In 2006, Roanoke was the 1st city in Virginia to join ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability. ICLEI is an international organization dedicated to improving the global environment through local government initiatives. With the Clean Air and Climate Protection (CACP) software that ICLEI provides, City staff worked with Virginia Tech and James Madison University to gather and analyze data.
The team developed a 2005 baseline year of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions for the community and the City as a municipal organization and recommended strategies for reductions. City Council committed to a community reduction of 10% and a municipal operations reduction of 12.5% beginning in January 2009 and ending in December 2014.
Local citizen Dr. Sean McGinnis, Director of Green Engineering at Virginia Tech, oversees the annual community emissions report for the City of Roanoke. In the most recent emissions report to Roanoke City Council in October 2013, Dr. McGinnis announced that in 2012 community emissions were reduced emissions by 8.8% from the 2005 emissions baseline.
The Council update included a separate 2012 GHG emissions report for City of Roanoke operations, which was an impressive 15% reduction exceeding the goal of 12.5% target goal achieved two years early. Since Roanoke’s commitment in 2006 to begin to reduce GHG emissions, the City has initiated many energy savings strategies including:
Building upgrades for energy efficiency
Conversion to LED traffic signals
Electric vehicles as well as many other activities