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Siemens Sustainable Community Award Nominations Open

by Don Knapp Oct 25, 2011

Siemens sustainable communities award 2011 banner

Nominate your community for a 2012 Siemens Sustainable Community Awards. The nomination period is now open, and will run until January 13, 2012. Click to learn more about the categories and criteria, prize information, past award winners, and the online nomination form.

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(U.S. Chamber website)


From the Siemens Sustainable Community Awards website:

Categories and Criteria

What Is a Sustainable Community? A sustainable community has forged relationships with residents and the local private sector to set and achieve complementary economic, environmental, and social goals. Together, these goals will help the community realize long-term competitiveness and success.


  •     Small Community (less than 50,000 residents)
  •     Midsize Community (50,000 – 500,000 residents)
  •     Large Community (more than 500,000 residents)
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Los Angeles and San Francisco Launch New Commercial Energy Programs

by Don Knapp Oct 25, 2011

Los Angeles (photo credit is kla4067 via Flickr creative commons)

Los Angeles. Photo credit: kla4067 via Flickr

Last week the City of Los Angeles and City of San Francisco each rolled out impressive new programs to help commercial property owners save energy and money, in partnership with the Clinton Climate Initiative.

San Francisco's GreenFinanceSF-Commercial

The groundbreaking GreenFinanceSF-Commercial program will help San Francisco businesses green their buildings, cut down on carbon emissions, save energy and create jobs in San Francisco.

The program is a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program which gives commercial property owners access to new forms of financing for the installation of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation improvements. The program directly addresses the main barriers to the implementation of energy efficiency improvements in commercial buildings – financing.

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Los Angeles' LA Commercial Building Performance Partnership

Mayor Villaraigosa launched the LA Commercial Building Performance Partnership, a first-of-its-kind, Recovery Act-funded program that will help owners of commercial properties make their buildings more energy and water efficient, while saving tenants money and stimulating the local economy. Through the LA Commercial Building Performance Partnership, building owners can access free energy assessments, as well as financing at competitive rates to cover up to 100 percent of the cost of their energy upgrades.

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City of Austin Is Largest Local Government to Go 100% Green Powered

by City of Austin Oct 11, 2011

Wind Turbine Sunset

The City of Austin municipal government is switching to 100% clean, renewable energy starting Oct. 1, 2011 – becoming the largest local government in America to power all of its facilities with 100% green energy.

All facilities from neighborhood libraries and recreation centers to police and fire stations are subscribing to Austin Energy’s nationally recognized GreenChoice® renewable energy product.

In all, the City of Austin is subscribing to about 400 million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy. Only the City of Houston buys more renewable energy for its municipal facilities at 438 million kWh but that amount accounts for just 34 percent of its energy use.

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10 Tips to Increase Support for Your Sustainability Program

by Cindy Tatham, Sustainability Manager for the City of Beaverton, OR Oct 11, 2011

Cindy Tathan Electic Vehicle Beaverton

Guest Blogger: Cindy Tatham, Sustainability Manager for the City of Beaverton, OR

Starting a city’s journey toward sustainability is a challenging task. The goal of this article is to share lessons I learned with other local government sustainability professionals who are beginning the process of public engagement.
Most sustainability programs start with an internal operational focus on sustainability basics: an assessment, setting up a green team, starting green house gas inventories, establishing a committee and getting the momentum internally to institutionalize sustainability throughout the organization.

My city’s administration had different plans. The expectations were to focus externally, which ran contrary to the direction of typical sustainability programs of nearby cities and agencies.

My role was to make Beaverton, a first-tier suburb, a progressive sustainability leader through programs that reached the citizens in their homes. Though it was recognized that the basics of integrating sustainability into City operations were clearly important, this was not going to be my main role at the beginning. This left me to ponder:

Is it a good thing to first focus on reaching out to the residents of a city versus concentrating on a city’s internal operations?

This question created interesting discussion among my sustainability colleagues. A city focusing externally from the outset was not the typical path that government sustainability programs take. It was believed that a city government should concentrate on “walking the walk, not just talking the talk” and must “lead by example.” I heard it repeatedly. I was torn, but knew what the expectations were from my administration.

Two years into my role as a sustainability manager, I have been privileged to develop, witness, and celebrate a wealth of successful sustainability projects that have focused on the Beaverton community as a whole. My viewpoint has evolved:

It IS okay to engage the public in sustainability from the outset of a city program and shout it from the mountain top - loudly!

Below are 10 key points that I want to share with all government local sustainability professionals as they begin to engage the public -- and their municipal colleagues.

1. You don’t have to have your house “in perfect order” before you talk to the public about sustainability.

Will your organization ever truly be sustainable? Not likely. It is a journey, the destination unclear and ongoing. It is about doing the best you can, striving for improvement to make better choices and institutionalizing the thought process into everyday operations. To wait to “achieve” sustainability before reaching out to the public is not necessary. Your organization can simply declare where it is at and what it is doing to move forward.

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