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Sustainability Reports

Last updated Jul. 25, 2017 - 5:06 pm

The Office of Sustainability works to create an organizational environment where each City departmental operation, investment, and initiative incorporates the Council's commitment to building a sustainable city. The City’s focus has been to identify, test, evaluate, and implement innovative technologies, policies, programs, strategies, partnerships, and financing approaches. Using pilot and demonstration projects and grants to improve the City's internal operations, these efforts often save taxpayers money. Sustainability reports detailing the City’s efforts are listed below.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Update Report

The Greenhouse Gas Emissions Update Report provides the City of Raleigh updated information about the emissions from Local Government Operations (LGO) and Community emissions.

A greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory is an estimate of GHGs emitted to, or removed from, the atmosphere over a specific period (usually one year). Preparation of an emissions inventory provides the City with an understanding of where Raleigh’s GHG emissions are coming from and serves as a starting point for developing strategies that can effectively reduce GHG emissions. The City has previously developed greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventories for the baseline year of fiscal year 2007, and in the case of the community inventory, also fiscal year 2010 . The inventories presented within this report update both the Community and LGO inventories for the 2014 fiscal year and discuss trends between the inventory years.

An emissions inventory can help with any or all of the following tasks:

• Identifying the greatest sources of GHG emissions within a particular geographic region, department, or activity;

• Understanding emission trends;

• Quantifying the benefits of activities that reduce emissions;

• Establishing a basis for developing an action plan;

• Tracking progress in reducing emissions; and

• Setting goals and targets for future reductions.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Update Report 2016

Renewable Energy Overview

Renewable Energy Overview

As energy costs steadily increase over time, it is vital that Raleigh continue to maintain and further enhance its robust and stable infrastructure and economy to meet its growing needs. In addition, the City of Raleigh’s Strategic Plan points toward maintaining and improving the qualities that make Raleigh an outstanding city. The City’s energy expenses for electricity and fuel are its second largest operating cost behind only personnel costs.

Section 1 provides an introduction to the overview and assessment of the City’s current energy operations. This assessment of the City’s energy operations focuses primarily on the potential incorporation of renewable energy resources to improve operational resilience and provide lifetime cost savings to the City. This assessment does not provide analysis of alternative fuels or transportation opportunities for the City’s fleet.

Section 2 explains the historical background and most of the fundamental aspects of the modern electricity system, which is needed to properly consider or undertake the integration of renewable energy systems in Raleigh. The timeline of developments shows how the electricity system expanded from a patchwork of a few small generating stations to a nationwide network delivering power to nearly every home and business in America.

Section 2.2 provides insight into the complicated process of utility billing. Understanding the available electricity rates helps the City optimize its energy use and minimize its power bills.

Section 3 looks at how recent technological advancements, production improvements, and increased investments continue to make renewable technologies more affordable and efficient options for energy production. This section includes information on types of generation that are considered renewable, the specific technical aspects of these systems, the terminology frequently used to describe them, and the benefits they can provide to Raleigh and the larger electricity system. Section 3 also includes an assessment of the financial considerations the City takes into account when evaluating renewable energy systems, such as price hedging, state and federal tax laws, and utility regulations. Total cost of ownership and business case evaluations of renewable energy projects may result in long-term savings in operating and capital budgets.

Section 4 reviews potential opportunities for renewable energy systems to provide savings, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and significantly lower carbon emissions for the City of Raleigh. This section also details how the current state of the City’s energy operations were assessed and gives the findings from this assessment.

Section 5 provides specific recommendations on how to maximize the operational efficiency of City resources through data, planning, communication, and partnerships. The overall goal is to improve the energy planning process and increase opportunities for the use of renewable energy in the City of Raleigh’s municipal operations. These recommendations encourage continued collaboration in the overall energy planning process.

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Fuel & Fleet Transformation Plan

To advance its commitment to sustainability, Raleigh developed A Roadmap to Raleigh’s Energy Future: The Climate Energy Action Plan (CEAP) in 2012. CEAP provides an integrated framework for Raleigh’s continued leadership in energy, climate, and sustainability. By guiding the development of financially responsible projects, CEAP minimizes carbon emissions and maximizes the energy and operational efficiency of City-owned vehicles, facilities, and equipment.

Since fuel is a major expense and a significant contributor to the City’s greenhouse gas emissions, CEAP recommends increasing the use of alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies in Raleigh’s fleet.

In accordance with CEAP, this Fuel & Fleet Transformation Plan evaluates Raleigh’s current petroleum-reduction initiatives and identifies additional cost-effective strategies for transitioning Raleigh’s fleet to an even greater use of alternative fuels and advanced transportation technologies.

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Roadmap to Raleigh's Energy Future

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"A Roadmap to Raleigh's Energy Future" is a collaborative project that began as a simple Climate Energy Action Plan and has matured into this implementation/action plan.

The Roadmap to Raleigh's Energy Future summary highlights the team's processes, results and recommendations.
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Technical Documentation providing support information:

Volume 1 - Project Report: View Download
Volume 2 - Business Case Evaluations: View Download
Volume 3 - Fleet Transformation Strategy: View Download
Volume 4 - Future Data Collection Tool: View Download
Volume 5 - Baseline Emissions Inventory for Solid Waste: View Download

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory for Municipal Operations

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The City of Raleigh conducted a greenhouse gas(ghg)inventory in 2010 to quantify emissions from municipal operations and form a better understanding of the City's emission sources. This inventory will be the foundation for a coordinated action plan to reduce GHG emissions, energy consumption and costs, taxpayer dollars, and improve air quality.

GHG emissions, measured in metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent(MTCO2E), were calculated using Fiscal Year 2007 as the baseline. The amount of total emissions calculated for City operations in FY07 was approximately 151,000 MTCO2E. This is approximately equivalent to 30,200 hot air balloons of volume (under standard conditions of pressure and temperature)!

The largest source of emissions by the City was electricity use (56%). The City Departments contributing the most to the emissions were Public Utilities (36%), Solid Waste Services (28%), Public Works (15%), and Convention Center (7%). Using these findings, the City will soon begin outlining a comprehensive carbon equivalent reduction strategy.

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Community-wide Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory

In 2012, the City of Raleigh developed a baseline greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory for selected community-wide activities for the year 2007 and one subsequent year, 2010.

While the City may not have operational control over the activities, the activities that occur within the community boundary can be controlled or influenced by the implementation of policies, the provision of rebates or auditing services, educational programs and the choice of services offered to the community in areas such as waste management.

The baseline 2007 and year 2010 community-wide emissions inventories accounted for the following:
- Electricity usage by the City’s residents and businesses
- Natural gas consumption in stationary combustion sources by the City’s residents and businesses
- Commuter emissions from residential and commercial vehicles

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2013 City of Raleigh Sustainability Report

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The Office of Sustainability has the responsibility to create an organizational environment where each City departmental operation, investment and initiative incorporates the City's commitment to building a sustainable 21st Century City of Innovation. The focus over the last four years has been to identify, test, evaluate and implement innovative technologies, policies, programs, strategies, partnerships and financing approaches using pilot and demonstration projects and grants to improve the City's internal operations. As reported in a Raleigh Public Record article, these efforts often save taxpayers money.

An overview of Sustainability activities and outcomes
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Urban Agriculture & Community Gardens Report

Community gardens are allowed in Raleigh. Learn more about how to create your own

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Environmental Defense Fund Energy Efficiency Report

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) partnered with the City of Raleigh to place two Climate Corps Fellows in the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department’s Facilities and Operations Division to analyze the energy consumption of the office building, One Exchange Plaza (OEP), and identify cost-effective energy efficiency improvements that could be applied to the building and citywide.

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