The Austin Environmental Directory is also available for free in print at many environmentally related businesses in Austin.
Hard to Swallow: The Expensive Cost of Austin Water

The 2013 Directory: WATER & THE ENVIRONMENT

The 2013 Cover and Introduction


I. Texas: Where the Water Runs Uphill

  • Introduction: Taking It Personally
  • The Supply System
  • The Texas Water Plan
  • Struggles With People
  • Struggles With Nature and Resources
  • Struggles With Money
  • The Fortune Teller

II. Water Conservation

  • Efficient Appliances
  • Efficient Plumbing Fixtures
  • Rainwater Harvesting
  • Gray Water
  • Reducing Water for Lawns
  • Watering Trees
  • Documentation

III. The Edwards Aquifer (Save Barton Creek Assn.)

IV. Headwaters: An Early History of Austin's Water and Electric Utilities


  • Introduction
  • Commercial Conservation Programs
  • Residential Conservation Programs
  • Renewable Energy Programs
  • Multifamily Programs


  • Introduction
  • Green Building Classes & Tours
  • Toxic Chemicals Contained in Building Materials
  • Energy and Water Saving Tools
  • Myth-Busting
  • The Deep Energy Retrofit
  • A Path to Net Zero Homes
  • Beyond the Green Building Rating
  • Multifamily Green Building
  • Electric Vehicle Update
  • Electric Vehicle Programs Charge Ahead
  • Social Equity in Green Building




  • The Zero Waste Master Plan
  • Recycling Drop-off Centers



  • General
  • Building
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Environmental Justice
  • Food
  • Fundraising
  • Grassroots Organizing
  • Health
  • Parks
  • Politics
  • Recycling
  • Special Purpose
  • Transportation
  • Trees & Plants
  • Water
  • Wildlife
Hard to Swallow: The Expensive Cost of Austin Water

From the 2010 Directory:

Read it and Leak: 2011 Report on Austin Water

From the 2006 Directory:

Energy and the Environment
1. Petrolistan -
Oil & War
2. Fire on Ice -
Liquefied Natural Gas
3. Ten Things People Can
Do To Use Clean Energy
4. Out of the Wilderness -
Strategies Austin Can
Take for Clean Energy

From The 2003 Directory:

Environmental Business
1. Green Business and
Austin's Economy
2. A History of Austin's
Economic Development
3. Creating An Employment
Base From
Environmental Business
4. Strategies for Promoting
Environmental Business

Austin Environmental Directory

The Austin Environmental Directory is meant as a user-friendly guide to readers for learning about environmental issues, for identifying and purchasing environmental products, and for becoming involved in environmental organizations. The print version is distributed free to the Austin area. The Directory is also on the Internet at

The Directory is edited by Paul Robbins, a longtime environmental activist residing in Austin. He wrote about 60% of the issue, with government agencies and non-profit organizations producing sections relevant to their programs. These agencies and organizations received this space at greatly reduced cost.

Businesses in subjects that the book discusses and local environmental groups are given free listings. However, the book is supported through advertising and contributions from individuals and environmental groups.


This Year’s Topics

This is the eighth issue of the Directory since 1995. In the shadow of the record drought of 2011, the theme of this edition of the Directory is water. The urgency is keenly fixed in the minds of many Texans. This theme includes three stories.

The first is about the water situation in Texas. Providing supplies for the 21 million more people over the next 50 years is a daunting challenge. If there is a central message to this article, it is that Texas can no longer provide for the insatiable thirst of all who come here without either large increases in costs or creating a water-efficient economy.

A second story discusses techniques and technologies to save water. Some of these are fairly straight forward, such as appliances that work more efficiently. Others require rethinking why water is used to begin with. For instance, water use for landscapes can be greatly reduced with proper soil levels and plant nutrients. And it can be supplied by gray water or rainwater instead of processed water.

A third story is about the early history of Austin’s water and electric utilities. In relative terms, it has not been that long since Austin was severely constrained by limited water supplies. While Austin is not the only major city with a story to tell, recounting this history is a compelling example with which to view both human nature and the growth of American cities in general.

Most of the information in these articles has never been reported by any other Austin publication. The new edition also includes a short section on the Edwards Aquifer by the Save Barton Creek Association, and updated or new sections on clean energy, green building, locally grown food, recycling, and the region’s environmental groups.



About the Editor

Paul Robbins has been an environmental activist and consumer advocate since 1977. In the early 1980s, he helped start the City of Austin’s nationally renowned clean energy programs. He has written extensively on green business and technologies, as well as articles on clean energy and energy policy, food and the environment, recycling, and green building.

Robbins’ work on clean energy and the environment has been publicly acknowledged. He has won awards for individual achievement from the City of Austin and Keep Austin Beautiful. In 2007, the Austin City Council named a downtown district chilling station in his honor. In 2010, he was voted Best Environmentalist by the Austin Chronicle reader’s poll.


Edited and Produced by Paul Robbins

Water, Lighting, Environmental Group, & Food Sections by Paul Robbins

Gray Water story by Lauren Ross

Rainwater story by Paul Robbins and Austin Energy Green Building

Save Barton Creek Section by Hanna Morgan Denman, with contributions from Laurie Dries, Nico Hauwert, Brian Hunt, Steve Johnson, Sandy Kelso, and Gail McGlammery

Recycling and Reuse Section by Lauren Hammond and David Hogan

Green Building Section by Miki Cook, Matthew Crosby, Shems Duval, Molly Emerick, Jessica Galloway, Patricia House, Liana Kallivoka, Heidi Kasper, Richard Morgan, Lisa Nutt, Paul Robbins, Sarah Tober, and John Umphress

Clean Energy Section by Sarah Fusco, Jaime Gomez, Elizabeth Kasprowicz, Terry Moore, Fred Yebra, and Austin Energy Marketing

Air Quality Page by Deanna Altenhoff

Cover Art Painting: © Glenda Green (, all rights reserved. Photo of painting by Scott Van Osdol. Special Thanks to Gary Freborg.

Artists and Photographers: Art Anderson, Lydia Avila, Ave Bonar, Margaret Campbell Bamberger, Jason Cato, Ron Cobb, Kimberly Davis, Wendy Hale Davis, James Dee, John Dolley, Skeeter Hagler, Tim Jones, Kay Ledbetter, Tom Otterman, Paul Robbins, Deanna Roy, Erdem Selek, Anne Woods

Computer Assistance by Bill Christensen, Mohan Rao, and Jeanine Sih

Proofreaders and Advisors: Janice Bezanson, Margot Clarke, Claire DeYoung, David Foster, Toye Goodson, Chris Herbert, Kam Magor, Rick Lowerre, Lauren Smitherman, Tony Switzer, Gail Vittori

Mail List Assistance: Jeff Smith, Opinion Analysts


Though great effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in the Austin Environmental Directory, the publication assumes no responsibility and disclaims any injury, damage, or economic loss resulting from the use or effect of any product or information specified within the publication. Information in the Austin Environmental Directory does not necessarily reflect the endorsement of the advertising sponsors. While this publication is meant as a guide for environmental products and services, it cannot be a substitute for product quality assurance by the manufacturers and providers of these products and services; it cannot be a replacement for preferences of individual consumers; and it cannot be an alternative to common sense employed by consumers who use the products and services discussed herein. It is recommended that consumers follow instructions in product and service manuals and on labels to ensure safe use.

© Paul Robbins 2013 – All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means, either electronic or mechanical, including recording, photocopying, or by any information retrieval and storage system, without written permission of the copyright holder. Artwork and pictures were produced specifically for the Directory, reprinted with permission, or believed to be in the public domain.