by Lan Nguyen
The United States Environmental Protection Agency officially recognized Evanston as a “Green Power Community” in October. Evanston is now one of 56 communities nationwide that have partnered with the EPA and have met a required amount of green power usage.
In the past year, 30.3 percent of Evanston’s total electricity usage came from green electricity sources. This figure includes renewable resources, such as wind, solar, and geothermal energy. The EPA has different green power requirements for cities based on their net energy consumption in order to be recognized as a Green Power Community. Evanston, a relatively low energy consumer, had a three percent green power requirement. The city far exceeded this minimum, with 228 million kilowatt-hours of energy originating from green sources.
Northwestern University contributed to this accomplishment by purchasing renewable energy certificates, which account for 38 percent of the campus’ energy use.
Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, who received the Mayors’ Climate Protection Award in 2011, recognized Evanston’s status as a Green Power Community as the result of a collaborative effort.
“Earning the EPA’s Green Power Community designation is truly a testament to the collective efforts of our residents, businesses and staff, and is another step forward in achieving the City’s emissions-reduction goals,” Tisdahl said in a press release.
Receiving recognition for achievements in sustainability is not new for the city of Evanston. Earlier this year, Evanston became the second city in the nation to receive a 4-STAR Community Rating.
The STAR (Sustainability Tools for Assessing and Rating) program measures achievements in sustainability through economic, environmental, and social aspects. This includes access to parks, efficient energy usage, green transportation and more.
These accomplishments show significant progress in reaching Evanston’s Climate Action Plan goals. The initiative, launched in 2008 by Citizen’s Greener Evanston, aims for a 20 percent reduction of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2016, based off of 2005 emissions levels.