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Fair Trade Towns a Growing International Movement

by Nancy Jones, Director of Chicago Fair Trade and Fair Trade Towns Steering Committee member Sep 29, 2012

Chicago is the largest Fair Trade Town in the United States.

While local sustainability initiatives bring about wonderful local benefits like healthier air or green jobs, they also represent an incredible opportunity to address global problems. In fact, a sustainable planet cannot be achieved without local communities acknowledging our global relationships. We are no longer small individual communities that can each work toward our own solution.  The Fair Trade Towns movement is a critical partner in helping to frame our global relationships and engage businesses and consumers in a new consciousness and new behaviors that will contribute to the success of local sustainability initiatives.

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Energy Code Resources to Pass on to Your Community

by Kelly Guhanick, Alliance for Saving Energy Sep 29, 2012

For every kilowatt hour of electricity that is consumed, roughly a pound to a pound and a half of GHGs are released into our atmosphere. Many carbon emissions are due to home energy use – around 25%. If homes are built efficiently from the beginning by complying with the state or locality’s energy code, homes will save over the life of the building.

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What Exactly Is A Smart City?

by Don Knapp Sep 26, 2012

Boyd Cohen pens a fascinating piece in Co.Exist, the best attempt yet to define what we mean by a "smart city." His intro is below. Read the full story on their website.

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A Long-Overdue Conversation on Green Building and the Codes

by Jeremy Sigmon, Director, Technical Policy, U.S. Green Building Council Sep 25, 2012

(Photo credit: USGBC)

The 2011 Green Building Market Activity Report begins with this statement: “Green building is here to stay.”

It’s certainly been a busy year – or should I say three, or even five? Following the growth trends of a green building economy that has far outpaced an otherwise down economy, the building community has been hard at work to develop draft regulations – or model codes – that can help to translate green building ideas into tomorrow’s minimum expectations.

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EPA Releases Guide to Resource Conservation and Recovery for Greenhouse Gas Reduction

by Don Knapp Sep 25, 2012

EPA has released a new climate and energy strategy guide for local governments, titled Resource Conservation and Recovery: A Guide to Developing and Implementing Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs (PDF, 42 pp, 6.3 megabytes). Resource conservation and recovery strategies involve avoiding, delaying, or decreasing the raw materials required for the production of new products through source reduction, reuse, recycling, composting, and energy recovery. These practices can reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the life-cycle of materials, while also reducing air pollution, energy use, and landfilling costs.

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Climate Action Planning in San Francisco's City Departments

by City of San Francisco Sep 13, 2012

Photo credit: City of San Francisco

San Francisco was one of the first U.S. cities to ask individual city departments to produce climate action plans. In 2008, the Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance requiring each department to produce and update a Climate Action plan annually. These plans are called Departmental Climate Action Plans (DepCAPs). To view overall municipal carbon footprint by fuel source and by department, click here.

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Political Leadership Is Key to Managing Disaster Risk

by ICLEI Global Sep 11, 2012

The new "Making Cities Resilient Report 2012"  identifies political leadership as more important than a city’s wealth when it comes to protecting the lives and economic assets of cities and towns from disasters.

The study takes stock of the lessons learned from the "Making Cities Resilient" campaign, where ICLEI is a staunch partner. It provides a global snapshot of how local governments reduce disaster risk and was undertaken by a team from the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development led by Senior Fellow, Dr. David Satterthwaite.

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Case Study: City-Led Solarization in Beaverton, OR

by Don Knapp Sep 09, 2012

Solarization programs are all the rage, and the City of Beaverton, OR’s Solar Beaverton program was a resounding success. This innovative program helped residents add 258 solar installations, created 15 local jobs, increased the City’s solar permitting by 2,500% (and generated $76,000 in permitting fees), and changed the way the City of Beaverton wrote RFPs. Solar Beaverton helped Mayor Denny Doyle win a U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Award in 2012.

In ICLEI’s latest case study, learn how Solar Beaverton accomplished so and how the City structured the program to maximize the local economic benefits. Beaverton staff share their lessons learned, such as how choose a vendor, how to get more from your RFP respondents, how to involve elected officials in the program promotion, and how to get buy-in from the permitting department.

View the Case Study

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Installing Solar Panels on Historic Buildings

by Don Knapp Sep 06, 2012

Photo credit: North Carolina Solar Center website

Cultural resources such as historic buildings and districts occupy an important place in our nation’s built environment; however these same resources are often considered impediments to achieving a community’s energy efficiency and renewable energy goals. While this assumption is at times unfounded, the fact remains that certain regulatory practices may limit the use of renewable energy technologies on historic resources.

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