Our cities are hotbeds of innovation and progress when it comes to solving some of the most pressing climate and energy challenges of today. Cities have the ability to convene community leaders and private sector partners to move initiatives that not only significantly reduce carbon pollution, but also capture economic benefits, from cutting utility bills to creating new local jobs in construction, engineering, marketing, and many other professions.
Mayors from ten U.S. cities remind us today of our cities’ leading role in building a healthier, more prosperous America by announcing that their cities will be joining the City Energy Project. A joint initiative of NRDC and the Institute for Market Transformation, the City Energy Project aims to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, which are the largest source of carbon emissions in the U.S. and account for the majority of carbon pollution in our urban centers. The Project's new participating cities include Des Moines, IA; Fort Collins, CO; Miami-Dade County, FL; New Orleans, LA; Pittsburgh, PA; Providence, RI; Reno, NV; San Jose, CA; St. Louis, MO; and St. Paul, MN.
Last year, I announced that the City of Pittsburgh is committed to reducing its energy use, water consumption, and transportation emissions by 50 percent by 2030. Now more than ever, collaboration plays a critical role in helping us achieve these targets.
Mayor William Peduto, City of Pittsburgh, PA
Now compromising 20 cities, the City Energy Project annually could save building owners and tenants more than $1.5 billion and reduce climate pollution by 9.6 million metric tons, equivalent to taking 2 million cars off the road, by 2030. These savings have the potential to drive local economic activity by supporting building energy improvements that can create jobs at all skill levels and freeing up money currently being spent on utility bills to put toward other investments and needs of building owners and tenants. As NRDC’s Director of Urban Solutions Shelley Poticha notes in her blog about the announcement, the City Energy Project’s model also has the potential to build healthier, more prosperous, and more equitable communities in our urban centers with the Project’s growing focus on low-income and other under-served communities that are most impacted by climate change and pollution.
Supported by a partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and The Kresge Foundation, the City Energy Project launched in January 2015 with ten leading US cities: Atanta, GA; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Denver, CO; Houston, TX; Kansas City, MO; Los Angeles, LA; Orlando, FL; Philadelphia, PA; and Salt Lake City.
Our work with the City Energy Project since 2014 has allowed us to expand our commitment to reducing energy and water use citywide and continue to build upon our success in reducing energy water use not just in the City’s central business corridors through initiatives such as the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge, but across our region as a whole.
Mayor Kasim Reed, City of Atlanta, GA
To date, all ten of the Project’s pioneering cities have launched innovative building-focused policies and programs that drive investments in energy efficiency. Six of the 20 City Energy Project cities have enacted energy efficiency policies covering almost 12,000 buildings with more than 2.3 billion square feet of space—the size of Indianapolis. These cities’ initiatives have engaged over 1,600 buildings representing over 270 million square feet of space in City Energy Project-supported challenge programs and will unlock over $1 billion in private sector financing for building owners and tenants to make improvements.
We must reduce energy consumption in our buildings to achieve our goals, and we are proud to partner with City Energy Project to access the technical expertise of both the project’s lead organizations and other communities to make that happen.
City Manager Darin Atteberry, City of Fort Collins, CO
The City Energy Project is excited to work with our participating cities to continue to expand this impact, particularly in small to mid-size real estate markets represented in the new cohort, and provide a road-map for other cities across the country to follow suit as leaders on sustainability and resiliency. Together, we will accelerate strong, local solutions for meeting our nation’s climate goals, driving economic prosperity, and protecting the health of our communities.