Chicago Skyline

Cities Commit to Major Changes to Battle Climate Change

Chicago, Boston and Long Beach vote to undertake actions to minimize greenhouse gas emissions from facility construction and operations.   October 5, 2022

By Dan Hounsell, Senior Editor 

As climate change continues to intensify the impact of natural disasters, the nation’s major cities and their facilities are committing to large-scale actions designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to mitigate the effects of climate change. Among the recent commitments are these. 

In Chicago, the city recently announced a five-year agreement with Constellation Energy to purchase 100 percent renewable energy for all city-owned facilities and operations by 2025. In 2025, Chicago will begin partially sourcing energy from a new, 593 MW solar installation that Constellation partner Swift Current Energy will develop. Initially, it will partially power high-energy-consumption facilities, such as airports, the central library and a water purification plant. The city also will purchase renewable energy credits from other sources for some power consumption, such as at small and medium-sized buildings and for streetlights. 

In Boston, the city council recently voted to sign up for the state’s new pilot program banning fossil fuels from most new construction except labs and hospitals. The move is the first step in a process that could ultimately make New England’s largest city part of an innovative experiment designed to help mitigate climate change. 

In Long Beach, California, the city council unanimously approved its long-awaited plan to drastically reduce local greenhouse gas emissions in the hopes of lessening the worst effects of climate change, including extreme heat and sea level rise, on Long Beach. 

The Long Beach Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) is a nearly 900-page document that lays out a path for the city to meet the state’s emissions benchmarks, which were first laid out in 2016. 

The CAAP is “the most significant” climate action that this city council will take, possibly since the city’s founding, Mayor Robert Garcia said. 

Dan Hounsell is senior editor of the facilities market. He has more than 25 years of experience writing about facilities maintenance, engineering and management. 


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