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Knoxville, TN, Engages Downtown Residents to Purchase 400 'Blocks' of Green Power

by Rena Ragimova Apr 10, 2009

The Achievement

The City of Knoxville, TN, along with its initiative partners, met a goal by encouraging downtown residents and businesses to purchase 400 “blocks” of green power (one block equals 150 kilowatt hours). The Make Downtown Green, Block by Block campaign allowed businesses and residents to purchase power generated by Knoxville Utility Board (KUB) from renewable sources such as wind and solar, and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. KUB The 400-block goal was representational of the 400 city blocks in downtown Knoxville. To celebrate this goal, the City held a ceremony and distributed 400 dogwood saplings to be planted downtown.

The downtown Green Power Switch initiative was launched in April 2008 by KUB, the City of Knoxville, TVA, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), the Central Business Improvement District, and the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce.

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Local Action Roundup

by Don Knapp Apr 09, 2009

NYC Opens 1st Building-Mounted Wind Turbines at Brooklyn Yard (Bloomberg)

Los Angeles Building Retrofit Designed to Boost Green Jobs (GreenBiz)

Florida to get first solar-powered city (Reuters)

NM renewable energy measure allows cities and counties to form financing districts (Alamagordo Daily News)

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Anatomy of a Building Retrofit

by Don Knapp Apr 08, 2009

Tools in Toolbox

The Empire State Building is going for LEED Gold. If you're curious about the specific building upgrades and modifications that will be needed to get there, check out the list of key initiatives reprinted from the Johnson Controls, Inc. press release:

  • Window Light Retrofit: Refurbishment of approximately 6,500 thermopane glass windows, using existing glass and sashes to create triple-glazed insulated panels with new components that dramatically reduce both summer heat load and winter heat loss.
  • Radiator Insulation Retrofit: Added insulation behind radiators to reduce heat loss and more efficiently heat the building perimeter.
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Empire State Building: Monument to Energy Efficiency

by Don Knapp Apr 07, 2009

The Empire State Building inspires a whole new sense of awe, with yesterday's announcement of an energy retrofit that will reduce the building's energy use by 38 percent and save 105,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide over the next 15 years. Now the world's most famous office building may become the most famous showcase for the power of retrofits. The $500 million project will pay for itself through energy savings over time, and will demonstrate that even buildings constructed 80 years ago can achieve LEED Gold certification.

A retrofit this big reminds me of the bigger picture: That approximately 80 percent of New York City's greenhouse gas emissions are associated with buildings, and that much of the building stock is old and inefficient. With Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funds now available, there is a golden opportunity in every city and town to retrofit buildings on a massive scale. We need to ride this elevator to the top floor.

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Local Action Roundup

by Don Knapp Apr 07, 2009

Akron, OH, Group Assesses City's Carbon Footprint

San Francisco's, CA, Tool Tracks Carbon Footprint by ZIP Code

New York, NY, Considers Landmark Environmental Code

Seattle, WA, to Provide Discounted Energy Audits

Sonoma, CA Hosts National Conversation on Climate Action as Part of Earth Day Celebration

Houston, TX, Clean Win on Air

Good Candidate for Solar Power? Los Angeles County, CA, Map Shows Hot Spots

Los Angeles, CA, Mayor Picks David Freeman as Environment Deputy

Austin, TX, Recognizing Earth Week With Lights Out Initiative

Hayward's, CA, Plan to Go "Green"

Sonoma County, CA, hosts workshop on energy loans

San Jose, CA, GreenWaste, SolarCity Complete 1,502 Solar Panel Installation

Missoula, MT to get $680,000 in energy efficiency funding

Marin County, CA, North Bay get $25 million federal boost for recycled water

Laguna Beach's, CA, Climate Protection Gets a Green Light

Park City, UT, Studies Carbon Footprint

RACE wants Ridgefield, CT, officials to be 'fiscally responsible innovators'

Duluth, MN, State Officials Urge Congress to Address Global Warming

Charlotte, NC, Region's energy leaders envision plenty of green

Beijing keeps Olympic restrictions on cars after air quality improves

Austin, TX, To Set Employee Bike Share Program in Motion

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Where Are the Green Jobs?

by Don Knapp Apr 07, 2009

Architect at Construction Site with Solar Panels

SolveClimate's Renee Cho takes an in-depth look at how green jobs are taking root across the United States, and how economic recovery program funding is going to boost the business of building retrofits in particular. Putting to work $100 billion in federal funds across energy efficiency, transit, smart grid and clean energy projects is expected to yield two million green jobs.

In related news: The Department of Labor is expected to announce its RFP for green jobs training projects--allocating $500 million in economic recovery funds--no later than June 26.

And finally: The wind industry now employs more people than the coal industry.

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Blowing Away Dirty Coal on the East Coast

by Don Knapp Apr 07, 2009

Wind Turbine Sunset

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced on Monday that offshore wind turbines along the East Coast have the potential to generate 1 million megawatts of power--or, in 20th century terms, the equivalent of 3,000 medium-sized coal-fired power plants.

The prospect of that much clean energy would transform the carbon footprints of local governments throughout ICLEI's Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Southeast regions, so many of whom rely primarily on coal for their electricity.

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Debating Free Mass Transit in Saint Louis

by Don Knapp Apr 06, 2009

Bus with motion blur

There's a great conversation going on over at Streetsblog New York around how to make mass transit free for riders, even at a time when budget shortfalls are creating major cutbacks in transit service nationwide. Sounds silly at first, but Sarah Goodman writes that only 20 percent of transit revenues come from fares. She cites a plan to replace those funds in Saint Louis, described by the Saint Louis Urban Workshop, a member of the Streetsblog Network. The argument is worth a read.

I know that some ICLEI member local governments have had success with limited fare-free transit--I'm thinking of City of Seattle's planned free passes for employees, and Roanoke, VA's free student passes during the summer--but has any local government or MTA seriously considered going full-time free for all buses?

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Local Action Roundup

by Don Knapp Apr 05, 2009

Iowa City Official Finishing Greenhouse Gas Inventory (The Gazette)

Hingham, MA, completes inventories, has plans to cut back on energy consumption (Wicked Local)

Solar power energizes mayors at conference (American City & County)

Empire State Building to Become a Model of Energy Efficiency (GreenBiz)

Urban boundary: Figuring out where metro Portland growth will go (The Oregonian)

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Five Tips to Compete for Energy and Climate Funding

by Don Knapp Apr 05, 2009

Street sign of opportunity

As local governments get to work on their June 25 applications to tap $3.2 billion in funding through the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program, Andy Seth of Climate Communities offers five tips on how to compete successfully:

  1. Build programs instead of projects: Demonstrate that your community will develop sustainable energy/climate programs that will produce long-term results.
  2. Focus on green job creation: Don't forget that economic stimulus dollars should generate new jobs.
  3. Develop partnerships: Regional efforts will be very competitive for federal funding.
  4. Leverage your funds: Tap multiple sources of federal support for your energy/climate efforts.
  5. Join us in D.C.: Attend the May 18-20 Local Climate Leadership Summit, which will feature workshops to make you aware of the many federal resource opportunities available. Sessions at the Summit will cover the do’s and don'ts of EECBG funding, including the development of an effective energy efficiency and conservation strategy.
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