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WATER DEPARTMENT ASSISTANT DIRECTOR SEBASTIAN FICHERA LEADS FEDS ON A TOUR OF THE VILLAGE CREEK WATER RECLAMATION FACILITY (photo by Jeff Prince)

Remember growing up and dear ol’ dad jumped your ass for not turning off the light when you left a room? Or he turned red and screamed after you left the front door open?

Dad wanted/needed to save money. And he expected his wasteful, self-absorbed, pain-in-the-ass offspring to be resourceful and green. Once we began turning off lights and closing doors, dad might even pat us the back.

A similar thing happened to Fort Worth today.

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The U.S. Department of Energy patted Cowtown on the tush.

The city set a goal is to cut energy and water consumption by 20 percent by 2020. Fort Worth has reduced its energy use by 8 percent in the 14 public and private buildings participating in the Better Buildings Challenge. A big part of that success goes to the Village Creek Water Reclamation Facility in Arlington, which treats 100 million gallons of water daily. The plant recaptures much of the methane it generates and uses it to power itself. Currently the plant generates 75 percent of the electricity it needs to power itself. It is expected to power itself completely in a few years.

Assistant Water Director Sebastian Fichera said the plant’s use of innovative technology has reduced its own energy demand while allowing “more energy to be made available to the public on the grid.”

Kathleen Hogan, deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency at the U.S. Department of Energy, said the Obama administration wants to recognize cities that lead the way. Fort Worth’s improvements at the water facility paints a “tremendous picture of what can be done in this region and nationally,” she said.

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