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Ann Arbor Climate Action Plan Aims to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions 90% by 2050
December 18, 2012

 

Ann Arbor’s City Council has unanimously approved the city’s Climate Action Plan, a document that recommends 88 actions the City can take to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and minimize climate change impacts.

The plan calls for three aggressive targets for community-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions, all of which are relative to the baseline measurement from 2000:

  • Short-term target: Reduce by 8% by 2015
  • Mid-term target: Reduce by 25% by 2025
  • Long-term target: Reduce by 90% by 2050

To achieve the long-term target, major shifts in energy sources must occur – changes that most likely eliminate reliance on fossil fuels in the building and transportation sectors. Many recommended actions depend not only on City Council approval, but also participation from community members. Future collaboration among residents, businesses, local organizations, city government, the University of Michigan, and other stakeholders is essential to design and implement solutions that achieve the recommended GHG reductions.

The plan is organized into four categories, each with its own list of recommended actions.

Energy and Buildings
Sample recommended actions include:

  • Weatherizing existing housing stock
  • Increasing the supply of renewable energy through a renewable portfolio standard
  • Providing incentives to builders to exceed state energy codes in renovations and new construction

Land Use and Access
Sample recommended actions include:

  • Creating a program that provides incentives to employees and residents who choose to live within two miles of their job
  • Implementing a bike sharing program
  • Enhancing transit service to include more weekend and evening service

Resource Management
Sample recommended actions include:

  • Increasing residential and commercial rainwater capture and reuse
  • Implementing a single-use bag ban or fee
  • Utilizing zoning incentives to encourage reuse of existing buildings, structures, and recycled building materials.

Community and Health
Sample recommended actions include:

  • Implementing a community net-zero home building/renovation contest
  • Implementing an idling reduction ordinance
  • Expanding existing environmental education curriculum in coordination with Ann Arbor Public Schools and local private schools

Representatives from Clean Energy Coalition worked alongside City staff to facilitate monthly meetings with the Climate Action Plan Task Force, analyze data, compile research, develop a list of recommended actions, evaluate the cost and impact of those actions, and write the plan.

“We’re very proud to have played a significant role in helping create the Climate Action Plan. The City of Ann Arbor realizes how important it is to take action now to help mitigate climate change, and this plan is an important first step in changing the way we look at energy use and eliminating our city’s dependence on fossil fuels. There’s a lot of work ahead, and we hope to continue partnering with the City to implement the actions outlined in the Climate Action Plan,” said Jenny Oorbeck, Clean Energy Coalition Communities Division Manager.

AnnArbor.comAnn Arbor Chronicle, and Michigan Radio recently covered City Council’s adoption of the Climate Action Plan.

The plan is available for download at a2energy.org/climate.

Saginaw Unveils New Solar Power System
December 7, 2012

The City of Saginaw celebrated the completion of their new solar arrays – the final step in a three-year project aimed at making city operations more energy efficient – at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in early December.

Construction of an 84-panel, 21 kW system on the roof of the Public Services building and a 12-panel, 3 kW tracking system, which follows the path of the sun through the sky, was completed in November.

One of the first steps in the city’s energy efficiency project was retrofitting all 105 traffic signals in Saginaw to LED technology, rather than incandescent bulbs. This work was paid for using a grant from Clean Energy Coalition, with remaining funds coming from Michigan Department of Transportation.

The city will save about $300,000 annually, thanks to lower electric bills, decreased maintenance costs, and a subsidy from Consumers Energy for routing power from the solar panels into the grid.

MLive.com, as well as the local ABC and NBC affiliates, covered the ribbon-cutting event.