The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released the 2013 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard this week, a report that ranks 34 of the most populous U.S. cities on policies to advance energy efficiency. The report includes recommendations and strategies for all cities to lower energy use. The ACEEE also launched a new interactive infographic accompanying the report that highlights each city's best practices and scores.
Boston took top honors, doing the most to save energy. Other top-scoring cities include Portland, OR, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle and Austin. The next tier of top-scoring cities (Washington, DC, Minneapolis, Chicago, Philadelphia and Denver) have also developed efficiency initiatives and are poised to rise in the rankings in future years.
"We couldn't be more proud of our progress in creating a greener, healthier city," said Mayor Thomas M. Menino. "Boston is a world-class city, and we know that our economic prosperity is tied to its 'greenovation,' which has helped create jobs and improve our bottom line. Reducing our energy use is just one smart step in improving the quality of life in Boston and around the world."
"The good news is that cities across the country are saving money, creating local jobs and protecting the environment by implementing energy efficiency measures," said Steven Nadel, ACEEE's executive director.
"Our report shows that cities are laboratories of innovation for energy-saving solutions that directly benefit people where they live, work and play," said Eric Mackres, ACEEE's local policy manager and the report's lead author. "Local governments have great influence over energy use in their communities and many have initiatives that result in significant energy and cost savings."
The report is the first to rank cities exclusively on energy efficiency efforts. Cities are evaluated on what actions they are taking to reduce energy use in five key areas: buildings; transportation; energy and water utility efforts; local government operations; and community-wide initiatives.
- Local leadership and commitment to energy efficiency is strong. With great influence over energy use in their communities, city leaders can implement initiatives that provide benefits where they are most tangible to citizens and businesses, directly improving the community.
- Boston achieved the highest score overall, but other cities led in some policy areas. Portland scored highest in transportation and local government operations. Seattle ranked first in building policies. San Francisco tied with Boston for first in utility public benefits programs, and Austin is the city furthest ahead of its state on energy efficiency policy.
- All cities, even the highest scorers, have significant room for improvement. Boston, the highest scoring city, missed nearly a quarter of possible points. Only 11 cities scored more than half of the possible points. All cities can improve their efficiency initiatives to increase their scores, and several recommendations are offered in the report.
Key recommendations for cities:
- Lead by example by improving efficiency in local government operations and facilities.
- Adopt energy savings goals.
- Actively manage energy use, track and communicate progress toward goals, and enable access to data on energy usage.
- Adopt policies to improve efficiency in new and existing buildings.
- Partner with energy and water utilities to promote and expand energy efficiency programs.
- Adopt policies and programs to lower transportation energy use through location-efficient development and improved access to additional travel mode choices.
Visit EcoWatch’s ENERGY page for more related news on this topic.
By Jake Johnson
Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.
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Anger, anxiety, overwhelm … climate change can evoke intense feelings.
"It's easy to feel dwarfed in the context of such a global systemic issue," says psychologist Renée Lertzman.
She says that when people experience these feelings, they often shut down and push information away. So to encourage climate action, she advises not bombarding people with frightening facts.
"When we lead with information, we are actually unwittingly walking right into a situation that is set up to undermine our efforts," she says.
She says if you want to engage people on the topic, take a compassionate approach. Ask people what they know and want to learn. Then have a conversation.
This conversational approach may seem at odds with the urgency of the issue, but Lertzman says it can get results faster.
"When we take a compassion-based approach, we are actively disarming defenses so that people are actually more willing and able to respond and engage quicker," she says. "And we don't have time right now to mess around, and so I do actually come to this topic with a sense of urgency… We do not have time to not take this approach."
Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media
Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.
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