DALLAS, June 20, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis are the nation's top winners in the 2014 Mayors' Climate Protection Awards, an initiative sponsored by The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and Walmart. The winners were announced today during the Mayors' Climate Protection Awards luncheon, which was held in conjunction with USCM's 82nd Annual Meeting.
The annual awards program, now in its eighth year, recognizes mayors for innovative programs that increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. An independent panel of judges selected the winners from a pool of applicants.
"Mayor Goodman and Mayor Bemis are changing the energy future of their cities and the nation, showing how local innovation can offer solutions to our growing climate challenges," said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, President of The U.S. Conference of Mayors. "Mayoral leadership and successful local initiatives are a crucial part of our nation's arsenal in combating climate-harming emissions."
"We are proud to join with the Conference in honoring these cities and their mayors for their leadership in curbing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the quality of life for their citizens," said Cindi Marsiglio, Walmart's Vice President of U.S. Manufacturing and Sourcing. "These local initiatives cut energy use, clean the air, reduce emissions, and save money, all of which helps build stronger communities and a stronger economy.
"We are proud of our net zero initiative and the progress we are making," said Las Vegas Carolyn Goodman. "What is happening here in Las Vegas on energy innovation shouldn't just stay here. All cities, as well as the nation, can benefit from net zero initiatives."
"Our city is honored to be recognized for its energy efforts," said Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis. "We have ambitious goals and will continue to make big strides to achieve them because, for Gresham, saving energy ultimately means saving money. This work has been a win-win for Gresham and I am excited to continue that trend both for our environment and for our ratepayers."
"Since 1970 when the mayors of this nation supported the first Earth Day, mayors have been leading the world in showing how to confront our climate challenges," said Conference of Mayors CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran. "Our nation's cities could do so much more if other governmental leaders could simply agree that supporting mayors and their efforts is a bipartisan option for addressing the energy and climate challenges before all of us."
First Place Winners
- Las Vegas, NV Mayor Carolyn Goodman for its net zero initiative (Large City Category – population over 100,000)
The City of Las Vegas is challenging itself to become the nation's first net-zero energy, water, and waste municipality. This net zero initiative has seen the construction of more than 1 million square feet of municipal green buildings. Additionally, more than 80 percent of the city's 50,000 streetlights have been upgraded to LEDs. The city now has more than 5.25 Megawatts of solar photovoltaic at 30 facilities. These systems have reduced city energy consumption by approximately 15 percent, saving the city more than $1 million dollars annually. Comingled recycling at all city facilities has raised recycling rates to 55 percent, up from 20 percent five years ago. The city has reduced its municipal water consumption by 27 percent since 2008, through turf conversions, xeriscaping, and equipment installations throughout city facilities.
- Gresham, OR Mayor Shane Bemis for his city energy management program to reduce its top energy users (Small City Category – population under 100,000)
The City of Gresham implemented an energy management program to aggressively reduce its top energy users as the fastest way to reach the City Council's energy reduction goals. The wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), which was once the top electricity consumer, will produce 100 percent of its electricity need from onsite renewable power by the end of this year, making it very unique nationally. Electricity is generated through an on-site co-generator; a fats, oils, and grease (FOG) receiving station, and a solar array. All of the city's 8000+ streetlights, the second highest consumer, are being converted to LED fixtures this year, dramatically reducing electricity use, GHG emissions, and lifecycle costs.
In addition to the first place winners, Honorable Mentions were awarded to mayors in five large cities and four small cities for their exceptional achievements in efforts to promote climate protection:
Large City Honorable Mentions: Mayor Michael B. Coleman, Columbus, OH, Mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee, WI, Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York, NY, Mayor William Peduto, Pittsburgh, PA and Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Washington, D.C.
Small City Honorable Mentions: Mayor Edwin García Feliciano, Camuy, PR, Mayor Jill Techel, Napa, CA, Mayor Philippe Bien-Aime, North Miami, FL and Mayor Helene Schneider, Santa Barbara, CA.
Brief descriptions of ALL winning programs can be found at: usmayors.org/climateprotection/2014awardees.
For more information about USCM's 82nd Annual Conference, visit www.usmayors.org.
About The United States 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 nearly 1,400 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/usmayors, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/usmayors.
SOURCE The U.S. Conference of Mayors