'Sustainable Providence’ Plan Includes Community Workforce Agreements on Projects to Reduce Energy Use in City Buildings
EC Providence Director Served on Plan’s Energy Task Force
Sustainable Providence, the city's first sustainability action plan, says community workforce agreements should be part of all deep energy rerofit projects, in order to maximize job opportunities for residents and promote local economic growth – aims that are closely tied to the plan’s energy efficiency goals. The deep retrofits will help cut energy use in city buildings by at least 30 percent by 2030.
EC Providence Director Brigid Ryan served on the task force that helped draft the plan’s energy goals. In addition to energy, the plan, based on Mayor Angel Taveras’s environmental sustainability goals in six key areas, covers waste, food, transportation, water and land use and development. Sustainability strategies include expanding composting and urban agriculture programs, improving public transportation and supporting healthy food consumption.
Community Engagement Key
In announcing the sustainability goals in connection with Earth Day 2013, Taveras said a community engagement process would help develp strategies to carry out the plan. Subsequently, the city’s Office of Sustainability, led by its first director, Sheila Dormody – who is a member of the EC Providence Local Council – and its Environmental Sustainability Task Force coordinated input from dozens of community leaders and city employees in developing the plan.
The energy goal encompasses:
- Achieving a minimum 30 percent energy use reduction in all city-owned properties by 2030;
- Expanding renewable energy and clean energy projects; and
- Implementing energy-reduction policies and practices citywide through promotion and project development.
These high-priority actions will help achieve the energy goal:
- Auditing city-owned buildings to identify energy efficiency opportunities;
- Converting street lights to energy-efficient technology;
- Engaging city employees in achieving energy conservation goals;
- Identifying all programs available to Providence property owners and establishing a baseline of program utilization;
- Promoting participation in energy-reduction programs available to Providence property owners; and
- Completing a renewable energy feasibility study of city property.
Energy Savings Since 2010
Since 2010, Providence has completed lighting retrofits, gas conversions and other energy efficiency measures at 24 of its 41 school buildings and 30 other city-owned and -operated buildings, the plan says. As a result, the city’s total energy use for electricity, oil and gas in FY 2012 was down 15 percent from the previous three-year average. The lighting retrofits in school buildings saved an average of $231,000 a year and significantly reduced carbon pollution.
The plan says Providence residents can sign up for free energy audits to learn about incentives for energy-efficient appliances, lighting and insulation to help them reduce their energy use and home energy bills.
According to the Office of Sustainability web page, “Implementing this plan will help build a resilient and sustainable future for Providence as we protect our environment, rebuild our economy and strengthen our community.”