Goal 20: Create a More Sustainable Louisville
Sustain Louisville seeks to protect the environment and reduce our carbon footprint by increasing green infrastructure and the tree canopy. The goal is to ensure the health, wellness and prosperity of all citizens and embed sustainability into the culture of the Louisville community.
Our intent is to make Louisville one of the nation’s greenest and most environmentally friendly cities.
In August 2015, Louisville was rated as a 4-STAR Community for its sustainability achievements. Louisville was the 13th community in the nation to be recognized with a 4-STAR rating out of nearly 100 communities actively using the STAR Community Rating System.
Initiative Health: What are we doing to accomplish this?
Louisville is on the EPA's list of top 25 cities with the most ENERGY STAR Certified buildings. The Office of Sustainability is promoting ENERGY STAR Certification through partnerships with the Louisville Energy Alliance and JCPS. Louisville Metro's 444 S. 5th St. building received ENERGY STAR Certification in August 2014, and the Old Jail Building (514 W. Liberty Street) received ENERGY STAR Certification in 2015.
This goal is tracked using monthly per capita electricity and natural gas consumption, converted to one metric measured in Million British thermal units (MMBtu). Data obtained from LG&E is normalized to account for typical energy consumption in response to weather patterns from 2009 and 2010. This is shown in the graph as the "Baseline Projection."
In FY2015, Louisville’s monthly per capita electricity consumption was 1% below baseline projections and per capita natural gas consumption was 1% below baseline projections, on average. Overall, Louisville’s FY2015 monthly per capita energy consumption was 1% below baseline projections, on average. The city has made some progress reducing energy consumption, but we are behind on our timeline for attaining a 25% reduction by 2025.
Georgia Institute of Technology, on behalf of Metro, is conducting an urban heat island study and developing a heat mitigation plan. The heat mitigation plan will identify heat mitigation strategies such as tree planting, white and green roofs and cool paving materials that will decrease the urban heat island effect. This project is funded through a $60,000 grant from the Funders' Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities and the Urban Sustainability Director's Network, as well as a $75,000 match from two local private foundations.
The urban heat island study will be released in 2016. A metric for this initiative is under development.
The Office of Sustainability launched a $100K green infrastructure incentive program in January 2015. The funds are distributed to non-residential, private-sector projects as matching money for Metropolitan Sewer District’s green infrastructure stipend program. Three $10K projects were completed in 2015, capturing water from 82,031 square feet of surface area (larger than two football fields) during each rainstorm.
Photo: Rain garden installed at YouthBuild Louisville with the Office of Sustainability's Green Infrastructure Incentive Program
The Tree Canopy Assessment released in March 2015 reported that Louisville is losing an estimated 54,000 trees annually. In 2012, the city's overall canopy coverage was 37%. Without the parks system, the amount of Louisville land covered by tree canopy was 30%. A Community Forestry Management Plan is under development to increase our tree canopy coverage across Jefferson County. In 2015, the Louisville Metro Tree Advisory Commission completed its work and submitted a set of recommendations for continued progress.
In July 2015, Louisville Metro formally established the Division of Community Forestry within the Office of Sustainability. The mission of the new division, which houses the city arborist and the community forestry supervisor, is to support and manage community forest infrastructure to promote a robust and healthy canopy for current and future generations.
In 2015, 8,169 trees were planted in Louisville, for a total of 24,379 trees since 2011. Numbers may adjust up or down as we continue to account for plantings by partner organizations and establish a more formal methodology for calculating tree survival rates. Bare root whips are counted at 10% to account for survival rates.