CNG transit bus reduces CO2 by approximately 25 tons per year. As HART plans to have its full fleet of transit buses operating on CNG by 2026, the fuel, maintenance and environmental savings will be significant.

Another excellent example of sustainable, alternative fuel use in transportation is Orlando’s eco-friendly Green Works Initiative. Implemented by the city’s Office of Sustainability and Resiliency, the initiative is designed to transform Orlando into one of the most environmentally friendly, economically and socially vibrant communities in the nation. Since 2007, the city has achieved more than $1 million in annual energy savings.

According to David Dunn, CFM, Division Manager, Fleet & Facilities Management Division of the city of Orlando, one of the initiative’s goals is to run the city’s fleet vehicles on 100% renewable and alternative fuel sources by 2030. CNG plays a role in the transition. Today, over 90% of the city of Orlando’s refuse and recycling collection trucks have transitioned to CNG. 

Natural, national resource—available, affordable and resilient

Approximately 90% of the natural gas used in the U.S. comes from American sources, offering lower and more stable fuel prices than other energy resources.

Natural gas is an energy source Florida can rely on in times of storms and disasters. After a hurricane, conventional fleet vehicles can have difficulty finding gasoline and diesel at gas stations due to delays and outages. At CNG fueling stations, generators keep facilities fully operational. Peoples Gas operates 54 CNG stations strategically across Florida, fueling various commercial vehicles, including buses, waste management vehicles, and delivery services. The reliability and resiliency of natural gas are essential to maintaining the state’s economy and quality of life. Watch video

Electricity generation in Orlando—Making the switch from coal to natural gas

The Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC), the municipally-owned public provider of electricity and water services in central Florida, recently announced its plan to significantly reduce the use of coal to generate electricity by converting to cleaner, cost-effective natural gas-powered plants. The action is part of the utility’s Electric Integrated Resource Plan to support its strategic goal of Net Zero CO2 Emissions by 2050, which includes reducing carbon emissions by 50% by 2030. The utility’s initiative strives to balance affordability, reliability, resiliency and sustainability in weighing the options for a cleaner, diverse energy portfolio.

Building more sustainable communities

The PARC Group, a leading residential, commercial and master community developer, has built many of northeast Florida’s premier addresses, including Nocatee, the third best-selling community in America. The PARC Group teamed with Peoples Gas to provide homeowners in the Nocatee’s eco-friendly community with clean, efficient natural gas for home appliances and heating equipment, including ranges, dryers, water and pool heaters, and outdoor grills to save money, energy and the environment.

On average, natural gas homes sell faster and for about 6% more, according to a National Association of Home Builders study. Natural gas amenities provide both energy and environmental savings without sacrificing comfort, ease and lifestyle.

The PARC Group’s commitment to livability and sustainability has earned the company numerous awards, including the Audubon Society’s Environmental Award, the Northeast Florida Planning and Zoning Association’s award for Master Planned Community of the Year, and the State of Florida’s Outstanding Innovation Award.

Improving the quality of life in Florida

Peoples Gas is proud to work with the cities and companies across the state that are dedicated to maximizing energy efficiency, reducing operational costs, and protecting our environment. The benefits of natural gas—resiliency, affordability and sustainability—go a long way in making Florida a cleaner, healthier place to live and work for generations to come. Watch video.

If you would like more information about how Peoples Gas is supporting community and business leaders to advance sustainability practices throughout the state, or how we can help you, please contact us.