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Galveston Wharves is going green. We’re kicking off a number of employee-driven initiatives to reduce our environmental impact and support local community groups committed to environmental sustainability, including the Galveston Bay Foundation.
Solar panels on our cruise terminal roofs and electric vehicle charging stations in our cruise parking lots are just a few programs we’re exploring to make our business more energy efficient and reduce our environmental footprint.
Joining Green Marine, a voluntary environmental certification program for the North American marine industry, is one big step we’ve made. Participants include shipowners, ports, terminals and shipyards based in Canada and the United States.
We’ll seek Green Marine certification as part of a long-term commitment to continuous improvement in our environmental performance. We would be only the second Texas port to gain the certification.
To receive certification, participants must benchmark their annual environmental performance through Green Marine’s self-evaluation guides. Our results will be verified by an accredited external verifier and published by Green Marine.
Participating in Green Marine will help us identify and implement best practices, manage our environmental programs, measure our progress and strive for continuous improvement. Sharing new technologies and best practices with other Green Marine members is another benefit that we’ll tap into.
It’s the perfect time for us to begin Green Marine certification as we implement our 20-year Strategic Master Plan. We’ll look for ways to integrate sustainability practices as we plan our waterfront maintenance and capital improvement projects.
Green Marine also encourages collaboration with governments, port tenants and citizen groups in implementing action plans and green initiatives. We’ll look forward to identifying ways to partner with local entities. As one example, we’re talking with the Galveston Bay Foundation about participating in its oyster gardening program.
WALKING THE TALK
We’re not waiting for the Green Marine certification to get started. Our staff has taken the initiative on a number of fronts. Director of Administration Laura Camcioglu and Development Officer Megan Keimig are leading the Green Marine and other environmental initiatives.
They are researching a program to put more than 100,000 square feet of solar panels on the roofs of the two cruise terminals to make them energy self-sufficient. And they’ve gotten a grant to replace a diesel-powered tractor with an electric version.
Director of Mobility Julio De Leon is looking into installing charging stations for electric vehicles in our cruise parking lots and using parking shuttles powered by alternative fuels or electricity.
I’m proud of the leadership and passion for environmental initiatives that Galveston Wharves employees have shown. Follow the Port of Galveston through social media and in the news as we launch new green programs. Visit www.green-marine.org to learn more about that program.