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Albemarle County Newsroom
 


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POSTPONED: Carbon, Our Energy Future and You - A Community Workshop Hosted by Charlottesville, Albemarle and UVa
1/25/2011

The City of Charlottesville, the County of Albemarle, and the University of Virginia are hosting an informational Community Workshop related to an ongoing local climate action planning process.

Event Date: Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Event Time: 6:00-8:00 pm 
Note:  Display Stations will be available for viewing in the Lobby all day on January 26th

Event Location: Albemarle County Office Building, Auditorium and Lobby
 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, VA

Featured Speakers:  Andrea Larson, Darden School of Business, UVa
 Bill Edgerton, former Albemarle County planning commissioner

Interactive Aspects: Community survey with real-time responses displayed

Display Stations: Fact-filled displays regarding five focus areas will feature local success stories and handouts of practical tips for saving energy in homes and businesses

This event is an invitation to the public to learn more about the many initiatives currently underway related to energy opportunities and impacts, including recent efforts to identify effective energy management strategies.  Energy is clearly linked to core aspects of our lives, including land use, transportation, home and business efficiency, the goods and services we use, and waste management.

The Workshop is intended to be the launch of an ongoing dialogue regarding the importance of action and the scope and scale necessary for local communities to realize significant emissions reductions.   

Local examples of energy-efficient buildings, fleets, developments, and businesses both in public and private sectors, reflect the recognition of the role and value of energy-related decisions.  Initiatives by residents, service providers, nonprofits, and many other community players continue to demonstrate the growing awareness and understanding of the connections between energy, environmental, economic, and equity goals.

Efforts large and small to reduce energy use have the potential to help families and businesses in our community to attain economic savings in their utility bills and fuel costs.  The message to the community for our Workshop is simple:  this is about your energy future, your energy costs, your energy savings, your carbon footprint, and your stewardship opportunity. . . . It’s about your community, so come out to hear about the challenges and success stories. 

Come out and have your thoughts and opinions heard, your questions answered, your enthusiasm activated, and hear what your friends and neighbors are thinking via an interactive real-time community survey!  

For more information, contact Andy Lowe, Environmental Compliance Manager, County of Albemarle, 434-296-5816 ext 3291, alow@albemarle.org

Background
Following public commitments stating concern for climate change and the role of local action(US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement and US Cool Counties Stabilization Declaration), both the City and the County published baseline inventories of community greenhouse gas emissions.  The University simultaneously conducted a comprehensive sustainability assessment.  This information snapshot formed the basis for a community planning process to assess and determine critical strategies to reduce the community’s emissions and to pursue benefits related to cost-savings, community vitality, and environmental stewardship.

The Local Climate Action Planning Process (LCAPP), launched in 2009, has been a concerted and collaborative effort to explore the opportunities and challenges of emissions reduction goals through a shared lens.  The process has involved a multidisciplinary Steering Committee supported by a network of local subject matter experts, interested parties, and staff from the City, County and UVa.  Over the last 18+ months and with the input and insight of over 70 local participants, best practices have been collected and examined for their appropriateness and effectiveness in our community.  The process has considered potential trends for “business as usual” as well as opportunities to reduce emissions by taking specific actions. 

The process has reconfirmed the reality that our everyday actions, and our everyday dependence and decisions regarding energy, are inextricably linked with the health of our community and of our planet.  It is apparent that a recommended emissions reduction goal at the scale of 80% by 2050 is fundamentally challenging to achieve.  However, concerted community efforts to attain this scale of a stretch goal will inevitably have positive community impacts (co-benefits) that must not be overlooked, including economic savings, social equity, business development, job creation, health, energy self-sufficiency, air quality and natural systems improvements.  Continuous, long term planning and adjustments will be necessary to identify realistic strategies for implementation (including technology-based strategies) over the next decades.

In the end, although important, the significant reductions being pursued cannot be achieved simply by switching individual lightbulbs.  Tens of thousands of structures will need to be made more efficient, hundreds of thousands of miles traveled will need to be done with less energy-intensity, tons of megawatts of energy will need to be obtained from cleaner sources, the choices surrounding millions of dollars of materials and wastes will need to consider the energy footprint, and the preservation and management of our forests will need to be conducted with expanded recognition of the critical role they play in the carbon balance.

The high-level strategies identified through this process should assist in shaping public policies, planning processes and programs that can help Charlottesville and Albemarle County substantially reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.  Key focus areas of a five-part framework are:  Energy and the Built Environment; Energy and Mobility; Energy Sourcing; Energy and Materials; and Energy and the Landscape.


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