Evidence for human-caused global warming is overwhelming. Mitigating these effects while also adapting to them are urgent priorities for all communities. The primary cause of Earth’s warming climate is the accumulation of greenhouse gases (“GHG”) from the burning of fossil fuels. Reducing GHG emissions at the local level can play a key role in helping us achieve a zero-carbon economy as quickly as possible. Implementing GHG reductions can also help reduce energy bills, improve air quality, and lower the costs of municipal services.
In 2011 and 2012 the City of Auburn participated in an analysis of GHG production from City operations and in the community as a whole. These baseline reports can be used along with an updated analysis to understand the impact of steps the City has already taken to improve energy efficiency. New analyses can also be used to develop specific plans for further GHG reductions on our way to a zero-carbon future.
Let's clean up
Here are some of the key findings from the baseline GHG inventories. The graph to the right shows that vehicle fleet operation was the highest contributor to GHG production. As the variety and capacity of all-electric vehicles continue to grow, this sector offers a prime opportunity for reducing City GHG emissions. It is important to note that the City has both installed solar photovoltaic panels at the wastewater treatment plant, and taken additional steps to improve efficiency. Thus the current Wastewater Treatment Plant GHG contribution is likely much less!
At the community level, transportation was the largest contributor to GHG production, followed by residential energy use. Finding ways to promote electric vehicle purchase and residential rooftop solar installation could have major impacts here.
GHG Inventory Findings
In an effort to reduce building and fleet emissions, we evaluated two choices for clean power- adding solar shade structures to city properties and switching the city's energy plan to a renewable stream.
We found that switching the city's energy plan to the Green100 Program, offered by Pioneer energy, was an immediate and superior option. We provided the recommendation to the City, and now the switch is underway.
The Green100 program, is a 100% renewable energy option. With the addition of the Green100 rate, Pioneer Energy is the only provider of electricity in our area that offers 100% renewable energy to those who want it. Green100 is a solution for residents dedicated to reducing their carbon footprint. For businesses and municipalities, Green100 may help meet state requirements for carbon reduction and may be used as a component toward achieving LEED certification.