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Cities Pledge Carbon Emissions Cuts from Buildings

From Environmental Leader, Published 30 January 2014

Mayors from 10 major US cities pledged to boost the energy efficiency in their buildings as part of an initiative to cut a combined 5 to 7 million tons of carbon emissions annually.

The total annual emissions reduction goal is equivalent to the amount of electricity used by 700,000 to nearly 1 million American homes each year, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. If successful, the 10 participating cities will lower energy bills by nearly $1 billion annually.

The cities are Atlanta, BostonChicagoDenver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Orlando, Philadelphia  and Salt Lake City.

The cities will pursue the goal under the City Energy Project, an initiative from the NRDC and the Institute for Market Transformation designed to create healthier, more prosperous cities by targeting buildings, their largest source of energy use and climate pollution.

Each city will develop its own locally tailored plan to advance energy efficiency and reduce waste in large buildings. CEP will offer its energy expertise to guide cities through the plan, design and implementation phases of the initiative.

CEP says the energy efficiency solutions will promote efficient building operations, encourage private investment, promote transparency and push cities to focus on municipal buildings.

Buildings are the largest single source of US carbon emissions, representing 40 percent nationwide, largely due to their electricity consumption, NRDC says. At the city level, more than half of carbon emissions from buildings. In some cities, as much as 75 percent come from buildings.

New York has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions 19 percent since 2005 as part of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg"s PlaNYC strategy, which called on the city to reduce emissions 30 percent by 2030 through 132 initiatives including making municipal buildings more energy efficient.

The CEP initiative will be funded by a partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Kresge Foundation.