I just had my candidate interview with the local Sierra Club, and it made me think more specifically about environmental issues we have addressed on the Board of Aldermen.  Much of what we do has an environmental “bent” (for example, providing our transit system reduces our dependence on gasoline, approving enhanced buffer regulations improves the quality of our water, up fitting homes and businesses so that they are more energy-efficient results in less use of electricity and gas).  So, here is a list of several action items we have approved on the Board within the last year that I believe directly reflects our long-standing Board policy of preserving and protecting our environment:

-We have spent a great amount of time on our local and regional transit and greenway plans.

-We received a $74,000 grant from the Southeastern Energy Alliance/U.S. Department of Energy (in partnership with the Town of Chapel Hill),  implemented our Carrboro WISE (“Worthwhile Investments Save Energy”) program (approving the design of a residential retrofit program), and approved our first energy efficiency revolving loan.

-We approved various developments under our stalwart Land Use Ordinance, including a unique development (Veridia) that is proposed to be LEED certified with many environmental features, such as a solar photovoltaic array to offset community electrical usage, solar water heaters, a rainwater capture and reuse water system and a community garden.

-We have encouraged walking and biking by the construction of sidewalks and bike lanes.

-We constructed a new Town fire station, complete with many environmental features such as extensive use of daylighting, energy-efficient lighting, flushless toilets and a solar water heater.

-We filed a bill in the North Carolina General Assembly to ask to operate under the new N.C. Building Code requirements (these will contain required energy efficiency standards) a year early.  The new requirements are scheduled to take effect in 2012; we asked to have them effective for us in 2011 (unfortunately, the bill has not moved forward).

-We approved and supported Town staff’s participation in environmental restoration efforts along the Bolin Creek Watershed and Baldwin Park.

-We authorized and received a comprehensive Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report (prepared by a class at the University of North Carolina), a report analyzing community and municipal GHG emissions and ways to reduce these.

-We have been working to improve protection of the riparian buffers and streams that flow into Jordan Lake by making revisions to our ordinances, pursuant to the Jordan Lake Rules.

I am proud of this work we have done and know that we will continue these types of efforts.