Some groundwork to date has been the development of an employee Green Team which focuses on greening city government operations and an amendment to the City’s Comprehensive Plan. The added Sustainability Chapter helps to guide the realization of sustainability within the community.
In July 2012, the City became a signatory member of the State’s Green Tier Legacy Communities program. This program recognizes municipalities that are achieving superior environmental performance. The City of Eau Claire is a Tree City USA and has been for the past 32 years. The City is also an “Energy Independent Community” aspiring to achieve 25% renewable energy by the year 2025.
Here are some of the highlights of what we have been able to achieve so far:
- Receive over 18% of electricity generated from renewable energy sources which helps towards meeting our 25% by 2025 goal
- Studying a possible 3.5 MW solar array on a closed city landfill
- Multi-million dollar upgrade to sewer plant will increase methane reuse by approximately 30%
- Use geothermal energy at the City’s water treatment plant
- Use EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager and GX Billing to monitor/reduce building energy usage
- City’s 2011 carbon footprint for municipal operations was 28,514 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent
- Created an Anti-idling emission city vehicle policy and use GPS to improve fleet routings
- Secured three hybrid buses and will be testing CNG in fleet vehicles soon
- Created a bicycle and pedestrian community master plan in 2010 and now require bike rack parking for all new developments
- Remodeled Hobbs Ice Arena to meet green building standards
- Created the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy
- Saved taxpayers over $10 million in four years on healthcare costs by implementing employee health and wellness programs
- Interdepartmental green team has been working on projects since 2008 and has trained many city employees on the importance of sustainability
- Secured close to $770,000 worth of grants related to various sustainability projects
- City was one of the first certified members of the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce’s Green Business Initiative
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Great news from Eau Claire!
The council voted unanimously on a resolution, committing the city to reducing carbon emissions in increments, with the goal of being carbon neutral by 2050. The resolution also calls for 100 percent renewable energy use by 2050. Watch and read more here.