Louisville — Mayor Greg Fischer proclaimed today Energy Efficiency Day in Louisville, saying the global climate crisis is also a health issue.
“Climate change is a global health crisis, and as we have seen with the COVID-19 pandemic, the people impacted the most are our Black residents and other communities of color. This is true whether we are talking about COVID-19, the effects of climate change or racial injustice,” Fischer said. “By reducing our emissions and energy usage, planting more trees, and cooling our city, we will improve the health outcomes for many of our most vulnerable populations and help ensure that all Louisvillians can have a high quality of life no matter where they live.”
If Louisville takes no action, our city will continue to see hotter days, with a predicted 42 more days each year above 100 degrees in 2040, and more extreme weather events including flooding.
This would result in more respiratory and heart disease cases, an overburdening of healthcare and emergency response systems, mental health issues, vulnerabilities to infrastructure, and rising insurance and energy costs – all of which will disproportionately effect Louisville’s marginalized populations who may already suffer from medical conditions and struggle to pay their utility bills.
The life expectancy for individuals living in historically Black neighborhoods can be up to 12.6 years less than the life expectancy of residents in other neighborhoods. Black Louisvillians also are more than twice as likely to be admitted to the hospital for asthma-related complications, and childhood asthma rates are higher among Black children.
Health issues like those are exacerbated by higher rates of poverty and unequal access to health care. Nearly 22% of Black Louisvillians live in high-poverty neighborhoods, compared the city average of 8.9 percent.
Since adopting the city’s first ever sustainability plan in 2013, Louisville Metro has taken increasing steps to combat climate change impacts locally, including supporting a resolution to transition to a 100% clean energy economy. The 100% Clean Energy Resolution, passed by Louisville Metro Council in February, called for the revision of all building codes for new construction to require energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy applications.
Louisville Metro also has set a goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050, which will require energy efficiency and conservation measures. The city is in the process of hiring an Energy Manager to guide its energy reduction and renewable energy efforts.
Since 2010, the city has realized millions of dollars in energy savings in Metro-owned buildings through two contracts with Johnson Controls, incentivized the installation of over 800,000 square feet of cool roofing materials, and leveraged over $2.3 million in private capital toward energy efficiency and renewable energy projects through Louisville’s EPAD Program.
Residents can help reduce their own energy consumption by turning off lights when they aren’t needed, unplugging devices when they aren’t in use, weatherizing their homes and investing in energy-efficient appliances and building materials. LG&E offers multiple initiatives that allow customers to track and reduce their energy usage, including Marketplace Tool, Advanced Meter Program and Demand Conservation Program. Learn more about these programs at https://lge-ku.com/programs.
On Oct. 15, the Louisville Energy Alliance will celebrate buildings owners and businesses who’ve moved the needle on energy efficiency at Louisville Sustainability Council’s next Green Convene. Buildings in Louisville that have made the most energy efficiency improvements in the last year will receive a Kilowatt Crackdown Award.
The virtual event, which takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., will feature the awards presentation as well as a panel discussion on how energy efficiency is beneficial for our environment and for your business. Register at www.louisvillesustainabilitycouncil.org/green-convene.
Those interested in learning more about the intersectionality of climate change and social justice can also register for the seventh annual Louisville Sustainability Summit on Nov. 14. This year’s event will focus on race, health, and equity in relation to climate change, highlighting women and experts of color. Register at www.louisvillesustainabilitycouncil.org/summit.