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A significant step towards living Council’s goal of 100% renewable energy by 2035
The City of Fredericksburg Government and City Schools Administration held a meeting with Virginia state officials and private vendors on Thursday, February 4th in advance of issuing a request for proposals to analyze and reduce energy consumption in City buildings. This joint Fredericksburg City Government and City Schools effort meets City Council’s sustainability commitments by working to increase energy efficiency and lower carbon emissions while providing cost savings to tax payers.
In December 2019, City Council adopted the 100% Renewable Energy Resolution and committed to the goal of powering municipal operations with 100% renewable energy by 2035, or earlier. At that time, Council endorsed the efforts of City Schools and the City Government to pursue solar energy for public buildings. Additionally, they encouraged partnerships with Fossil Free Fredericksburg, the City’s Clean & Green Commission, the Commonwealth of Virginia and federal resources to pursue the use of clean energy.
“We value and respect all our City buildings and are excited to work in partnership with the City Government to best serve all our citizens with the valuable resources entrusted in us. This is an important initiative to reduce energy use now and in the future as one community and to assist Council with their 2035 goal,” said Superintendent of Schools Marceline Catlett.
The City and the Schools are beginning the process of contracting with a qualified energy services company to assist the City and the Schools with evaluating potential improvements to City and School facilities. The contract would take advantage of future savings from energy efficiency improvements to help finance the up-front costs of the improvements. The City and Schools are consulting with officials of the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy, who have state-wide experience with these type of contracts. Last weeks’ meeting was the first step in requesting proposals from qualified energy services companies and negotiating an agreement to engage in a project.
“City schools and government teams have been monitoring energy usage and implementing efficiency upgrades in buildings over the last 10 years and 20 years, respectively. By entering into a formal energy performance contract for city government and city schools buildings we advance our abilities to get more serious near term on energy efficiency - pursuing solar energy, power purchase agreements, and other green energy alternatives. This is a significant step towards living Council’s goal of 100% renewable energy by 2035,” stated City Manager Tim Baroody. “I will also be recommending the hire of a sustainability manager in the coming fiscal year to further advance our efforts,” he continued.
The City also recently announced a review of the potential use of hybrid vehicles by the Fredericksburg Police Department’s by Virginia Clean Cities, the results of which are expected later this month. The City will plan to purchase hybrid Police vehicles for the Police Department beginning in FY 2022 as part of a pilot project.
The City and community of Fredericksburg have already demonstrated leadership on environmental and climate issues through local solar energy projects pursued at Riverfront Park, by the Thurman Brisben Center and at the FredNats stadium. Other efforts include adoption of an ordinance (C-PACE) to help local businesses finance energy efficiency projects; participating in the George Washington Planning Region’s Climate, Environment and Readiness (CLEAR) Plan; partnering with Tree Fredericksburg to enhance and manage the City’s urban forest, among many other important initiatives.
“The City Government and City Schools are on the right path. They want to meet Council’s goal of transitioning municipal operations to renewable energy by 2035. It is a good first step to maximize building energy efficiency in advance of pursing solar energy. The Thurman Brisben Center, our local homeless shelter, took this approach. By reducing their energy demand first, most of their energy now comes from the solar panels on their roof,” stated Clean and Green Commission Chairman Robert Courtnage.