About the 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 www. environmentaldirectory.info/.

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.

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This is the ninth issue of the Directory since 1995. Given the increasing dangers of a changing climate, the theme article of this edition surrounds how to create an electric system that runs completely on clean energy.

The first part of this article will review the proposal for Austin’s municipal utility to build a new gas plant to eliminate the need for its current coal plant and its larger carbon emissions. A great deal of public criticism of this proposed plant has been made. I have tried to follow down all the arguments and rumors to determine the real facts.

The second part describes challenges to running a grid totally on clean energy, including the need for dispatchable power to mitigate the gyrations of intermittent wind and sunlight, the slow-paced development of new technology, and practical clean energy programs for low-income homes.

The third part will specifically discuss energy-efficient technologies that prevent the need for using electricity to begin with, renewable energy options for dispatchable power, and Smart Grid techniques and technologies.

Finally, the ending could be analogously labeled a “map” of steps needed to plan a transition to clean energy, with a compass rose to guide strategies towards this long-range goal. Most of the information in these articles has never been reported by any other Austin publication.

This edition also includes sections or pages on food and the environment, water and energy conservation, green building, Austin’s climate protection program, watershed protection, recycling, the Edwards Aquifer, Travis County’s environmental programs, and local environmental groups.


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

Clean Energy & Global Warming, Environmental Groups, Food, and Water Conservation Sections by Paul Robbins

Save Barton Creek Section by Angela Richter

Recycling & Zero Waste Section by Susanne Harms and Paul Robbins, with contributions from Andrew Dobbs

Green Building Section by Miki Cook, Molly Emerick, Patricia House, Liana Kallivoka, Heidi Kasper, Katherine Murray, Adam Pruitt, Paul Robbins, John Umphress, and Logan Ward

Clean Energy Section by Cynthia Berry, Jim Clark, Jenny DiLeo, Cameron Freberg,

Jessica Galloway, Bobby Godsey, Jaime Gomez, David Hood, Peter McCrady, Danielle Murray, Karen Poff, Donylle Seals

Cover Art: “Into the Blue,” © Mari Houghton 2016 (MariHoughton.com). Original oil painting by Austin artist whose drawings and paintings depict bird life and environmental themes.

Artists and Photographers: Rogério Assis, Ted Auch, Khalil Bendib, John Dolley, Wendy Hale Davis, Andrew Ebner, Chase Fountain, Greg Glatzmaier, Louanne Fatora, Ildo Frazao, Will Koop, Zachary Alan Landers, Aleksandr Lutcenko, Mark Moran, Thomas McConnell, Walt Musial, Earl Nottingham, Bert Phantana, Pedro Ramirez, A. Rethly, Deanna Roy, Dennis Schroeder, Jen Sorenson, Michal Staniewski, Emerson Walter, Hans Weingartz

Computer Assistance by Bill Christensen, Javid Aboii, Graciela Gomez, Ben Hurbrough, Karen Kreps, Jenna Mellinger, Mathew Perez

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Proofreaders: Carmen Altes, Claire DeYoung, Chris Herbert, Tony Switzer, and 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 2017 – 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.


The Austin Environmental Directory
P. O. Box 1374
Austin, TX 78767


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