Top environmentally active city Santa Monica is a leader in sustainable changes in the nation. First, starting with the Sustainable City Plan, which was first proposed in 1992 and 1994, and now, it aims for complete energy independence by 2020 with the help of its newly adopted Community Energy Independence Initiative, which was approved in March 2006.
What Is The Community Energy Independence Initiative?
The Community Energy Independence Initiative (CEII) is a city-wide program that plans to optimize the solar potential of rooftops across the city, develop comprehensive energy efficiency, and utilize distributed generation, such as microturbines and fuel cells.
Overall, the CEII helps the city of Santa Monica have greater control over energy costs, improves the reliability of electric resources, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, reduces smog, reduces the need for centralized power plants, achieves Sustainable City Plan goals, and creates a net-zero energy city.
Its proposed energy efficiency changes can achieve an overall savings of 38% in electricity and 34% in gas consumption, and solar initiatives are the forefront of this innovative plan. It also has a plan for each building type – how to improve overall efficiency, how to implement solar power, what resources are needed, and beyond.
The Sustainable City Plan’s Principles & Goals
The CEII’s aggressive plan will help to achieve the Sustainable City Plan’s overall goals, which has eleven Guiding Principles that it makes decisions from, including:
- Sustainability Guides City Policy
- Protection, Preservation, and Restoration of the Natural Environment is a High Priority of the City
- Environmental Quality, Economic Health and Social Equity are Mutually Dependent
- All Decisions Have Implications to the Long-term Sustainability of Santa Monica
- Community Awareness, Responsibility, Participation and Education are Key Elements of a Sustainable Community
- Santa Monica Recognizes Its Linkage with the Regional, National, and Global Community
- Those Sustainability Issues Most Important to the Community Will be Addressed First, and the Most Cost-Effective Programs and Policies Will be Selected
- The City is Committed to Procurement Decisions which Minimize Negative Environmental and Social Impacts
- Cross-sector Partnerships Are Necessary to Achieve Sustainable Goals
- The Precautionary Principle Provides a Complimentary Framework to Help Guide City Decision-Makers in the Pursuit of Sustainability
- Santa Monica is Committed to Sustainable Rights for its Residents, Natural Communities and Ecosystems
Along with these, the city of Santa Monica’s overall resource conservation goals for the Sustainable City Plan include:
- Significantly decreasing overall community consumption, focusing on non-local, non-renewable, non-recyclable and non-recycled materials, water, energy, and fuels.
- Taking a leadership role in encouraging sustainable procurement, extended producer responsibility, and modeling innovative strategies to become a zero waste city.
- Encouraging the use of local, non-polluting, renewable and recycled resources within renewable limits.
Its resource conservation goals have specific targets for 2020 for solid waste, water use, energy use, renewable energy use, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, ecological footprint, and green construction. The Sustainable City Plan also outlines goals and targets for environmental and public health, transportation, sustainable local economy, open space and land use, housing, community education and civic participation, human dignity, and arts and culture.
The Community Energy Independence Initiative and the Sustainable City Plan are truly groundbreaking and leading forces for sustainability practices across our nation, and it is something Santa Monica residents and government should be proud to work towards.
To learn more about the goals, plan, and principles of the Sustainable City Plan, click the link to view the 30-page plan.