For Immediate Release: June 29, 2016
Contact: Jan Thornburg, Sr. Communications Manager 941-954-2613 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarasota, FL: The combination of cleaner energy and more efficient energy usage has led to a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the Sarasota city limits since 2003, according to a recent inventory conducted by the City of Sarasota. The overall decrease in CO2 emissions is an impressive 22 percent.
“A 22 percent reduction is significant,” said Stevie Freeman-Montes, City of Sarasota Sustainability Manager. “It highlights our community’s interest and commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and becoming a more sustainable city. The Environmental Protection Agency equates that 22 percent reduction to removing 40,000 cars from the road for one year or taking 20,000 houses off the electrical grid. That’s good news for Sarasota and our environment, including Sarasota Bay, because cleaner air translates into cleaner and healthier waterways.”
The Sarasota community decreased emissions in several key categories, including: electrical use in residential, commercial and industrial sectors; water and wastewater processes; stationery fuel combustion and solid waste.
“As a community, we’re generating less emissions,” said Freeman-Montes. “There are two key reasons: first, the energy citizens and FPL is using is cleaner. Second, a new solid waste program implemented last year at the Sarasota County landfill is having excellent success converting methane gas to electricity. Because of that innovative program, the City’s share of solid waste emissions from the landfill alone have dropped 87 percent over the past 12 years. Considering these large system changes in our energy and solid waste sectors, I’m hopeful that in the future we can see similar positive strides with energy efficiency, renewable energy and transportation.”
CO2 emissions were down across the board in the city limits with one exception: vehicle emissions. Although vehicles are considered more energy efficient today, 10 percent more miles were driven in Sarasota in 2015 than in 2003, leading to 2.5 percent more emissions.
“The Sarasota community cares about being a good steward of our planet,” said City Manager Tom Barwin. “This substantive report underscores the need for our continuing focus on sustainability and education, particularly with transportation. We need to continue to evaluate viable multi-modal alternatives and concentrate on moving people rather than just vehicles. Staff members in engineering, planning, sustainability and the Urban Design Studio are all working toward that singular goal. Whether it’s a solar powered shuttle service, bicycle paths, bus rapid transit, or wider sidewalks to encourage pedestrian travel, we need to continue to explore all viable options that will simultaneously lower our carbon footprint and ease traffic congestion.”
To better understand climate impact, the City of Sarasota conducted its first greenhouse gas inventory in 2003 with a follow up in 2007. Those results were used as baselines for the 2015 study. A national standardized methodology, known as the U.S. Community Protocol for Accounting and Reporting Greenhouse Gas Emissions, was used to perform the inventories.
The recent inventory was conducted by Jeff Vrendenburg, a City of Sarasota intern and recent college graduate with a Master’s Degree in sustainability science. “The national protocol used for the 2015 greenhouse gas inventory report emphasized data-driven methodology and scientific rigor in calculating the chemistry and physics behind Sarasota’s emissions,” said Jeff Vrendenburg, City of Sarasota sustainability intern. “The report provides great insight and shows that at such a large scale, small changes can really add up to large difference at a city-level.”
To read the 2015 Greenhouse Gas Inventory executive summary click here.
About the City of Sarasota: Distinguished by Google as a Digital Capital in the U.S., the City of Sarasota is a diverse community located on Florida’s Suncoast with 53,000 year round residents, several internationally recognized cultural arts venues, stunning sunsets along Lido Beach, a 45-hole municipal golf course at the historic Bobby Jones Golf Club, and Major League spring training baseball with the Baltimore Orioles. Learn more about us at www.SarasotaGov.com