Despite budget constraints, U.S. mayors expect to significantly expand their investment in energy technologies over the next five years, according to a new survey of nearly 300 cities. The survey shows how cities are deploying new energy technologies to make city operations and communities more energy-efficient.
The survey, “Energy Efficiency and Technologies in America’s Cities,” was unveiled during the January U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) 82nd Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C., at a session with mayors and U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.
“This survey shows again how mayors are leaders in energy innovation, deploying new technologies, pursuing new efficiency systems, reducing their communities’ energy use and lowering costs for their taxpayers. Their best practices, as well as the findings of this survey, confirm that investing dollars in city energy efforts is a very good investment for the private sector and the nation,” said Scott Smith, USCM president and Mesa, Ariz., mayor.
The survey indicated that mayors plan to make energy-efficient lighting technology a top priority over the next two years. More than four out of five responding cities (82 percent) reported that light-emitting diode (LED) energy-efficient lighting was the “most promising” technology for reducing city energy use and carbon emissions.
“The impact of lighting on an urban environment cannot be underestimated. It is simply one of the most important steps that mayors can take to make their cities feel safer and meet the sustainability goals of the 21st century city,” said Bruno Biasiotta, president and CEO of Philips Lighting Americas. “When we partner with forward-thinking communities, making their city buildings more energy-efficient, their streets brighter and safer, and turn darkened structures into iconic symbols of their cities, we not only aid in cost savings, urban recovery and civic pride, we provide truly meaningful innovations.”
In addition to lighting, retrofitting public buildings also ranked as a top priority in improving the energy efficiency of city infrastructure. Mayors expect to use their own local resources, followed by partnerships with the private sector, as the sources of financing these technologies.
Also of note, survey results indicate that, with recent weather events and associated power outages, three in four cities have developed plans to keep vital city services operating during sustained outages. Within three years, nearly 90 percent of all cities surveyed expect to have such plans in place.
“This survey provides timely and useful information on how mayors are leading in ways that save taxpayers money, reduce dependency on foreign energy, curb harmful air emissions, and grow jobs, businesses and the economy. With this survey data, we are establishing a record of local success that continues to build over time,” said Tom Cochran, USCM CEO and executive director.