The City of Coral Gables has made environmental sustainability and adaptation and mitigation efforts to address climate change and sea level rise a top priority. This is evident in the City creating a 10-year sustainability master plan which outlines the City goals and objectives to decrease energy, water, fossil fuel use along with greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2025. Within the sustainability plan, there are renewable energy projects that include installing solar on a number of our existing facilities (installing solar thermal systems at our 3 fire stations and a 140 kWh solar system on our Youth Center). The City has also incorporated renewable energy and sustainability into its 3-year strategic plan which sets and tracks intermediate goals aimed at increasing operational efficiency while reducing environmental impacts.
Below are a few additional projects that the City has implemented that focus specifically on renewable energy:
- In July 2017, the City joined the Mayors for 100% clean energy campaign by pledging to obtain 100% renewable energy in Coral Gables and across the United States. Click here for a copy of Resolution 2017-160
- The City is also an original member of the Clean Energy Green Corridor Program, an initiative that allows commercial and residential property owners to implement energy efficiency upgrades through Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE)financing, making renewable energy and efficiency upgrades possible over the long term through a voluntary property tax assessment. The City quarterly tracks energy efficiency installations (solar, etc.). As of March 2017, over 200 projects have been completed at a value of almost $7 million.
- To further encourage energy efficiency and sustainable development the City passed a Green Building Ordinance in April 2016 that requires any new City Facility and/or any private development 20,000 square feet and above to be built to the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification or equivalent. In addition, the City has also waived all city permit fees for solar installations and streamlined the permitting process making it more affordable for residential and commercial properties to utilize renewable energy.
- The City was one of the 35 finalist cities in the 2018 Bloomberg Mayors Challenge. The City partnered with the University of Miami on creating a first of its kind Resilient Energy System (RES). RES is designed to harness renewable energy (solar), storing it in batteries and then distributing the power via smart software to critical emergency systems. This allows critical emergency services to continue without interruption furthering our ability to save lives all while producing zero carbon emissions.
- The City is currently working with a SolSmart Advisor to achieve the SolSmart Designation. SolSmart is a new national technical assistance and designation program, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, designed to recognize communities that have taken key steps to address local barriers to solar energy and foster the growth of mature local solar markets. The SolSmart program seeks to address “solar soft costs,” or business process or administrative costs that can increase the time and money it takes to install a solar energy system.
As is evident above, the City of Coral Gables is committed to transitioning our operations to renewable energy. In conjunction, the City is encouraging the community to transition as well.
***Upgrade your Home or Business’s Energy Efficiency with PACE Financing***
Did you know that as a resident or commercial business in the City of Coral Gables you may qualify for financing to make improvements to your buildings that can lower utility bills, reduce annual repair and maintenance costs, decrease insurance premiums and increase the property’s market value? The City of Coral Gables is a member of the Clean Energy Green Corridor Program, an initiative currently available for commercial and residential property owners to implement energy efficiency upgrades through Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing.
PACE financing allows residential or commercial property owners to finance renewable energy and efficiency upgrades over the long term through a voluntary property tax assessment. Eligible improvements may include solar panels, hurricane windows and shutters, roof strengthening measures, air conditioning and heating systems, water heaters, weatherproofing, insulation, pool pumps and much more. These improvements, in turn, can lower utility bills, increase the home’s value, lower hurricane insurance costs, and improve the quality of the residence.