City Meets Internal Greenhouse Gas Goals
Seven Years Ahead of Schedule
Contact: Ashley Perl, Canary Initiative Director, City of Aspen, 970-429-1798 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Aspen, Colorado – December 11, 2013 – The City of Aspen government is pleased to announce it is seven years ahead of schedule on significant greenhouse gas reduction goals. A recently completed annual audit of City electricity, natural gas and transportation fuel use shows the City reduced emissions by 30.7 percent between 2004 and 2013, achieving its goal for the year 2020 earlier than expected. Out of the numerous U.S. and international local governments working to achieve this same goal, Aspen is on the leading edge with this accomplishment.
“We are proud to have met our organizational greenhouse gas goal seven years ahead of schedule,” said Ashley Perl, Director of the Canary Initiative. “Overall, it helps contribute to the community wide reduction effort and sets an example for residents and businesses.”
In 2004 the City of Aspen determined a baseline number for its annual emissions associated with City government operations and then committed to reducing them 30 percent by the year 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. These internal goals coincide with the Canary Action Plan’s community wide mission to reduce greenhouse gases by the same percentages.
“This is about defining a vision around environmental stewardship and raising our own performance to a higher standard,” explained Aspen Mayor, Steve Skadron. “Accomplishing greenhouse gas reduction goals is good for our community’s health and Aspen’s economy, and I’m hopeful, will serve as a workable model for other communities”.
The City of Aspen has managed to rapidly decrease its emissions due in large part to the City’s commitment to increased energy efficiency in its buildings. An Energy Performance Contract, which helped make cost effective energy improvements to City buildings, included more efficient lighting, lighting controls, programmable thermostats, and re-commissioning of air handlers and boilers. Other efficiency projects included a heat exchange system at the ARC and the installation of technology which efficiently cools the City’s computer servers. Employees make efficient decisions for numerous types of energy use including choosing to drive the most efficient vehicle, using efficient computer and technology settings, managing building temperatures wisely, and telecommuting, cycling or riding the bus whenever possible. In addition to efficiency measures, renewable energy plays a role in reducing the City’s greenhouse gas emissions. Solar PV panels at the water treatment plant provide about two thirds of the plant’s electricity, and some City buildings converted suppliers to Aspen Electric, a more renewable energy provider.
“Aspen Electric’s power supply is currently 75 percent renewable, so switching some of our facilities from Holy Cross’ service, which includes 12 percent renewable energy, made a big impact on the overall greenhouse gas emissions of our operations as well,” said Jeff Rice, Utility Efficiency Manager.
Many of the City government’s successes in reducing greenhouse gases can be used as an example for residents and businesses. For the average Aspen homeowner or business, most greenhouse gases originate from vehicle, electricity, and natural gas use. Much of the work throughout the community is accomplished in partnership with other environmental organizations such as the Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE).
“It is clear that the City of Aspen is leading the way in embracing energy efficiency and renewable energy. When so many parts of the U.S. are falling behind with no carbon reduction plan, meeting emissions reduction targets seven years early is truly laudable and profound. Saving energy isn’t only smart for the planet but it is an especially astute strategy for local governments to save money,” explains Mona Newton, the Executive Director of CORE.
The next step for City employees is to continue along their workplace greenhouse gas reduction track, preparing for the year 2050 when the City aims to reduce emissions by 80 percent. In addition, City employees will focus on helping the community reduce its environmental footprint. Since the 2004 baseline, the Aspen community emissions have decreased six percent. To reach the next 24 percent reduction by the year 2020, the Aspen community will need to reduce 22,117 tons of CO2 per year, which is the equivalent of taking 25,074 cars off the road over the next six years.
For more information on the Canary’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the entire community, 30 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050, get tips on reduction strategies and prepare Aspen for a changing climate, visit www.canaryinitiative.com.