Despite Lagging Economy, U.S. Mayors Still Find Ways to Advance Energy, Sustainability

BALTIMORE, June 17, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Despite challenging economic conditions, a landmark survey of nearly 400 mayors in all 50 states has found that energy and sustainability efforts have maintained momentum within cities.  The study, prepared for The U.S. Conference of Mayors and sponsored by Siemens, was based on survey research conducted from April to May, 2011, by the international research consultancy GlobeScan.

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Among its key findings, the survey noted:

  • Three in four cities expect their use of clean energy technologies to increase over the next five years.
  • LED/efficient lighting, low-energy building technologies and solar electricity generation are the top three "most promising" technologies for reducing energy use and carbon emissions.
  • Mayors are looking to the economic benefits of these clean energy solutions as drivers of their energy strategies.
  • For one in three cities, adapting to climate change is already an element of their capital planning or capital improvement programs.
  • One-quarter of all cities have already set targets for the use of renewable energy.

According to the study, acknowledging financial restraints, cities are taking full advantage of available federal resources and looking to partner more with the private sector, among others, to continue their energy drives.  The full survey report, Clean Energy Solutions for America's Cities, is now available at: usmayors.org/cleanenergy.

"The overwhelming response to this survey – 396 mayors in all 50 states, representing about 74 million people – underscores the strong commitment of the nation's mayors to clean energy technologies and energy efficiency solutions," said Conference President Burnsville (MN) Mayor Elizabeth B. Kautz. "Mayors are acting on these commitments, which also support our nation's greater goals on energy independence and security," she explained.

"As a company that provides many of today's technology solutions for cities, we're pleased how cities are embracing the many economic benefits of sustainable technologies," said Daryl Dulaney, president and CEO of Siemens Industry, Inc. "Our next challenge is to help cities come up with financing solutions that have minimal budget impact and keep cities on track with their sustainability goals using proven technologies."

"LED and other efficient lighting sources are the technology of choice for cities aiming to reduce future energy use and climate-harming emissions," said Conference Vice President Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa. "We know from our experience in Los Angeles that LED streetlights are the way of the future and having a tremendous impact globally. They save money, protect the environment, and create jobs." The City of Los Angeles is now replacing 140,000 existing streetlight fixtures with LED units in order to save energy by a minimum of 40%, reducing carbon emissions by approximately 40,500 tons per year.

Conference Second Vice President Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, whose home to the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy-Efficient Buildings said, "Making our buildings more energy efficient through the use of new technologies is a clear priority for the nation's mayors. It is something we can do today, paying dividends to all us well in the future."  

"The key drivers behind much of this activity are, not surprisingly, economic:  to attract new businesses and jobs, reduce energy costs, and more generally, develop a greener economy," said Tom Cochran, the Conference's CEO and Executive Director. "Mayors credit energy block grants (EECBG funds) delivering federal resources directly to cities as crucial to the expanded investment partnership between businesses and cities on clean energy technologies and energy efficiency."

Rob Kerr, Vice President of GlobeScan, which conducted the survey, said, "The survey reaffirms trends that we're seeing in different countries around the world - that cities are taking the practical lead in pushing national sustainability objectives by actually deploying the technologies today. Sustainability efforts are not going to just go away in tough economic times."

About The U.S. Conference of Mayors:  The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more.  There are 1,210 such cities in the country today, each represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the Mayor. Find us on facebook.com/usmayors, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/usmayors (www.usmayors.org).

SOURCE The U.S. Conference of Mayors




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