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Understanding the City’s Sustainability Program


Flagstaff's Green Builder 

The  City of Flagstaff operates a Sustainability Program to promote sustainable living and provide practical solutions through program and policy development for municipal operations and the Flagstaff community. Initiated in 2007, the program focuses on developing and implementing community-wide sustainability and climate management initiatives that make sense for Flagstaff’s economy, community and environment. The program’s guiding principles focus on policy and stewardship, community cooperation and awareness, and an appreciation of the interrelationship between the economy, environment and community.

The City of Flagstaff Municipal Sustainability Plan considers sustainability through four lenses:

Waste Prevention – Promotes the decrease of waste generation, improves mate- rial efficiency, and increases the reuse of products and materials in the waste stream.

Resource Conservation – Promotes the wise use of natural resources and decrease consumption rates of the community’s limited resources.

Climate Adaptation and Management – Promotes effective and comprehensive solutions for addressing the changing climate.

Quality of Life – Promotes community potential that enhances Flagstaff’s standard of living.

The city’s sustainability department runs several different programs that provide opportunities for the community and local businesses to save on energy.

Residential Energy Efficiency Retrofits

The program secured $587,100 in Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding to provide residential energy efficiency retrofits over three years. The retrofits will reduce energy and water consumption in the residential sector, create a local green collar workforce in the Flagstaff community, reduce  greenhouse gas emission and save community members money. The retrofits are available to city residents that meet program eligibility requirements. A fee for service is based on household income; but income is not an eligibility requirement. Participants are expected to experience a 10 to 20 percent improvement in the energy efficiency of their home. Hope Construction has completed over 80 retrofits and is helping the community save energy & live more comfortably. For more information or for an application, call Lucy Huffman, the sustainability assistant, at 928-213-3608.

LED Holiday Light Swap

To help reduce energy consumption during the holiday season, the Flagstaff Sustainability Program partnered with HomCo ACE for a second year to provide energy efficient holiday lights at a discounted price to community members. Nearly 900 boxes of light emitting diode (LED) holiday lights were distributed

to the community. As part of the swap more than 112,500 traditional inefficient holiday lights were “swapped out” for the more efficient lights. The estimated energy savings is more than 7,000 kWh per month, eliminating more than five metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. The two-year-old program is saving participating Flagstaff residents collectively over $1,000 in electricity per month of use.

Sustainable Business Guide

The Sustainable Business Guide was created to help local businesses become more sustain- able. The guidebook contains several specific actions that businesses can take to become more sustainable and highlights examples of steps that local businesses have already taken. The guide is planned to be part of an overall sustainable business initiative, which will involve collaborations with Coconino County Sustainable Economic Development Initiative and Northern Arizona University’s Net Impact chapter. Implementation will begin in fiscal year 2010-2011.

Community Outreach & Education

The Sustainability Program also focuses on community events, outreach, and education. The city partnered with Coconino County’s Sustainability Program and Willow Bend Environmental Education Center to put on the Solar and Wind Energy Tour. The tour included more than 100 community participants and featured 11 sites from Bellemont to Doney Park. Another event that has been a great success is Earth Day. Flagstaff Sustainability Program staff collaborated with the Sustainability Commission and Earth Day planning committee to organize Earth Day 2010. This year attracted over 1,800 community members and more than 80 exhibitors.

In fiscal year 2009-2010, combined Residential Energy Efficiency Programming is projected to result in approximately 3.58 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy saved in the Flagstaff community and 3.08 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions from being released into the atmosphere. It can be hard to imagine making a difference in a world-wide dilemma when you think in terms of one person, or one household; however, when we think in terms of our greater community, and we continue to push our leaders to make the right choices, we can truly make a global difference from right here in Flagstaff. FBN

David Carpenter is the owner of Hope Construction, a general contracting and construction management firm with an emphasis on sustainable building. He can be reached at 928-527-3159.

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