This week the mayors from across the U.S. released results of a new survey pointing to successes of cities using Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to improve energy efficiency and lower carbon emissions.
Unveiled by Gresham, Oregon Mayor Shane Bemis, Bridgeport, Connecticut Mayor Bill Finch, and Carmel, Indiana Mayor Jim Brainard, the survey findings derived from the responses of 204 mayors demonstrate how cities invested their EECBG program funds to help further local initiatives to reduce energy use, deploy new energy technologies and curb harmful energy emissions, among other local outcomes. All three mayors are members of the Mayors’ Climate Protection Center.
“These findings underscore that mayors have been leading by example on energy efficiency and conservation for years,” said Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis, Chair of the Conference’s Energy Committee. “Mayors all across the country have been actively working to advance energy-saving measures in communities large and small, and what we see in this report translates into real budgetary savings, local job creation and small business growth.”
Some of survey’s key findings include:
- The three top uses of EECBG dollars by cities were energy retrofits of government buildings (83 percent of cities), LED/other energy-efficient street lighting (42 percent), and solar energy systems on public buildings and facilities (31 percent).
- Most mayors directed a majority of their EECBG funds to investments in municipal projects and operations. Nearly seven in eight mayors (87%) expended a majority of their EECBG grant dollars on municipal projects and operations.
- LED/other energy-efficient lighting ranked first among energy technologies that have already been deployed by cities, with local and federal resources, most notably EECBG grants, providing the primary sources of funding for these deployments.
- The availability of EECBG funds to cities has influenced city budgetary priorities, and also prompted new partnerships with a range of private sector and governmental entities.
- A majority of mayors cited energy service contracting as the innovative energy financing strategy that EECBG funds helped most often.
Of the report’s findings, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, who Co-Chairs the Conference’s Energy Independence and Climate Protection Task Force noted, “Even as mayors were confronting budget constraints due to the recession and federal spending cuts, this report shows that cities leveraged EECBG dollars by making investments that are still paying dividends today. In my city, we are reducing electricity usage and making solid waste and sewage sludge operations more efficient. So, clearly, this modest federal commitment has bolstered mayors’ efforts to advance energy efficiency, conservation and technology deployment initiatives in their cities.” Continue reading