Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mayor Jones Launches "Green Richmond Initiative"

As the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day approaches, Mayor Dwight C. Jones brought into focus the city of Richmond's plans for sustainability during a press conference earlier today. Results of the city's first greenhouse gas emissions inventory were presented in conjunction with the announcement of the city's partnership with Earth Aid.

"I want the residents of Richmond to enjoy an improved quality of life, a healthy environment and enhanced economic development and job creation opportunities," said Mayor Jones. "Now that we have the results of our first greenhouse gas emissions inventory, we can move forward with establishing a Sustainability Plan for the city of Richmond."

The greenhouse gas emissions inventory is an assessment of energy use from various sources, like electricity in homes or fuel in cars, and their associated greenhouse gas emissions. The city conducted both a community-wide inventory and a government operations inventory for the city of Richmond. The full report can be found at www.richmondgov.com/sustainability.

Findings show that the largest source of community emissions comes from energy consumption in the commercial and industrial sectors. Emissions from fuel combustion in vehicles traveling on local roads and state highways were the second largest source of emissions, and energy consumption in the residential sector, the third largest. In the city government operations inventory, emissions from city buildings and facilities were the largest source of government emissions, with emissions from city employees commuting to work being the second largest source of emissions.

"Now that we have a baseline of our emissions, the next step is to develop strategies to reduce those emissions," said Mayor Jones. "We will mobilize and engage the community to help us develop a comprehensive Sustainability Plan in 2011, and I am calling our overall effort the Green Richmond Initiative."

The Green Richmond Initiative will involve several components, including:
  • Creation of Green Incentive Zones to draw green and clean technology businesses to Richmond
  • Gap financing to enable developers to build energy efficient homes and commercial structures
  • A community gardens project where vacant and underutilized city parcels can be turned into productive gardens
  • Exploring sustainable transportation options and developing a strategic multi-modal transportation plan
  • A Rewards program through Earth Aid wherein households can track their actual energy and water usage at home and redeem Rewards points for savings
"We welcome our partnership with Earth Aid; it's a great example of the kind of innovative solutions we're bringing to Richmond to support our sustainability efforts," said Mayor Jones. "We are excited that Richmond is one of the first cities to partner with Earth Aid to engage our citizens and the entire community in this cutting-edge program, and I hope residents will eagerly sign up to participate."

Earth Aid (www.earthaid.net/Richmond) helps households track their actual energy and water consumption on the internet and learn how to be more energy efficient. Households earn rewards points each month for saving energy and water and then they can redeem these points for discounts and offers at a variety of local Richmond businesses - 20 as of today and growing. Residents can sign up for the program at www.earthaid.net/Richmond.

Earth Aid will help:
  • Residents save money on their utility bills;
  • Put dollars into our local economy through our local merchants; and
  • Lower our community's carbon footprint.
"I am proud to join with Mayor Jones and other community and business leaders from across Richmond to help area residents save money on their utility bills, support local business, and create a more sustainable Richmond," said Ben Bixby, Co-Founder & CEO of Earth Aid. "It's a great way for residents to go green and save green during this Earth Week and beyond."

Local businesses that have already signed up to offer rewards through the Earth Aid program include:

Restore RVA
For the Love of Pete
Southern Sparkle
Urban Grid Solar
Metro Sound and Music
Green Duck
La Diff
Segway Tours of Richmond
My Closet - Your Treasures
Cafe Gutenberg
Science Museum of Virginia
Lift Coffee
Republic Restaurant and Bar
Bikram Yoga Richmond
Venture Richmond
The Yarn Lounge
Hilton of Richmond
Papa's Pizza
Mis En Place