The mayors from 10 major US cities are undertaking a united effort to boost energy efficiency significantly in buildings. The mayors will be participating in the new City Energy Project (CEP), an initiative from the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Institute for Market Transformation that is targeting the cities’ largest source of energy use. Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Orlando, Philadelphia and Salt Lake City will be CEP’s first participants.
Funded by a partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and The Kresge Foundation, the City Energy Project will help the 10 cities craft their own customized plans for boosting energy efficiency in their buildings.
|The 10 cities. Click to enlarge.|
Largely due to their electricity consumption, buildings are the largest single source of US carbon emissions, representing 40% nationwide—more than either the transportation or industrial sectors. That number is even more significant at the city level, with more than half of carbon emissions in most US cities coming from buildings—and as much as 75% in some. Much of the energy these buildings use, however, is wasted.
The CEP is projected to cut a combined total of 5 million to 7 million tons of carbon emissions annually—equivalent to taking 1 million to 1.5 million passenger vehicles off the road per year, the amount of electricity used by roughly 700,000 to nearly 1 million American homes annually, or taking 3-4 power plants offline.
The CEP is also projected to save ratepayers a combined total of nearly $1 billion annually on their energy bills (at current prices).
Through the project, the cities will develop their own locally tailored plans to advance energy efficiency and reduce waste in their large buildings, which can represent roughly 50% of their citywide square footage. These plans, which will include multiple integrated strategies, can make more progress in each city than any one program or policy could alone, CEP suggests.
Key strategies of the City Energy Project are to:
Provide information about building energy use that will help owners and managers cut waste;
Align financial incentives for energy efficiency;
Ensure that building systems function optimally; and
Encourage leadership from universities, hospitals, and other major stakeholders.
The City Energy Project will offer their energy expertise to help guide the cities through the planning, designing and implementing processes. The energy efficiency solutions that CEP will help the cities develop are flexible to each city’s unique situation, supporting the following goals:
Promote efficient building operations: Strong building energy performance can be achieved through efficient operations and maintenance, and the training of facilities personnel.
Encourage private investment: Common-sense solutions to financial and legal barriers to energy efficiency should be adopted to increase private investment in building energy improvements.
City leadership: Cities should lead by example and reduce taxpayer-funded energy consumption in municipal buildings, and encourage the private sector to match their actions.
Promote transparency: Building energy performance information should be transparent and accessible to enable market demand and competition for energy-efficient buildings.