Reno Cuts Energy Costs By $1.5M

Looking for a successful sustainability plan? Five years into a new Green Priority Initiative, Reno is saving more than $1.5M annually in energy costs. Likewise, Madison, WI, has created a public/private quality of life plan to reduce energy while simultaneously improving the health of its citizens. We give you access to their 80-page plan

What Happened?

The City of Reno created an energy efficiency and renewable energy initiative to become energy self-sufficient, save money and create jobs for local residents. By 2012, the city was able to report $1.5 million in total energy savings after five years of perfecting the project.

So What?

The $19 million energy project investment was launched in 2008 under the City Council’s Green Priority initiative. The city implemented solar photovoltaic systems, wind turbines, solar thermal heating systems, lighting retrofits, controls systems and upgrades to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. The project created 279 jobs and was funded through a variety of grants from state and federal programs. Reported savings totaled:

2009: $240,750

2010: $772,907

2011: $1,234,684

2012: $1,543,981

The initiative also offers a Green Energy Dashboard to local businesses and residents looking for in-depth renewable energy information and best practices for upgrading facilities and energy systems.

Madison’s Sustainability Plan

Madison, WI, has also drafted a sustainability plan that aims to encourage energy innovation and social responsibility in the public and private sector. The city hopes to minimize adverse health effects while improving the quality of life and cost efficiency of energy consumption. The project will focus on energy, water and waste; buildings; neighborhoods; transportation; parks and open space; and food systems. The plan includes seven goals:

1.Improve Air Quality:

  • Obtain the American Lung Association’s highest grade for ozone and fine particulate levels by 2016
  • Decrease ozone pollutants to 60 ppb by 2016
  • Eliminate clean action air days by 2020
  • Reduce emissions by 50 percent 2030

2. Improve Groundwater/Drinking Water Quality:

  • Reduce turbidity below 1 nephlelometric turbidity unit in tap water
  • Prevent spread of contamination in city aquifer

3. Improve Surface Water Quality:

  • Reduce total suspended solids in the Yahara watershed by 50 percent by 2020
  • Reduce phosphorous loads to the Rock River watershed
  • Reduce likelihood of algal blooms in the summer from 50 percent to 20 percent by the end of 2013
  • Eliminate beach closings in the city by 2025

4. Improve Storm Water Management:

  • Increase infiltration for commercial and residential developments
  • Manage stormwater discharge, reduce pollution of surface water, reduce erosion, lower dependence on potable water
  • Achieve 40 percent reduction in suspended solids

5. Increase Water Conservation:

  • Reduce per capita water use by 20 percent by 2020
  • Ensure groundwater withdrawal rates remain below replenishment rates
  • Use storm water discharge onsite to reduce dependence on potable water by 2020
  • Retrofit buildings to utilize storm water by 2050

6. Prevent Solid Waste From Entering Landfills:

  • Reduce, reuse, recycle materials to divert 75 percent of waste from landfills to reach zero waste by 2050
  • Recycle 80 percent of construction, demolition and remodeling debris by 2020
  • Comply with all recycling laws
  • Manage an anaerobic digester for organic waste by 2017

7. Restore Natural Habitats:

  • Develop network of natural areas to increase access to parks
  • Preserve urban forests
  • Reduce impact of invasive species
  • Develop conservation plan

Other Energy Strategies

Gov1 has reported on cities investing in alternative energy sources to save money and boost self-sufficiency.