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Louisville making progress as a green city

Sustain Louisville update cites successes, challenges

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Jun 12, 2014) — From new Energy Star buildings to preparing for the most complete urban heat management plan in the U.S., according to the first-year report on Sustain Louisville, a comprehensive plan that guides Louisville’s environmental progress.

LouisvilleSkyline Moberly Photography“This report shows significant momentum in becoming a truly sustainable city,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “We are integrating sustainability into the daily work and operations of city government, and we are committed to creating a culture of sustainability throughout the community. We are making solid progress, but there’s a lot to be done and we have our sights set on even bigger goals.”

Fischer said significant work is underway on a majority of the initiatives within the six areas that Sustain Louisville covers – energy, environment, transportation, economy, community and engagement. Key initiatives planned for the coming year include providing a sustainability guide to businesses and organizations and a pilot “EcoDistrict” and sustainable neighborhood program.

The Sustain Louisville plan, which was developed with input from the community and released in March, 2013, includes 19 broad goals and 63 initiatives.

Successes noted in the first-year progress report include:

♦ The city launched a new energy savings performance contract that will result in nearly $27 million in energy-efficient upgrades and repairs in city-owned buildings.

♦ The Mayor’s Energy Star Building Challenge was successfully completed with 25 newly certified Energy Star commercial buildings in the community – putting Louisville back on the list of top cities with these buildings.

♦ The city received $135,000 in private grant funding to complete what will be the most comprehensive urban heat island assessment and heat management plan in the country.

♦ Bicycling improvements focused on connecting to and within the Central Business District, with plans to expand throughout the city.

♦ The launching of Move Louisville, a 10-month process to engage the community in creating a long-range strategic multimodal transportation plan.

♦ The city’s Land Development Code was updated to allow community and market gardens in a wide variety of zoning districts, and a $25,000 grant was received to help fund 13 new or expanded community gardens in the Portland and Shawnee neighborhoods.

♦ The city and MSD each allocated $50,000 toward conducting a comprehensive tree canopy assessment which will be completed later this year.

“The purpose of Sustain Louisville is to engage the entire community in improving the environment as well as the health, wellness and prosperity of all citizens,” said Maria Koetter, Louisville Metro Government’s sustainability director. “We’ve made solid progress in launching programs and initiatives, creating strong partnerships, defining the needs and goals – and now we are accelerating forward.”

The U.S. Energy Association on Thursday is presenting Koetter with the annual Energy Leadership Award for Public Service. The award will be presented during the 25th annual Energy Efficiency forum in Washington, D.C.

Koetter, who became Louisville’s first city sustainability director in 2012, was also noted for her work in developing the city’s performance contract with Johnson Controls, which will result in nearly $27 million in upgrades and renovations to improve the energy efficiency of city-owned buildings and facilities throughout the community. The contract is the first of its kind by a city government.