The motto “Think Globally, Act Locally” has inspired people for decades, especially as it relates to the environment. This certainly applies to the bold political action currently happening in cities and states across the country.
At a time when the Federal government is MIA on issues like sustainability and energy efficiency, forward-looking leaders from cities big and small are Acting - showing how to implement smart energy policies and programs.
In New York, for example, both city and state are enacting innovative energy policies. On the state level, Gov. Cuomo recently committed to “a comprehensive and far-reaching energy-efficiency initiative” that emphasize pay-for-performance (P4P) solutions that deliver efficiency-as-a-service to local customers. In New York City, a City Council bill signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio in January makes the city’s energy codes among the nation’s most aggressive. The Mayor’s goal is to cut 80% of the city’s carbon emissions by 2050.
The Mayor of Seattle recently signed two bills that will allow Seattle City Light to offer additional incentives to commercial building owners in exchange for significant energy-saving retrofits to buildings, making it the first city in the nation with an energy efficiency-as-a-service program.
On a smaller scale, in Connecticut, Sustainability CT is an independently funded, grassroots, municipal certification program that recognizes “thriving and resilient Connecticut municipalities.”
Hopefully these local initiatives represent a larger trend that results in more smart energy policies like these, and in the process fosters robust private-public partnerships. If local governments create the right incentives and policy framework for businesses to become more energy efficient, including the use of financing options, local communities – as well as the global community - will reap the rewards.