About the City of Asheville Office of Sustainability
The Office of Sustainability works with all departments across the City integrate sustainable design, technology and practice into municipal operations, infrastructure, and services.
The Asheville City Council updated a 2007 policy in 2010 setting a carbon reduction goal for municipal operations. The target is an 80% reduction by 2030. As of 2012 the City has achieved a 17% reduction. 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 completed the city wide streetlight upgrade program in June 2013. Through this program traditional streetlight fixtures were upgraded to light emitting diodes also called LED. Over the last three years the City upgraded 7,400 street lights to this energy efficient technology. Through this effort the City saves $450,000 annually on energy costs and avoids polluting 1,294 tons of carbon into the atmosphere which is equal to the emissions from burning 7 rail cars of coal.
LED Street Lights FAQ's
LED Streetlight Press Release
LED Streetlight 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 the fall of 2012 The City of Asheville passed a fuel conservation policy for city vehicles. This policy focuses on idling and driver conservation behavior. To accompany this policy all city staff have gone through a fuel conservation training program to help drivers learn about 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
Bee City USA
City of Asheville Office of Sustainability Staff
|| MAGGIE ULLMAN
Chief Sustainability Officer
Location: Asheville City Hall, 533
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 7148, Asheville, NC 28802
Office Phone: 828-271-6141
|| KERBY SMITHSON
Location: Asheville City Hall, Fifth Floor
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 7148, Asheville, NC 28802
Office Phone: 828-251-4057