By Kenneth S. Cronin
In 2006, the city of Roanoke declared its strong commitment to be a leader in environmental stewardship and set goals for reducing its energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Roanoke has been moving forward to reduce energy use and GHG in municipal operations ever since. We believe our investment is a prudent use of taxpayers’ money.
The city reduced overall energy consumption by 11 percent between 2005 and 2012 while increasing square footage by 3 percent. Municipal GHG emissions also dropped 15 percent in three years, beating city council’s goal of a 12.5 percent reduction in five years. If these initiatives were not undertaken, energy costs would have been $577,000 higher, and these savings will increase with time as utility rates continue to rise. In addition to greenhouse gas reductions, using less energy reduces other air emissions like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury that have immediate human health and environmental consequences. These are the results. However, it is important to share how these efforts began.
Cronin is the director of General Services/Sustainability for the City of Roanoke. He has been employed by the city for 25 years.