Final Sustainability Plan Includes Bigger Goals, Tighter Deadlines
Mayor Greg Fischer has released the final version of the city’s sustainability plan, and it has several more ambitious goals and initiatives than the draft version.The Office of Sustainability released the draft last month, and opened it up for public comment. At the public meeting, the majority of the comments urged Sustainability Director Maria Koetter to aim higher and set bigger goals for Louisville.Koetter says this new plan does that, but is still realistic and attainable.“We put out the first plan and received a lot of public comment,” she said. “And then from there, internally, we took a hard look at it and did some hard thinking and came up with where we thought we could do better and where we could stretch and focus efforts to achieve goals more quickly and more bold goals as well.”There are a few key differences between the draft and the final version of the plan. The final version:
- Moves the deadline for decreasing energy use by 30% in city owned buildings to 2018, from 2025.
- Increases the percentage of renewable energy technologies in city owned buildings; it used to be a 20% increase, now it’s 50%.
- Adds a planned expansion of the traffic light coordination program, to help the city reduce air pollution.
- Changes plans to restore one mile of riparian vegetation; the plan now includes a pilot project to restore ten miles of riparian vegetation.
- The original plan listed a goal of reducing vehicle miles traveled by 15% by 2025; the goal is now 20% in the same time period.
- Adds a plan to launch a clean economy business plan contest.
- Sets out goals to re-establish the city’s tree canopy and mitigate the urban heat island effect by 2018; the draft set the deadline at 2020.
- The final plan also lists timeframes for each initiative. The initiatives that are listed as “underway” are already being worked on; the “planned” ones will be launched or completed within three years; the “proposed” initiatives are four years and further out.
Koetter says one of the most significant changes is the city’s commitment to decreasing energy use in Metro buildings by 30 percent over the next five years. And she says adding timeframes for the initiatives will help the city stay on track.“I think our commitment to actually put those timeframes in there was huge,” she said. “A lot of the most successful plans nationally have dates, and while our major goals had dates, our initiatives weren’t initially listed with timeframes. So I think that’s a big commitment on our part to actually include that in the plan.”When the draft plan was released, concerns were raised by several in the environmental community that the plan lacked details, or seemed hypocritical in light of the Ohio River Bridges Project (which invests money into car transportation, rather than public transit). Here's what was said at the time: