Saving the earth is a community-wide effort in Indianapolis. With solar farms, bike sharing, electric car rentals, eco-savvy attractions and one of the most forward-thinking bike/pedestrian trails in the United States, the eco-friendly city is definitely a destination environmentally conscious travellers can feel good about visiting.
Two major Indianapolis facilities “” the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the hyper-contemporary Indianapolis International Airport“”house the largest renewable energy solar farms in the country. Home to more than 40,000 solar panels, the airport-based farm accounts for 75 acres of land and generates enough juice to power 1,800 homes annually. (An additional green accolade, the Indianapolis airport has earned the prestigious honour of being the first American airport to achieve LEED certification for its entire terminal campus.)
This summer, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway followed the airport’s lead by devoting an under-utilised portion of its land to a 68-acre solar farm positioned adjacent to the backstretch of the famous 2.5-mile racing oval.
Indianapolis also offers a whole host of eco-friendly ways to navigate your way around town while reducing your carbon footprint. Studded with public art installations, the 8-mile Indianapolis Cultural Trail connects five distinctive downtown cultural districts and merges with the Monon Trail that leads north to Broad Ripple and Carmel. The newly launched Pacers BikeShare program sweetens the deal even further with rentable yellow two-wheelers available for pick up and drop off at 25 downtown stations, all conveniently sited on or near the Cultural Trail itself.
One of Indy’s most beloved attractions, the Indianapolis Zoo has always been a strong proponent of sustainability and global conservation through its support of the Kutai Orangutan Project and foundations that protect a roster of animals that includes polar bears, Amur tigers, elephants and rhinos. Above and beyond those efforts, the zoo is known for initiatives such as the coveted Indianapolis Prize, awarded biennially to individuals who’ve accomplished noteworthy achievements in animal conservation.
The home of the Indianapolis Colts, Lucas Oil Stadium has gotten into the picture with its own array of green undertakings like recycling efforts, water conservation and food donations. The stadium is also within walking distance to many downtown hotels, restaurants and attractions.
In early 2015, the advent of BlueIndy will position Indianapolis as the only U.S. city to offer 500 electric French Bluecars for rent, along with 1,000 public charging stations. An extension of the Bolloré Group’s Paris-based car-sharing program, BlueIndy represents a $35 million investment. Later next year, Indianapolis’ new 2-acre, $20 million downtown transit centre will introduce the city to solar panel-powered public bus service with 19 covered bus bays to house the largest fleet of fully electric buses in the nation.
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Do you live in Indianapolis? Do you know of any other green initiatives in the eco-friendly city we haven’t mentioned? Tell us in the comments section below.
Written by Amy Lynch