Hills awarded for climate protection efforts

The City of Rochester Hills was honored for two environmental initiatives during the 2012 Mayors’ Climate Protection Awards June 13 in Orlando, Florida. The program sponsored by The U.S. Conference of Mayors and Walmart.

The city received an honorable mention for Mayor Bryan Barnett’s “25 in 2” initiative. Barnett challenged city staff to look for ways to save energy in city buildings, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save on the energy used in city buildings by 25 percent in 2 years. The city received funding from the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant. The city program included an Energy Enhancement and Awareness component to encourage residents to do the same in their homes, with the city setting an example for its residents with its city buildings.

The city’s Recyclebank initiative was also recognized by the conference. The program was developed in 2009 to raise residential recycling rates above 30 percent. Now, with 80 percent of all households recycling, solid waste costs for city residents are lower and Recyclebank provides discounts and coupons to residents, including allowing residents cash out their savings to generate resources for green projects throughout the city.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more.  The Climate Protection Awards program is in its sixth year and recognizes mayors for innovative practices in their cities that increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. An independent panel of judges selected the winners from a pool of more than 100 applicants.

“These awards prove that cities large and small are making extra efforts to launch innovative programs to protect our environment,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

“The City of Rochester Hills continues to be a leader in sustainability in Oakland County, and now nationwide,” Barnett said. “Through our efforts we have been able to reduce the negative impact of greenhouse gas emissions by improving energy efficiencies.”

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