During today’s Las Vegas City Council meeting, the council adopted a strategy to help build a more sustainable community by investing in long-term strategies to conserve energy and increase energy from renewable resources. By adopting the strategy the city can help boost tourism, encourage “green industry” job growth, slow the rising cost of energy and help protect our nation from dependence on foreign oil.
There are three components to the strategy: city operations; city codes and policies; and community involvement.
- City Operations: Goals include, but are not limited to, working to reduce the city’s carbon footprint by 10 percent in 2011, 20 percent by 2020, and 30 percent by 2030. Also, to reduce the city’s electricity use by 5 percent per unit by 2011.
- City Codes, Regulations and Policies: Goals include, but are not limited to, adopting an energy code that is 30 percent more efficient than the current code by 2011. Also, to work with the Green Building Council to revise the Green Building Program to include more mandates and incentives.
- Community Involvement: Goals include, but are not limited to, having a fully implemented residential solar rebate program by 2009. Also, to provide incentives for residents to take part in home energy audits by 2009.
Efforts like this can only enhance tourism, as visitors can “feel good” about coming to a city that is not only known for world-class fun, but that is also a leader is caring for the environment. Also, investing in renewable energy and energy conservation in Las Vegas will help diversify the economy and create opportunities for on-the-job training for skilled labor and for graduates of the University and Community College System of Nevada. The American Solar Energy Society reported that renewable energy and energy efficient industries created nearly 8.5 million jobs in 2006, expected to grow to 40 million by 2030.
Investing in renewable energy and energy conservation in Las Vegas will also protect the city from escalating electricity costs. Las Vegas, with its abundant solar resources, and demonstrated leadership with cleaner burning domestically produced and renewable alternative fuels, can provide leadership by reducing its reliance on foreign oil and non-renewable energy.
Despite Las Vegas’ reputation as a city of excess, the reality is our community is a leader in protecting the environment and sustainability. Las Vegas was named the American City of the Year by the World Leadership Forum in London in December 2007, largely because of its commitment to alternative fuels and sustainability in projects like the Centennial Hills Master-Planned Campus. Sustainability is one of the city’s main initiatives. The city defines sustainability as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.
“Investing in long-term strategies to conserve energy and increase energy from renewable resources requires a new approach to decision making,” said Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman. “We must look at long-term savings when making purchases, not just straight costs, so that we can help build a more sustainable community for generations to come.”