Monday, January 4, 2016

Burlington Vermont - Jennifer Green Interview Notes

Jennifer Green - Sustainability Director in Burlington Vermont
Interview by Darby Minow Smith

Old in sustainability: 11.3 million dollar bond for energy efficiency in the 90’s, working on climate change since 1996
8% of food from within city limits
problems: high poverty rate
air quality increases and decreases

very low vacancy rate means housing costs are very high
1-2% vs. 12% as a national average

energy consumption has been level since the mid-‘80s
municipal energy department
energy efficiency measurements, surcharge towards energy conservation
easy access to information, public domain as Burlington Electric is owned by the citizens

floodplain, Winooski River through the city floods regularly making it unsuitable for housing
also a historic farming hub
Intervale - several dozen community-supported agriculture endeavors
sold in the city market, a cooperative
A fair portion of what the kids in Burlington Schools eat is locally sourced, creativity is key
Sustainability: Connecting four E’s

First Climate Action plan of its kind in the country under Peter Clavelle
Now ICLEI software helps

Institute for Sustainable Communities, Montpelier
prominent nonprofit in the realm of climate change
new resiliency project in Vermont
ideas are beginning to percolate around this topic

infrastructural and agricultural challenges as a result of climate change

Source: Jennifer Green Interview - Sustainability in Burlington, Vermont

Vicki Bennett Interview notes

Sustainability Director Vicki Bennett - Salt Lake City
Interview by Darby Minow Smith

Mormons, snow, sobriety
progressive politics, despite Utah conservatism
poor air quality from burgeoning suburbs: 200,000 in the city, and a further 1 million in the greater metropolitan area

Salt Lake City as settled by Mormon pioneers, refugees fleeing persecution
necessity for independence
comprehensive, holistic approach to planning the city
personification of sustainability
survival and working the land

Met the Kyoto goals by reducing our municipal operation climate footprint
working with more conservative cities necessitates discussion on air quality and reducing vehicle miles traveled and the benefits of energy efficiency to minimize how much electricity to use
reduce amount of oil and heating fuel and natural gas needed - same outcome in reducing use of carbon-based fuels

GOP presidential candidate to admit global warming is real and human caused: Jon Huntsman as typical of Utah Republicans?
definite outlier, most progressive Republican
Comparing Salt Lake City and New York City in the impact of climate change
70% of water comes from mountains via snowpack
no reservoirs immediately next to the city, less water with climate change
quality of water is concerning 
more beetle-kill in the forests
drier soils and higher chance of wildfires > silt in water
Health issues
diseases and vectors

economic impact of less skiing!

Katherine Gajewski - Philadelphia Sustainability Office Interview Notes

Katherine Gajewski Interview by Darby Minow Smith - Philadelphia going green

limited staff and resources -> long hours
“age isn’t a factor”

Greenworks Philadelphia plan
5-county energy-efficiency program
social group of city employees: “Young-ish City Government Workers

Philly is historical, great bones
modest sized, energy-efficient row homes
extensive public transit system
low car ownership rate
9,200-acre park system
These make for a sustainable city, but 300 years ago

25% of the city is at or below poverty, there is a high level of diversity
work raises questions about opinions about sustainable cities

over 1,000 communities in the US are in non-compliance with the Clean water Act because of old sewer systems that, in heavy rain events, mix outlets of cities’ wastewater into the waterways
billion dollar plans to increase the piping and sewer systems underground so excess water can move through bigger pipes
2 billion in Philadelphia to come into compliance with the Clean Water Act with green infrastructure
variety of methods:
-green roofs
-rain gardens
-streets with porous pavement

tie between climate and departments like water
reframing work in context of climate change: absolutely

In 20 years, half the city is going to be covered in green infrastructure
smart streets
parks and open spaces
green roofs

Only 4 years into sustainability plan, rising population

Source: Katherine Gajewski Interview - Darby Minow Smith

Gayle Prest - Interview Notes

Knope and change: Parks and Rec Test

Gayle Prest - Darby Minow Smith

Loves her city
and is incredibly funny
with the sustainability office since 2006
why sustainability directors across the nation re working together
unique approach in Minnesota to urban sustainability
why the City of Lakes is so lovable

Office is just two people and an intern
Mission: drive change throughout the city
New climate Action Plan, last one in the 90’s
documenting greenhouse gas emission reductions - 13% from 2006 to 2010

Big issue right now: Fighting Asian Carp
Past Minneapolis -> Lake Superior
Lock and dam to stop them -> work with state and federal agencies and Congress, but a slow pace, no way to “light the fires”

Urban farming
food council, with a hybrid model untried anywhere else in the country - city staff, elected officials and the community
150 community gardens
updating zoning regulations as related to urban agriculture - look to other cities for models
bees on the green roof on site hall in the next year

Pushback on projects
Sustainability is always a negotiation
success of nice ride program

Competition with other cities - “Portland is just an avenue in Minneapolis”

Source: Gayle Prest Interview by Darby Minow Smith

Eileen Horn - Interview Notes

Kansas Sustainability Director Eileen Horn - Darby Minow Smith
Interview Notes

Kansas was once a hotbed for progressive and liberal ideology. 
Only 3 democratic presidential candidates in last century since then though.
“office of the repealer”
Douglas County as an exception to this norm

Eileen Horn as sustainability director in 2010
funded through Energy Efficiency and Conservation block fund as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus bill)
“Ignore Kansas at your own peril.”
University of Kansas as a major influence on Lawrence in comparison to the rest of the state
Civil War history
history as trailblazers
conservative ethic, small c, in Kansas
slow to embrace the science, no problem embracing the solutions
healthy skepticism

Water issues in Kansas in 2012 (time of interview) lends credence to climate change
norm of extreme weather events

Two projects with energy efficiency
“Energy Smackdown” between fire stations during a four month contest over the summer
20% reduction in winning fire station
similar contest between rec centers
home energy audit and retrofit program
on-bill financing to do a retrofit project
yielded the Take Charge Challenge between Manhattan (Kansas State University) and Lawrence (University of Kansas) - Manhattan won, due to the per capita nature of the competition and not any concrete advantage in tactics
Importance of competitions in role as sustainability director in a conservative state

Kansas advantage - local farming endeavours
legislation/ordinances banning these operations were never enacted in Kansas in the first place
Many citizens are only a generation or two off of the farm
the key is getting small farms back and attracting younger generations into growing, primarily of fruits and vegetables
program stolen from Cleveland - four gardens and farms, two traditional community gardens one student farm that is a collaboration between middle school and junior college and a community orchard

School in DC, grad school work at UVM. 
Kansas is where fuel and food comes from

motivating language that works in coastal communities is not effective in Kansas

Southern Sustainability and Maggie Ullman - Interview Notes

Maggie Ullman by Darby Minow Smith
Interview Notes

Asheville, NC population of 85,000, growth of 15,000 in the last ten years
-small city government
-groggy chickens
-coca-cola teaches to go green

“I think government can be cool. I think sustainability is cooler. I think sustainable government is coolest.”

Switching streetlights to LEDs. 
-Huge carbon footprint reduction (5%)
-model where the savings pay entirely for reinvestment (2 million dollars) and then some (450,00 dollars per year), used to hire two full-time people and funding a series of other energy efficiency projects on public buildings
-Much brighter than the old ones, interfered with chicken sleeping on one street (plastic jello over the top could dim?)

Greater emphasis on transforming the services already in place than providing new projects or programs - smaller city also means a smaller budget
-One option is combining message of many different cities when talking with utility power companies
-An example of this is an effort to raise awareness on a social marketing message about laundry and using cold water, which some people do not use.
-It can be good to use hot water in the high flu season with lots of children (or old people, presumably?), but basically, this is not an issue

“Coca-Cola doesn’t guess what people what when they are developing a new flavor” 
adopting better business practices can change a community for the better
learning how to green the goals of other people