Proposed Greening of City Code to Be Introduced to Pittsburgh City Council

October 26, 2009

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — In its next step towards creating a greener Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative (PCI) will introduce green city code language changes to Pittsburgh’s City Council tomorrow. Working with Councilman Bill Peduto, the City’s sustainability coordinator, and Duquesne University Law School, PCI has bundled proposed code changes that would make many recommendations of the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan possible. These modifications would simplify the implementation of various green activities, procedures, renovations, and techniques for Pittsburgh’s residents, businesses, and government; they would also ensure the continuing commitment of the City of Pittsburgh to sustainability throughout many generations of elected officials.

The Pittsburgh Climate Initiative is an evolution of the Green Government Task Force, which was a coalition of local, state, and federal officials, as well as representatives from businesses, universities, foundations, and non-profit organizations. PCI’s goal is to reduce Pittsburgh’s greenhouse gas emissions, which are human-generated emissions leading to climate change that result from the use of fossil fuels as an energy source.

In August 2008, Pittsburgh City Council unanimously endorsed the implementation of the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan, Version 1.0 as a guiding document for the City of Pittsburgh. This document seeks a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2003 levels by 2023. It calls for specific actions from municipal government, community organizations, businesses, and institutions of higher education to achieve its goal. One of the specific Plan recommendations is to codify certain standards, policies, and processes to reflect the City’s commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Legislation drafted by PCI would help accomplish this action.

Sample proposed green code changes include the formation of a Sustainability Commission that would ensure future implementation of the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan. The Commission would be a permanent, standing committee consisting of representatives of City Council, the Mayor’s office, and several City departments. Other modifications include a mechanism for the City to conduct regular energy audits of its properties and implement retrofits that improve building energy efficiency (e.g., additional insulation, replacement of single pane windows, and installation of occupancy light sensors). Other proposed changes include the expansion and increased use of the City’s recycling efforts by allowing for more direct enforcement of current recycling requirements and improving recycling opportunities for local residents, businesses, employees, and shoppers. Additional issues addressed in the green code changes include the establishment of green purchasing for the City, the inclusion of the sustainability coordinator staff position into City code, and the establishment of green roof guidelines for residential applications.

With the introduction of these alterations, Pittsburgh would join the ranks of the following cities who have already holistically addressed climate impacts through code changes: Boulder, Colorado; Portland, Oregon; San Francisco, California; and New York City, New York.

The Pittsburgh Climate Initiative is a collaborative effort designed to lead Pittsburgh’s residents, businesses, government, and institutions of higher learning in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. It is facilitated by the Green Building Alliance (GBA), a 16-year-old nonprofit organization that advances economic prosperity and human well-being in Western Pennsylvania by driving market demand and facilitating green building practices and products that have minimal impact on the natural environment. Other PCI partners include the City of Pittsburgh and ICLEI, which are creating more sustainable municipal operations for the City; Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture), which addresses community climate activities with “The Black and Gold City Goes Green” campaign; Sustainable Pittsburgh, which leads the Business Climate Coalition; Allegheny County; and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, which is working with Allegheny County on its green initiatives. GBA also convenes the Higher Education Climate Consortium (HECC), which actively engages all colleges and universities in the Pittsburgh region to collaborate regarding sustainability research, education, operations, and outreach so that the organizations comprising HECC align with the City of Pittsburgh’s overall greenhouse gas reduction goal.

Media interested in further information are invited to a press conference hosted by Councilman Bill Peduto and the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative at 1:30 pm on Tuesday, October 27, 2009, at the Pittsburgh City Council conference room.

SOURCE Green Building Alliance

Source: newswire

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