About the City of Asheville Office of Sustainability
Located in the Finance Department, the Office of Sustainability works with City of Asheville departments across the city to integrate sustainable design, technology and practice into municipal operations and infrastructure.
The Asheville City Council passed a sustainability resolution in April 2007, setting the goal of reducing Asheville’s municipal carbon footprint by 80% by 2050. To meet this goal, the municipality created a Sustainability Management Plan (SMP). The Office of Sustainability coordinates the implementation of this carbon footprint reduction program, demonstrating our responsibility to our community, businesses and taxpayers to strive for organizational efficiency through energy reduction measures.
In addition, the Office of Sustainability identifies opportunities and resources to further implement fuel, waste and water efficiency and conservation measures. Sustainability related outreach support these efforts to provide education, engagement and communications support to further conserve our resources for the long term.
Making the Commitment
Because of climate change concerns, the City of Asheville formed a citizen group in January 2007 called the Sustainability Advisory Committee on Energy and the Environment (SACEE) to support sustainable policy development. Innovative sustainability related policies and financing models characterize the City’s commitment to creating long term sustainable solutions. In 2009 City Council approved the Sustainability Management Plan (link below) to chart the path forward.
2012 Carbon Footprint Annual Report
The City of Asheville’s fiscal year 2012 Annual Carbon Footprint Report documents the progress that the City’s municipal operations are making to conserve energy and reduce environmental impact. The City achieved its largest annual reduction to date, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 1,693 metric tons of CO2 equivalent, or 6.42%, from the previous year. To achieve these reductions the City installed over 3,000 LED street lights, managed its water system under ISO 14001 standards for environmental management, improved the infrastructure and management of many of its buildings, and switched many employees to a 4 day work week (which saves emissions from commuting).
Carbon Footprint Annual Report 2012
AVL Sustainability Update FY11
Carbon Footprint Report 2009-2010
The city is in the third and final phase of the streetlight upgrade program in which traditional bulbs will be upgraded to LED fixtures. When complete in June 2013 all roads in city limits except Department of Transportation roads will be upgraded to LED streetlights. Upgrades will take place Monday through Thursday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. with no expectations of traffic disruption. Below is the installation schedule:
Nov- Dec 2012 South Asheville
Jan- Feb 2013 East Asheville
March –June 2013 North Asheville
Over the last two years the City has upgraded 3,400 street lights to the energy efficiency LED technology and will complete the city wide program in June 2013 with a total of 7,400 fixtures. Once completed all three phases are expected to save $450,000 annually and 1,294 tons of avoided carbon which is equal to the emissions from burning 7 rail cars of coal.
LED Street Lights FAQ's
LED Streetlight Press Release
LED Streetkight Financal Case Study
Promoting Multimodal Transportation and Fuel Conservation
In 2012, Asheville residents saw a number of improvements to our transportation options that help us reduce our time alone behind the wheel and our communities’ carbon footprint. The City of Asheville approved the first ever Transit Master Plan in 2010, with the first phase of the implementation of Asheville Redefines Transit (ART) transit system (www.ridetheart.com) launched in May of 2012.
Energy related outreach educational efforts also included the Cool is Clean multi-city energy efficiency pilot campaign, designed to educate residents about the benefits of washing clothes in cold water. This pilot program was successful: residents who received the Cool is Clean campaign materials through direct mail in Asheville were significantly more likely than the control group to report using either mostly cold or all cold water washes (85% vs. 52%). The treatment and control groups did not differ on any other energy saving behaviors.
In 2013, The City of Asheville is launching a new internal fuel conservation initiative to help drivers learn more about ways to save fuel.
Zero Waste AVL
In 2012, Asheville residents were “Reaching for Zero” as the Zero Waste AVL program launched single stream recycling collection. The program expands the materials collected, required no sorting, and provided “Big Blue” 96 gallon recycling roll carts so that residents could safely recycle a greater volume of material. In the first year of the program 6.38% of waste was diverted from the landfill for recycling.
Residents can learn about how to reach for zero waste through the Zero Waste AVL website, select community presentations and events, where they can play interactive recycling games, see composting demos and make upcycled crafts. Visitors to the U.S. Cellular Center can learn about recycling and email their picture to themselves as they reach for zero at the Recycling Photo Booth and Kiosk. Both adults and children alike can enjoy “Have You Seen Big Blue?” the animated You-Tube video all about the single stream collection.
The quarterly Hard to Recycle Collection Event, hosted by Rainbow Recycling and Asheville Green-Works provide residents an opportunity to drop off materials not accepted in Big Blue, such as Styrofoam packing material, hard plastics, and used cooking oil.
Helpful Links & Resources
Energy Related Federal and State Tax Incentives
Progress Energy Carolinas Rebate Programs
PSNC Rebate Programs
Citizen Sustainability Advisory Committee
City of Asheville Office of Sustainability Staff
|| MAGGIE ULLMAN
Sustainability Program Manager
Location: Asheville City Hall, Room 420
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 7148, Asheville, NC 28802
Office Phone: 828-271-6141
|| KERBY SMITHSON
Location: Asheville City Hall, Fourth Floor
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 7148, Asheville, NC 28802
Office Phone: 828-251-4057