Overview of Sustainability in Louisville

Sustain Louisville, the city's sustainability plan, guides the efforts of the Office of Sustainability and its partners to help meet Mayor Fischer's goal to create a more sustainable Louisville. Below is a list of accomplishments that have been achieved as staff and community members work towards achieving the goals and initiatives in Sustain Louisville.  

International Recognition

  • Prince Charles visitLouisville was selected to participate in the 100 Resilience Cities Network, an international program pioneered by the Rockefellar Foundation to help cities prepare residents for changes in climate. Louisville is developing a plan to alleviate inequities and prevent future burdens from being placed unevenly on already suffering populations.
  • In 2015, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall visited Louisville to acknowledge the city's sustainability efforts, highlight successful programs to increase access to local foods, and recognize the community’s efforts to maintain stringent air quality standards. 

National Ratings and Rankings

Community-wide Sustainability Achievements

  • Mayor Fischer signed the Compact of Mayors, now known as the Global Covenant of Mayors. The signature reaffirmed Louisville’s commitment to reducing citywide contributions to climate change while preparing for the impacts of rising global temperatures and changing weather patterns. Mayor Fischer also signed the We're Still In letter, committing Louisville to pursue the requirements outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement, regardless of national leadership decisions..
  • Zero BusThe Transit Authority of River City (TARC) operates 15 electric buses, one of the largest fleets in the country. The fleet also contains 11 hybrid-electric buses and 28 clean-diesel buses.
  • Although Kentucky heavily relies on coal as a fuel source, the local utility is taking steps to diversify. In 2015, LG&E decommissioned its coal-fired Cane Run Power Plant and unveiled a new 640-megawatt natural gas combined-cycle generating unit, replacing 13 percent of the utility’s energy production from coal-fired units. Solar is an increasing focus for LG&E, as well. 
  • In response to a study published by Georgia Tech’s Urban Climate Lab showing that Louisville has the most rapidly growing urban heat in the country, Louisville published the most comprehensive urban heat management study to-date. The document reports the results of an analysis of heat in ½ kilometer grid cells across the country. 
  • Louisville Metro Government offers the most robust cool roof program in the nation at $1 per square foot of cool roof for both commercial and residential structures. The incentives are available city-wide, but are targeted in high-heat areas. 
  • The Wet-Dry Recycling and Composting Program operates in Louisville’s Central Business District. The program, developed out of the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Innovation Delivery Team, improved landfill diversion rates from 11% to 76% during the first nine months of the program. Diversion rates remain steady at 80%. The highest diversion rate achieved with the program is 91%. These results are unachievable in most communities. The program is also in place at the Louisville Zoo, Waterfront Park and the Metro Youth Detention Center. More expansion sites are in the works. 
  • Bicycling as a form of transportation and recreation is becoming more and more accessible. The Louisville Loop, a 100-mile bike and pedestrian path is under construction. When complete, the Louisville Loop will encircle the city and connect the city’s Olmsted Parks. Over 100 miles of bikes lanes and shared lane markings are present throughout the city, and more are planned. The city’s relatively flat landscape makes bicycle commuting easy and fun. LouVelo, the city's bike share program, offers bikes in the downtown area to visitors and locals alike.

Municipal Sustainability Achievements

Solar panels on Metro Development Center