The biggest little city is making good on its nickname and showing some big leadership, as the City of Reno held its first annual Green Building Awards celebrating the accomplishments of local leaders in building energy efficiency. Nearly a hundred community and building representatives attended the May 8th event at the Grove, a local LEED Certified events center.
The event commended the many contributions of local building teams and organizations who are taking action on energy efficiency. Local support was strong and diverse, with sponsors ranging from Renown Health to Nevada Governor’s Office of Energy to GAIA Development (a full list is available here). Award recipients included four organizations that have invested in green and high-efficiency buildings: the Glenn Group, Harrah’s Reno Hotel and Casino, the University of Nevada, and the Veterans Administration Hospital. Reno also recognized two notable ENERGY STAR certified buildings, a JC Penney’s Logistics Center and Silver Lake Apartments – both of which had recorded significantly lower energy consumption than their peers across the nation. In addition, the City lauded eleven leaders in ReEnergize Reno, the city’s ambitious energy efficiency challenge program. Through the program, launched in October of last year, commercial, industrial, and multifamily buildings have committed to cut their energy consumption 20% by 2025.
Speakers at the event stressed the vital role that buildings will play in tackling climate change and mitigating its local impacts. Reno is the nation’s fastest warming city, and, as in most other major U.S. cities, addressing building energy consumption is one of the largest opportunities to reduce its climate pollution emissions. They noted that Reno’s commercial and industrial buildings are responsible for over a third of community-wide greenhouse gas emissions. “That’s why it’s so important that you’re here tonight to help celebrate a few of your peers and colleagues that are taking on the climate challenge by joining ReEnergize Reno or developing green buildings.” Reno’s City Manager, Sabra Newby, told the audience.
The event highlighted accomplishments across a range of building types and purposes, and in both the public and private sectors. The City itself has joined ReEnergize Reno challenge, committing to energy and water reductions across 55 of its municipal facilities that represent over half a million square feet of building space. In addition, Councilmember David Bobzien commended private buildings for demonstrating leadership in efficiency investments. “Commercial building owners are changing the status quo by demonstrating that energy efficiency is not only a smart investment that more than pays for itself,” he told event attendees. “It also demonstrates leadership and shows that companies value the health and quality of life for their workers and the cities where they operate.”
The building leaders at the event provide a stellar example of the practicality and feasibility of energy and water efficiency measures. In doing so, they have also demonstrated the tremendous value of energy efficiency for multifamily housing, the hospitality industry, in health care, and as a form of simple and effective cost management. And, through the Green Building Awards and ReEnergize Reno, by becoming a 3-STAR Certified Community, joining the City Energy Project to promote energy efficiency in large buildings, and releasing its first sustainability report that details the progress already made, the City is demonstrating its own commitment to improving the health and well-being of its people. The Green Building Awards celebrate the champions of building efficiency and the savings and innovation that they bring to the community. The Awards also highlight how Reno’s market leaders are taking advantage of efficiencies that benefit everyone by contributing to climate change and sustainability goals.