Rochester HillsJune 26, 2012
City honored for leadership in sustainability
By Linda Shepard
C & G Staff Writer
ROCHESTER HILLS — City officials received national recognition for climate protection efforts with an honorable mention in an initiative sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Walmart recently.
“Rochester Hills has been a leader in Oakland County, and now we have national recognition,” said Tara Beatty, mayoral assistant. “Our employees do a phenomenal job of looking for ways we can increase our efficiencies.”
Sensors on light switches, energy-efficient park lights, UV protected windows and the city’s innovative Recyclebank program were cited as positive measures for sustainability. “They all help us control costs for energy expenses,” Beatty said. “All of these things came together for an extreme success for the city.”
The Climate Protection Awards program is currently 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 and announced the awards June 13 in Orlando.
In 2009, Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett challenged his staff to look for ways to save energy in city buildings through a “25 in 2” initiative designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save energy in city buildings by 25 percent in two years.
A primary source of funding for the city challenge involved a $642,700 Department of Energy grant. The program also encourages residents to conserve energy in their homes, with the city setting an example.
Climate Protection Awards officials also recognized Rochester Hills’ Recyclebank initiative. Recyclebank, which provides discounts and coupons to residents who recycle, was developed in 2009 to raise city recycling rates above 30 percent. Currently, 80 percent of Rochester Hills residents recycle.
“The city of Rochester Hills continues to be a leader in sustainability in Oakland County and now nationwide,” Barnett said in a statement. “Through our efforts we have been able to reduce the negative impact of greenhouse gas emissions by improving energy efficiencies. We are proud to receive this national recognition from the U.S. Conference of Mayors.”
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