City’s Green Initiatives Result in Green Certification

The city of Richmond is involved in several initiatives to become a greener city by reducing the city’s carbon footprint. The following is a detail of the initiatives the city is currently involved in:

Green Government Challenge

The city of Richmond will receive a green certification award for its participation in the Virginia Municipal League’s 2009 Green Government Challenge during today’s City Council meeting. Michael Amyx, Virginia Municipal League executive director will present the award tonight to Mayor Dwight Jones and members of City Council.

The Green Government Challenge is a competition among local governments to encourage the implementation of specific environmental policies and practical actions that reduce carbon emissions. Local governments earned “green points” by implementing or adopting up to 30 policies and actions divided into 11 categories ranging from energy efficiency and green buildings to land-use and innovation. Richmond earned points for the James River Park Conservation Easement, installing a push button lighting system at Byrd Park, tankless hot water systems at Hotchkiss Community Center, and for implementing an Environmental Management System which reduced the city’s waste water treatment facility’s power consumption.

"I want to thank the city departments that have worked together to help us achieve this green certification and I applaud the leadership of our project manager for this effort, Ms. Alicia Zatcoff," said Mayor Jones. "We will continue to reassess ourselves and to work to earn additional points for new activities under the Green Government Challenge going forward."

City Council Ordinance & Resolution

Also scheduled for today’s City Council Meeting is an ordinance, patron City Councilman Chris Hilbert, to establish a Green City Commission, and a resolution, patron Mayor Jones, to support the city’s membership into the International Council for Local Environmental Initiative (ICLEI) Local Governments for Sustainability. Both the ordinance and resolution will provide points for the city in the Green Government Challenge.

The Green City Commission will consist of two members appointed by Mayor Jones and seven members appointed by City Council. The commission will provide expertise and information to support the sustainability efforts of the city by consulting with the state and other local governments about their sustainability efforts and methods; and recommending changes to the Code of the city of Richmond (including zoning regulations and building codes), the Code of Virginia and other laws as necessary to implement sustainable methods in the city.

By joining ICLEI, the city is furthering its climate protection work that includes LEED facilities and initiatives to reduced energy use. Additionally, the city will adopt ICLEI’s five milestones to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the community. This involves conducting a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and forecast to determine the source and quantity of greenhouse gas emissions in city operations and the community. This work will be completed through the city’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG).

Urban Sustainability Directors Network

On behalf of the city of Richmond, Project Manager Alicia Zatcoff joined 65 sustainability directors from cities and counties in the U.S. and Canada at the first annual Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) gathering in Chicago on September 23 to 25. Funded by the Surdna Foundation, The Home Depot Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Blackstone Ranch Institute, the USDN was formed to enable public sector sustainability leaders to learn from each other and accelerate achievement of municipal sustainability goals.

“We are happy to be a part of this new and dynamic group of sustainability practitioners,” said Mayor Dwight Jones. “Richmond was invited because not only do we have much to impart, but also much to learn, including new ways to save money and develop our local economy while promoting environmental health.”

Topics of discussion included such common issues as energy efficiency retrofits in buildings, green infrastructure, and green workforce development. Participating cities have joined forces to ensure mutual success and sharing of best practices in achieving urban sustainability goals to improve quality of life while solving environmental challenges, achieving cost savings, and promoting inclusive prosperity.

“Being a member of this new group is especially helpful and relevant as Richmond develops its own climate action plan,” said city Project Manager Alicia Zatcoff. “Through this network, Richmond can learn from the efforts of those more advanced in the field of greenhouse gas emissions management such as New York City, Chicago, Toronto, and Portland.”

Contact: Tammy Hawley (804) 646-3110