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Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton Announces Energy Reduction Plans On Earth Day
Updated April 26, 2016 6:27 AM
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(BLOOMINGTON) - On April 22, 1970, students at Indiana University, schoolchildren, and other residents of Bloomington gathered in Dunn Meadow to participate in the first Earth Day.

Rachel Carson's Silent Spring had been published in 1962, opening up the nation's eyes to our environment in crisis. University cities like Bloomington - full of idealistic, activist baby boomer students - became the fertile ground that nourished the seeds of the environmental movement that continues to grow today.

Despite many good efforts and actions over the past 46 years, climate change continues to threaten our planet, our nation, the Midwest and Bloomington. We have much work to do. Temperatures in the Midwest and on the planet continue to increase. We have hotter summers with longer dry periods. We expect and have seen intensification of storms. As temperatures rise we experience reduced air quality, increased allergens, stressed crops and increased energy demands, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Bloomington has reacted to the many threats to our environment by acting on our progressive values. Many rooflines now sport solar panels; we have expanded our street and trail system to increase bike and pedestrian commuting, and many residents have forgone gas powered vehicles and machinery, just to name a few initiatives.

On this occasion, Earth Day 2016, Mayor John Hamilton announced plans for two additional steps for continued action to protect our environment.

First, Mayor Hamilton will ask the Bloomington City Council to approve an ordinance that will require buildings of significant size to report on their energy usage each year, to allow benchmarking and increase public awareness. This will help identify outliers and can improve overall energy efficiency in the City.

More than a dozen other cities have enacted these "Energy Disclosure Ordinances," and participate in such data gathering. By sharing aggregated building data, year-by-year, we can all be more aware of opportunities for efficiency and measure our community's progress in fighting climate change.

"I look forward to working with Council and other partners to refine the approach to align with the goals we develop. It's an important step we can take toward reducing our climate impact. And of course, the City will lead by releasing our energy consumption data", commented Hamilton.

"In addition, we would like to do a Request for Qualifications for an Energy Savings Contract for our City owned facilities. The City has entered into Guaranteed Energy Savings Contracts twice in the past with realized energy reductions of between 11 and 40 percent. These contracts result in ongoing reductions in energy use and utility costs in City facilities with no up-front capital costs. Again, I look forward to working with Council to accomplish this in a timely fashion."

The City will continue to make the online "Energy Dashboards" for the three largest City owned facilities available. Those facilities are the Showers Building where City Hall is located, City of Bloomington Utilities and Twin Lakes Recreation Center.



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