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City Declares ‘Net Zero Energy Day’

The City of SLO is doubling down on its mayor’s commitment to fighting climate change declaring the summer solstice (June 20) to be “Net Zero Energy Day,” the city announced in a news release from Greg Hermann, assistant to the city manager.

“Recent events to change federal climate action policies,” Mayor Heidi Harmon said, “will not prevent the City from taking a leadership role on what many people consider the defining issue of our time. I am proud that the City has prioritized taking action to address climate change as one of our major city goals, and that we recognize the positive impacts net zero energy will have on our economy, environment and community.”

The term “net zero energy” “often refers to energy-efficient buildings,” said the City. “Generally speaking, a zero energy building produces enough renewable energy to meet its own annual energy consumption requirements, thereby reducing the use of non-renewable energy in the building sector.”

Mayor Harmon added, “We are committed to cutting carbon omissions to ward off the worst effects of global climate change. The world cannot wait and neither will the City of San Luis Obispo.”

SLO adopted a “Climate Action Plan” in 2012, and claims to have reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 15%.

“This was accomplished,” Hermann said, “through a focus on reducing emissions associated with City operations, including increasing the alternative fuel vehicle fleet, green waste recycling and energy efficient retrofits in City buildings.

“The City has also updated policies and regulations to help reduce community GHG emissions, including new construction energy efficiency standards, water efficient landscapes standards and encouraging alternative transportation.”

In 2015, the City joined the “Compact of Mayors,” which Hermann  said is the world’s largest cooperative effort among mayors and city leaders, to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

“The City is compliant with the compact by 1) having a GHG inventory; 2) working with the County to identify climate hazards/potential adaptation strategies; and 3) adopting a Climate Action Plan in 2012 with emissions reduction targets,” Hermann said.

And now, because of Mayor Harmon’s efforts, and based on “substantial community interest,” the City Council made climate action a major city goal for the next two years.

“To make this major city goal successful, the City allocated full-time staff resources to the effort by creating a sustainability coordinator position and a City Green Team,” Hermann said.

The action plan includes:

• Assessing requirements to achieve a “net-zero carbon city” target (June 2018);

• Feasibility analysis and implementation of Community Choice Energy (CCE) program (June 2018) (The City is involved in the Tri-County CCE effort with Ventura and Santa Barbara and expecting a feasibility report this summer.). The City is involved in an Intra-County CCE effort (City only or City/County) and is expecting a feasibility report this summer;

• Updating the Climate Action Plan by December 2018 to reflect changes in state and regional energy policies;

• Developing enhanced incentive programs to encourage energy efficiency and reduction of GHG emissions in the community.

Readers can find out more about all this online at: www.slocity.org/government/department-directory/community-development/sustainability.

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