Reducing Carbon Footprint
Addressing climate challenges entails both mitigating the underlying drivers of increased Green House Gas, and adapting to warmer temperatures, sea level rise, variable precipitation and their multiple and interrelated impacts, including, flooding, drought, salt water intrusion, habitat migration and many others. While reducing, or at the least maintain the amount of CO2 and other GHG in the atmosphere to current levels is fundamental to preventing calamitous environmental changes, even if all global societies dramatically curtailed or stopped emitting GHG today, the latent effects, as oceans temperature catch up with the atmosphere would result in a 1.1F temperature rise in the coming decades. Thus there is the imperative to mitigate GHG, but also plan and adapt for impacts.
The City of Delray Beach is committed to doing its part to reduced GHG emissions. In 2017, Delray Beach joined the Climate Mayors’ pledge to uphold the tenets of the Paris Climate agreement, and supported the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 Campaign for a transition to 100% clean and renewable energy. To help us meet these goals, Delray Beach will be engaging in a Green House Gas Inventory, to better assess how much emission can be attributed to our community and our city’s operations. We estimate that regionally, South Florida generated approximate 64,917,000 Metric Tons of CO2 in 2018, the greatest amount stemming from the Transportation sector.
Completing a City-wide GHG for Delray Beach inventory will tell us which economic sectors and activities can yield us the greatest emission reductions. Look for the results here in the coming months. Meanwhile, The City’s Sustainability Officer works with multiple city departments and the public to implement projects and educate residents, as well as staff on sustainability practices. In terms of energy conservation, efficiency and production, our city is striving for a greener and more sustainable future all the time, through improvements to our transportation infrastructure, aggressive management our water supply and waste water, expansion of our recycling effort, and simply planting more trees that sequester carbon.
The City of Delray Beach aims to help residents and business reduce energy consumption through programs that create awareness of energy conservation, as well as programs that encourage retrofitting of homes and commercial buildings and generation of solar energy. The City is seeking to lead by example, making improvements to older HVAC systems in city buildings, providing five free public electric vehicle charging stations at City Hall and the Banker Row parking lot, and slowly transitioning its car fleet to clean power. Delray Beach presently owns two electric vehicles and 6 Hybrid vehicles. A study is underway to assess the viability of an electric-powered trolley or point to point transportation system. Residents are encouraged to conserve energy through small changes to everyday living. We encourage households to change all light bulbs to LED bulbs, which can provide an 80% savings in electric consumption. Consider maximizing indirect daylight when possible, but shading direct sunlight which heat rooms and air conditioning systems work harder. When replacing appliances, always look for the Energy Star certified products. Other energy saving tips can be found at https://www.energystar.gov/products/energy_star_home_tips
In 2017, the City entered into Interlocal agreements with four providers of PACE – Property Assessed Clean Energy. PACE is a novel financing program aimed at helping property owners make energy-related or resiliency-related improvements to their property. In summary, the PACE program allows property owners to obtain financing for specific types of energy saving or wind-mitigating improvements to commercial and residential property. The financing and associated administration costs are repaid through a non-ad valorem special assessment that is added to the individual property tax bill. The duration of the financing is based on the life-cycle of the improvement made. So, items like a new roof or windows, which have a long life-cycle can be financed over 15- to 20 years, while water heaters or air conditioning systems are financed over a shorter period of time. The program is completely voluntary but allows interested property owners to finance solar-energy systems or upgrade air conditioning, water heaters, windows, even shutters without taking out a home-equity line or personal lines of credit.
In October 2017 Delray Beach received a Bronze designation from the national SolSmart program for making it faster, easier, and more affordable for homes and businesses to go solar. This designation recognizes Delray Beach for taking bold steps to encourage solar energy growth and remove obstacles to solar development, including training the building permitting staff, ensuring that solar is not precluded in any zoning district, and providing education on the cost and benefits of installing solar arrays.
For additional information on solar energy, you can visit – http://www.mydelraybeach.com/transparency/solar_energy.php
Reducing Transportation Emissions
- Bike/ Ped improvements,
- Greener City Fleet, and hopefully greener trolley & transit,
- EV Chargers
Greener Open Spaces/Land Use
A Greener Delray –
Maintaining and improving the City’s Tree Canopy is an important way to mitigate climate change. Trees absorb and sequester atmospheric CO2 through the processes of respiration and photosynthesis, releasing oxygen as a byproduct. By preserving forested areas 02
Ways to address the underlying problem of GHG emissions
- We call these actions Sustainability – and we are planning a Climate Action Plans
- We do a baseline study, a Greenhouse Gas Inventory to understand what we emit and develop a strategy to tackle that.
- We set targets for reduction in GHG and plan projects that reduce it.
- Energy efficiency
- Energy conservation
- Renewable energy production
- Recycling and reduction in wasteful consumption
- Tree planting and sequestration
Ways to address climate impacts – Engineers, Planners etc
- Infrastructure improvements –, valves, seawalls etc
- Storm water management – retention ponds and recharge.
- Dune and Beach protection
- Relocation or elevation of structures – freeboard and moving houses etc