The city of Flagstaff and Northern Arizona University are continuing their march toward increasing their use of renewable energy and reducing their carbon footprints, despite President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement.
City of Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans took to Facebook with her own response to Trump’s decision.
“Here in the City of Flagstaff one of our council goals for the 2017-2019 term is Climate Change (take meaningful climate change action). Regardless of what is happening at the national level here in the City of Flagstaff we will continue to seek fulfillment of that stated, council-adopted goal,” Evans posted last week.
The council sent a letter earlier in the year urging the president to remain part of the climate pact.
Spurred by council’s goal, city staff are in the beginning stages of creating a community-wide climate action plan, said Nicole Woodman, the city’s sustainability manager.
The plan will go beyond the city’s own facilities and operations to include actions and goals that involve participation from citizens themselves, Woodman said.
The city will do extensive public outreach to create the plan starting this fall. Woodman said the general elements will include targets for reduced carbon emissions and strategies to obtain those goals that consider equity and implementation costs as well as the costs of not implementing a certain strategy.
Community action toolkits will help with implementation, she said.
Other cities across the country including Salt Lake City and Fort Collins, Colorado, have implemented successful climate action plans, Woodman said.
At NAU, the university plans to continue to look at potential renewable energy projects.
“While we are not tied to any specific program or agreement, NAU has integrated energy efficiencies and reuse products in its capital planning and construction,” said spokesperson Kim Ott. “Opportunities are evaluated project by project. The most recent project was rooftop solar installation in partnership with APS, Ameresco, and the Green Fund authorized by NAU students.”
That project is expected to generate enough renewable energy to power the equivalent of about 100 homes every year and save the university $1 million in electricity costs over the 25-year life cycle of the solar panels.
“That’s approximately 1.2 percent of our projected campus electric consumption in a year,” Ott said.
The university is also investing in highly efficient buildings, encouraging staff and students to recycle and reuse and reduce water and energy consumption, she said.
The Applied Research and Development Building and the new Aquatic and Tennis Complex are two examples of high energy efficient buildings on campus. According to the Green NAU blog, the Aquatic and Tennis Complex recently earned an LEED Gold certification. The building was designed to save 41 percent on energy use and 35 percent on utility costs for a total annual savings of $169,800. The building also incorporates recycled materials, native landscaping to save water and water efficient fixtures.
“All with the goal to reduce the impact our operations have on our environment and to maximize efficient use of our financial resources,” Ott said.