Written By: Natalie Baer
Mayors from ten of the United States’ largest cities have pledged to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their buildings by an amount equivalent to the emissions released by 1.5 million cars a year.
The City Energy Project, backed by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Institute for Marketing Transformation, aims to curb both carbon-dioxide pollution and energy waste associated with commercial and industrial buildings. Altogether, ten United States’ cities have agreed to participate in the project: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Orlando, Philadelphia, and Salt Lake City.
Commercial and industrial buildings contribute approximately 40% of the United Sates’ greenhouse gas emissions, a figure that increases to 75% in cities. Residents of the cities will also benefit from the new project, as energy efficiency measures will improve the cities’ air quality, create jobs, and reduce energy bills.
Up to $9 million in private funding will be allocated to each of the participating cities in order to produce individualized energy efficiency action plans. As a result, the project could save the cities a combined $1 billion annually.
Examples of ideas included in the project are “cool roofs” in Los Angeles—roofs that reflect sunlight as part of an effort to save energy—and new laws in Chicago and Philadelphia that require buildings to measure how much energy they are using.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the cities’ reductions in energy pollution would be equivalent to taking more than 1.5 million cars off the road, or the closure of four power plants every year.