Transitioning buildings toward net-zero energy makes buildings healthier and more comfortable, and smart approaches to retrofitting and new construction can create an economic boon for the city.
The Carbon-Free City Handbook: Electricity
Electricity generation is a major contributor to global climate change, accounting for nearly one quarter of all emissions. But cost-effective renewable energy sources present an unprecedented opportunity for cities.
Action 13: LED Smart Streetlights
Replace traditional lights (e.g., high-pressure sodium) with energy-efficient, smart LED luminaires and networked control (for real-time monitoring, on/off, dimming). Further use the streetlight network—both the physical poles and digital communications backbone—for additional sensors, cameras, and intelligent automation of city services.
- The Chicago Infrastructure Trust. Chicago Smart Lighting Project Request for Proposals (RFP) Volume I: Instructions to Proposers (ITP). 2016.
Chicago’s smart lighting project RFP
- City of San Diego. Request for Proposal (RFP) for Street Light Conversion Project Design-Build Contract. 2010.
San Diego’s streetlight conversion project RFP
- Elberg, Richelle, and Eric Woods. Smart Street Lighting as a Smart City Platform: Applications and Connectivity Best Practices. Navigant Research, 2017.
- GSMA. GSMA Smart Cities Guide: Street Lighting.
- U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “DOE Municipal Solid-State Street Lighting Consortium.”
Action 14: Electric Districts
Avoid and/or eliminate/replace fossil-fuel infrastructure (i.e., natural gas for heating, cooking, hot water) in favor of electric-only buildings and infrastructure, ranging from individual buildings to entire developments, neighborhoods, and districts.
- Government of the Netherlands, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. Energy Agenda: Towards a low-carbon energy supply. pp. 64-65 (Natural Gas Policy).
The Netherland’s natural gas policy, including guidelines for no new and removal of existing
- Municipality of Amsterdam. Naar een stad zonder aardgas (English Translation: To a City Without Natural Gas). 2016.
Amsterdam’s strategy and action plan for becoming a natural gas-free city
- City of Vancouver. Zero Emissions Building Plan. 2016.
- City of Palo Alto. Sustainability and Climate Action Plan (Draft – April 2016). 2016.
- O’Sullivan, Feargus. “Why Amsterdam Is Giving Up on Natural Gas.” CityLab, November 18, 2016.
- NU.nl (Sanoma Media Netherlands Group). “Amsterdam wil CO2-uitstoot verminderen als aardgasloze stad (English translation: Amsterdam wants to reduce CO2 emissions as a natural gas-free city).” November 17, 2016.
- Amsterdam Smart City. “Urban Energy Transition.”
- CityZen. “Amsterdam 2050: A gas free city.”
- CityZen. “Urban energy transition methodology.”
- Pieters, Janene. “Subsidies for Amsterdam Homeowners Who Stop Using Natural Gas.” NL Times, August 11, 2017.
- City of Amsterdam. “Amsterdam subsidieert aardgasloze woningen (English Translation: Amsterdam subsidizes natural gas-free homes).”
- Van den Ende, Eline. “A Revolution: The Netherlands Kisses Gas Goodbye, But Will It Help the Climate?” The Energy Collective, June 7, 2017.
We now begin with a heat revolution, where every Amsterdammer is involved. I’m proud that we are working hard together in Amsterdam to make existing neighborhoods natural gas-free. We’re just going to do it.
‐Abdeluheb Choho, Amsterdam Alderman and Head of Sustainability, City of Amsterdam (as quoted on nu.nl)
Action 15: Municipal Solar Installations
Install solar photovoltaics (PV) on all available municipal sites, including building rooftops (e.g., city hall, schools, police/fire, community centers, transit depots), carports, and other structures, and ground mount solar PV on appropriate land (e.g., rights of way, infill, brownfields). Make available for community solar projects.
- City of Kansas City, Missouri. Request for Proposals: City-Wide Solar Energy Project (RFP No. EV1587). 2012.
Kansas City’s city-wide solar energy project RFP
- City of Kansas City, Missouri. Master Solar Lease and Access Agreement. 2012.
Kansas City’s master lease agreement between the city and its solar vendor
- City of Kansas City, Missouri. Solar Services and Access Agreement. 2013.
Kansas City’s solar services agreement between the city and its utility
- Farrell, John, and Matt Grimley. Public Rooftop Revolution. ILSR’s Democratic Energy Initiative, 2015.
- U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. “Solar Energy Resource Center.”
- U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. Solar Powering Your Community: A Guide for Local Governments. 2011.
- Richard, Michael G. “Kansas City to install solar panels on 80 municipal buildings, save taxpayers $40k/year.” Treehugger, May 28, 2013.
- City of Kansas City, Missouri. “Meet 5% of the City’s electricity demand with renewable energy.”
- Farrell, John. “Solar Potential on Public Buildings in Kansas City.” Institute for Local Self-Reliance, June 22, 2015.
Action 16: Municipal Renewable Supply
Leverage various mechanisms (e.g., utility green tariff programs, direct supply, power purchase agreements [PPAs], city ownership of utility-scale renewable generation) to secure renewable energy supply—often from beyond the city’s borders—to meet all energy use not covered by on-site renewables.
- City of Houston Strategic Purchasing. “Solicitation Files for T25140.”
Houston’s strategic renewable energy procurement RFP
- Philadelphia Energy Authority and City of Philadelphia. Request for Proposals for Renewable Energy Power Purchasing. 2017.
Philadelphia’s renewable energy procurement RFP
- International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Renewable Energy in Cities. 2016.
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “Green Power Partnership Top 30 Local Government.” 2017.
- City of Copenhagen. “CPH Carbon Neutral 2025 – Energy Production.”
- Gerdes, Justin. “Copenhagen’s Ambitious Push To Be Carbon Neutral by 2025.” Yale Environment 360, April 11, 2013.
- State of Green. “Wind Turbines in Copenhagen – Heading for Carbon Neutrality.”
- Slavin, Terry. “The European cities moving faster on clean energy than their governments.” The Guardian, July 6, 2015.
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