Did you hear?
In a doozy of announcement last week, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) revealed its top cities for energy saving programs and policies on September 17, and Boston topped the list! Released in ACEEE's new 2013 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard, which ranked 34 of the largest U.S. cities on how they're reducing their carbon footprints, we were in good company, with Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and New York rounding out the top 5.
The ACEEE's scorecard is the first where cities were ranked purely on their energy-efficiency efforts. It examined cities' infrastructure, taking into account buildings, transportation, energy and water utility efforts, local government operations, and community-wide initiatives, with the greatest points being awarded for building and transportation policies.
Within those, what we're most proud of are the four areas that the ACEEE cites as helping us snag the #1 spot (that is, a score of 76.75 out of 100 on the report card):
- Mayor Menino’s 2009 Executive Order and 2011 Climate Action Plan, which set our city operations' and community-wide goals of reducing emissions by 25% by 2020 and 80% by 2050;
- The ways that we've made progress towards those goals, which includes our community engagement through Greenovate Boston and the leaders on the Boston Green Ribbon Commission;
- The City's much-lauded Renew Boston program, which has mastered partnerships with community groups and local utility companies to help residents and small businesses save energy (and money!); and
- The City’s 2013 Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance, which helps improve large buildings' energy management, which will have them rate and report their energy use starting in January 2014.
With cities being home to more than half of the world's population, the Report confirms the fact that local leaders really can play an influential role when it comes to issues like the environment, livability and public health. Why? Because they "directly benefit people where the live, work and play," says Eric Mackres, the ACEEE's local policy manager. And Mayor Menino, among many others, agrees.
"I've always believed that mayors have a responsibility to push the envelope to make sure we are reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for climate change," the Mayor said at the announcement.
But regardless of this top spot, we're not slowing down. Greenovate Boston has already taken steps to educate Bostonians on small actions they can take to help reduce their energy use. We're getting our school kids involved in our city-wide recycling efforts, and we've started the conversation on food waste and compost. There's more in store this year, so always stay connected to us and our partners via this blog, Twitter and Facebook!