New Scorecard Ranks Pittsburghs Energy Efficiency

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By Randi Petrello

Pittsburgh needs to get a little greener to rank among the most energy-efficient cities, according to a new report.

The scorecard, created by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, ranked 34 major U.S. cities on their efforts in buildings, transportation, energy and water utility programs, local government operations and community-wide initiatives. Cities were given scores out of a maximum of 100.

Pittsburgh, which ranked No. 25 on the list, received a score of 34.25. The city scored poorly for local government operations, building policies and transportation policies, and performed the best at community-wide initiatives.

“A lot of cities are trying their best to move toward being energy neutral,” said Jim Sloss, Pittsburgh’s Assistant Director of City Information Systems. “But it requires a lot of funding and policies.”

Sloss said Pittsburgh has a lot of initiatives underway to make the city more energy efficient, including its LED streetlight program, which replaces streetlights with LED bulbs to cut electricity usage by 60 percent.

Electricity for streetlights is the biggest bill the city receives at about $100,000 per month. Savings from such projects go into a trust fund to further more energy-saving programs, he said.

The city is also part of a “better building challenge” to cut energy usage to city-owned facilities, Sloss said. Some buildings are getting high-efficiency boilers, new roofs, lighting and even solar panels to increase efficiency.

Boston was No. 1 on the list, with 76.7 points, followed by Portland, Ore., 70 points; New York, 69.7 points; San Francisco, 69.7 points; Seattle, 65.2 points; Austin, 62 points; Washington, D.C., 56 points; Minneapolis, 55.2 points; Chicago, 54.7 points; and Philadelphia, 54.5 points. Denver came in at No. 11 on the list, with 52.7 points.

Portland did the best in transportation, Seattle performed well for its building policies, and San Francisco and Boston did best for utility benefit programs, according to USA Today.

First Published September 23, 2013 9:15 AM


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