Local & Community Initiatives
This holiday season, New Orleans residents have cause for celebration as they receive an unexpected holiday gift: a new focus on energy efficiency savings.
Cities are responsible for the majority of energy consumption, and local governments can play a critical role in addressing energy and environmental challenges. So, cities have a real opportunity to lead by pushing for ambitious policies to reduce energy waste in their own backyard. New Orleans’ city council did just that with some recent legislation.
The 2015 City Scorecard ranks 51 large US cities across five policy areas on their policies and efforts to save energy. Its focus on policies and other initiatives is meant to identify and highlight important actions cities can take to become more efficient. In the process, it offers the beginnings of an efficiency roadmap for any city that wants to save more energy.
Making sure cities are resilient to a broad array of challenges has become a core concern for anyone involved in urban planning.
Each step of a home improvement project requires the right tool. If you are planning to put up a new set of cabinets, for example, the first step requires measuring tape, assembly of the cabinets may require a drill, and then, finally, a hammer would be needed to actually mount them. A variety of tools—the right tools—are needed to complete the task.
This is a busy time of year in competitive sports. Top teams in the NBA (including our hometown Wizards) and NHL are competing for the Larry O’Brien Trophy and Stanley Cup. American Pharaoh just won the Kentucky Derby last week, and Chelsea took the Premier League title. But don’t forget about another friendly competition—the one for most energy-efficient city in the 2015 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard! There are only five days to go until the results are released on Wednesday May 20.
Energy efficiency and community resilience: making the connection to keep the lights on and our homes warm
Communities face a growing number of stresses that pose risks to their energy systems and economies. These include aging infrastructure in need of costly maintenance upgrades and severe weather events. Energy efficiency is a strategy—albeit not a broadly recognized one—to enhance the resilience of energy systems and the communities they serve.
I start thinking about my New Year’s resolution earlier than most. I like to think ahead and know what I’m getting into before committing. This year I could go to the gym more, eat fewer hamburgers, or do more traveling. OK, let’s start with just one thing. Maybe I’ll try to travel more. But how do I set the perfect goal for me? Where do I even start?
Thanks to my organization’s work on community energy planning, I know I can use the SMART goal-setting framework to wrap my head around my plans.
Whenever I go to trivia night, I am amazed by the little factoids I know nothing about. Baseball or Seinfeld trivia, I have that down. Knowing the name of the township in New Jersey, of Algonquian language origin, where Aaron Burr mortally wounded Alexander Hamilton in a duel? Not so much. (It’s Weehawken, by the way.) Even for those of us in the energy efficiency world, there’s always more to learn about efficiency-related programs and policies that have been implemented by states and cities.
This summer was a scorcher. Heat waves repeatedly struck the Midwest and South, sparing only sections of the Northeast. All of California is still in a drought. Cities were especially hot due to their concentration of buildings and human activity, a phenomenon called the urban heat island effect. At times, it may have felt impossible to beat the heat.
After work, to unwind, I like to turn on the TV. There is just something about watching people escape from zombies or write 1960s advertising slogans that takes my mind off my day’s work. After I’m all caught up on the soapy cable dramas, though, I get myself into trouble. That’s when I inevitably wind up on reality TV. When I watch a sea of fawning bachelors courting a lone bachelorette, or a young heiress making her way in the business world, it bothers me that these shows fail to truly portray reality. And then I start thinking about work again.