Green Actions Of U.S. Communities Surveyed
- Most local governments consider the environment and energy conservation key priorities: A full 70% of respondents called “energy conservation” a “priority” (46%) or a “high priority” (24%). Similarly, nearly two-thirds of local government respondents (62%), consider the “environment” a priority, including 21% of respondents calling it a “high priority.”
- While governments are conscious of the need for sustainability, specific plans are slower to take hold: When asked what specific planning actions related to sustainability and energy conservation they had taken, only 29% had adopted a resolution outlining specific policy goals — and that was the most popular response. Additionally, most localities had yet to assign dedicated staff to sustainability efforts (27% had), establish specific benchmarks related to sustainability(19%), established or appointed a task force (28%), or provided a budget specifically for their efforts (16%).
- Actions to limit greenhouse gases are not widespread — except for tree planting: While 45% of localities have a plan for tree preservation and planting, only 14% had established greenhouse gas limits for the local government, less than 10% for the community-at-large, and only about 3% for local businesses.
- Localities show progress embracing energy conservation actions in and out of government: A majority (63%) of localities had conducted energy audits of government buildings, and 56% had upgraded or retrofitted office lighting, and 44% had increased the purchase of fuel efficient government vehicles. Meanwhile, few localities (6%) reported the establishment of public/private partnerships to establish energy reduction measures in local small businesses.
- Actions to improve and protect water are more advanced, but still not widespread: 34% of localities had taken actions to conserve the quantity of water from aquifers, 33% had adopted a water price structure to encourage conservation, 30% had set limits on impervious surfaces on private property, and 28% had provided other incentives to encourage local water conservation behavior.
- Approximately one in 10 localities require LEED or ENERGY STAR certification for all new government construction. Close to 8% require LEED or ENERGY STAR certification for all retrofit government projects.
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