The 82nd annual United States Conference of Mayors is underway in Dallas, Texas and Las Vegas, Nevada (NV) Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Gresham, Oregon (OR) Mayor Shane Bemis were awarded the 2014 Mayors’ Climate Protection Awards. The climate protection award is an initiative sponsored by The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and Walmart, and recognizes mayors for innovative programs that increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. An independent panel of judges selected the winners from a pool of applicants.
“Mayor Goodman and Mayor Bemis are changing the energy future of their cities and the nation, showing how local innovation can offer solutions to our growing climate challenges,” said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, president of The U.S. Conference of Mayors. “Mayoral leadership and successful local initiatives are a crucial part of our nation’s arsenal in combating climate-harming emissions.”
Cindi Marsiglio, Walmart’s vice president of U.S. Manufacturing and Sourcing, added, “We are proud to join with the Conference in honoring these cities and their mayors for their leadership in curbing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the quality of life for their citizens,” said “These local initiatives cut energy use, clean the air, reduce emissions, and save money, all of which helps build stronger communities and a stronger economy.
Las Vegas, Nevada won for its net zero initiative in the Large City Category. The City of Las Vegas is challenging itself to become the nation’s first net-zero energy, water, and waste municipality. This net zero initiative has seen the construction of more than 1 million square feet of municipal green buildings. Additionally, more than 80 percent of the city’s 50,000 streetlights have been upgraded to LEDs. The city now has more than 5.25 Megawatts of solar photovoltaic at 30 facilities. These systems have reduced city energy consumption by approximately 15 percent, saving the city more than $1 million dollars annually. Comingled recycling at all city facilities has raised recycling rates to 55 percent, up from 20 percent five years ago. The city has reduced its municipal water consumption by 27 percent since 2008, through turf conversions, xeriscaping, and equipment installations throughout city facilities.
“We are proud of our net zero initiative and the progress we are making,” said Las Vegas Carolyn Goodman. “What is happening here in Las Vegas on energy innovation shouldn’t just stay here. All cities, as well as the nation, can benefit from net zero initiatives.”
Gresham, Oregon was honored for the city’s energy management program to reduce its top energy users in the Small City Category. The City of Gresham implemented an energy management program to aggressively reduce its top energy users as the fastest way to reach the City Council’s energy reduction goals. The wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), which was once the top electricity consumer, will produce 100 percent of its electricity need from onsite renewable power by the end of this year, making it very unique nationally. Electricity is generated through an on-site co-generator; a fats, oils, and grease (FOG) receiving station, and a solar array. All of the city’s 8000+ streetlights, the second highest consumer, are being converted to LED fixtures this year, dramatically reducing electricity use, GHG emissions, and lifecycle costs.
“Our city is honored to be recognized for its energy efforts,” said Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis. “We have ambitious goals and will continue to make big strides to achieve them because, for Gresham, saving energy ultimately means saving money. This work has been a win-win for Gresham and I am excited to continue that trend both for our environment and for our ratepayers.”
In addition to the first place winners, Honorable Mentions were awarded to mayors in five large cities and four small cities for their exceptional achievements in efforts to promote climate protection.