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  • Richard Boyce's avatar
    Richard Boyce 11/20/2021 6:08 AM
    Dear Richard Boyce,
    Given the many challenges of the past two years, we want to extend a special thank you for your continued engagement and commitment to environmental reporting.
    Limiting global warming to 1.5°C is critical and with the impacts of climate change being felt by cities and their inhabitants across the globe it is encouraging to see that City of Columbus, IN is playing its part in the transition to a sustainable economy that works for people and planet.
    CDP has now reviewed your response and is pleased to provide you with a private score based on our 2021 scoring methodology, along with feedback and guidance tailored to your city’s scoring level.
    For 2021, your city has achieved an overall score of:
    Score | Scoring band | Score description
    D- | Disclosure | Your city has started disclosing data illustrating your understanding of climate change and the importance of reducing its impacts. Your city clearly understands the value of collecting data to drive climate action and we appreciate that you have taken the time to collect this important information and share it in a transparent manner with the world.
    CDP can offer support and resources which you may benefit from as you work towards improving your score for next year’s reporting. Here are some examples:
    ◥    Attached in this email is your city’s 2021 Snapshot report which summarizes the data you reported and can be used to identify gaps in your city climate action planning
    ◥    Our Next Steps document provides further guidance to address these gaps, and links to useful case studies, reports, datasets, and tools available to improve your city’s climate action and increase your CDP score when you report next year
    ◥    Listen to our webinars and learn about useful tips on reporting and understand how cities are building a resilient and climate safe future
    ◥    Use CDP’s Open Data Portal for free to access the latest publicly reported data from cities to explore how your peers are managing their emissions and building resilience to climate change
    We would be happy to arrange a free score feedback call to explain your score further and help you identify areas of improvement for next year’s reporting. Score feedback calls are available from 1 December through February 2022. If you would like one, please email by 31 January 2022 at the latest so we can put your city on the schedule. 
    Please note that we will be offering this service on a first come first serve basis to a limited number of cities, should this be of interest.
     We have seen that out of the cities that were scored this year and received a D or D- last year, 35% improved their overall score. We hope that we can work with you again and together we can drive climate action further and faster.
    Tell us about your reporting experience

    We would value feedback on your experience reporting through the CDP-ICLEI Unified Reporting System in 2021. Please complete this short survey, of eight questions, designed to understand your thoughts on engagement and support with reporting, your data and insight needs, and the benefits of reporting. Follow thelink to access the survey.

    Thank you for being part of the transition to a sustainable world.
    Kind regards,  
    CDP Cities and ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability 

    CDP is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization. Our vision is a sustainable global economy that works for people and planet, with vibrant resilient cities. We look forward to working with you to make that vision a reality.   
    ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network of more than 2,500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development. Active in 125 countries, we influence sustainability policy and drive local action for low emission, nature-based, equitable, resilient and circular development. 

  • Reflection Question
    Food, Agriculture, and Land Use Keep Track of Wasted Food
    An average American throws out about 240 lbs of food per year. The average family of four spends $1,500 a year on food that they throw out. Where would you rather use this money?

    Shirley Adams's avatar
    Shirley Adams 11/03/2021 9:07 AM
    composting really helps me see what is wasted. and also uses it to improve the soil.
  • Reflection Question
    Transportation Use Muscle Power
    How do your transportation choices affect your engagement in your community? Does your experience or enjoyment differ while walking, riding transit, biking or driving?

    Shirley Adams's avatar
    Shirley Adams 11/03/2021 9:05 AM
    walking to and from church is meditative

  • Linda Iwamuro's avatar
    Linda Iwamuro 10/08/2021 5:01 AM
    Are the rest of my restaurant fish sandwich and tater tots that I doggy bagged home.

  • Linda Iwamuro's avatar
    Linda Iwamuro 10/06/2021 6:26 AM
    Reminders help to keep this on my plate.

  • Richard Boyce's avatar
    Richard Boyce 9/01/2021 3:33 AM
    Our Columbus Team may be getting help from Cummins! 

  • Richard Boyce's avatar
    Richard Boyce 8/23/2021 6:09 AM

  • Richard Boyce's avatar
    Richard Boyce 8/21/2021 6:14 AM

    The numbers are in, solar panels working as intended

    Adopting the title of “The Solar City” comes with high expectations of performance results. Since 2017, the City of North Vernon has been nurturing its solar energy project — which included 24 community solar installations of over 550 LED streetlights and 7000 panels — to the protestation of some community members who either thought it was too big a risk and/or that the $5.399 million loan the city took out in order to fund the project could have been put to better use elsewhere in North Vernon.
    Thus far, Mayor Mike Ochs has given his recounting of the solar project’s conception and City Council member and electrician Trent Wisner broke down how the solar panels function and operate.
    That’s all well and good when you know what it’s “supposed” to do, but will it actually deliver?
    Well, the good news is for all concerned — the City of North Vernon’s solar energy project is, indeed, working as intended.
    “The results have been what I expected,” said Clerk-Treasurer Shawn Gerkin. “The problem is that there are people that didn’t understand the project, so their view is not as positive.”
    Gerkin explained that the main misconception is that all the electric bills for the city would go to zero. Those familiar with the project, he says, knew that wasn’t going to be the case, as there were some locations where solar didn’t make sense: i.e. a sewer lift station in the middle of a wood area shaded by trees or the lack of room on the Carnegie Building roof to put in enough panels to reduce that location’s bills to zero.
    “We also knew there were some locations where electrical usage had increased since the test year in 2015,” Gerkin said.
    For example, an entire wing of the ETC Building that is now being used by Rescare was empty six years ago and the quarry project with the new water pumping system was not taken into account because it didn’t exist yet. Those locations were designed to reduce those bills to zero based off of usage in 2015, not the increased usage in 2021.
    In short, the guarantee on the project was that the panels would generate 2.8 million kilowatt-hours (KWH) annually, not that all bills would go to zero or that the city would “save” any money.
    The project was also more than just solar; a large section of the project was the installation of LED lights in all buildings and streetlights, thus reducing energy usage. LEDs have many advantages over incandescent light sources, including lower power consumption, longer lifetime, improved physical robustness, smaller size, and faster switching. The streetlights in the city, which are owned by Duke Energy, cost the city approximately $9000 a month prior to replacing the bulbs. They now cost less than $4000 per month.
    Initial project costs were, as mentioned above, $5.3 million, so Gerkin had to come up with a financial plan when it came time to initiate the project.
    “I was concerned the debt of this project would affect the city’s ability to borrow money for the [City] Park’s pool project that was just beginning to be talked about,” Gerkin revealed. “As it turned out, there was a legal way to come up with a guaranteed energy savings contract that pledged annually appropriated monies for electric payments for repayment that didn’t count as debt against the city.”
    The problem was, he continued, to his knowledge, it had never been done in Indiana.
    Johnson-Mellow Solutions, the company partnering with the city on the solar project, initially provided them with an out-of-state bank willing to finance the conversion at an interest rate of 3.65%. The clerk-treasurer opted to pursue other quotes for the 16.5-year loan but found that most institutions he approached were not interested or willing to fund the solar project.
    Gerkin eventually talked with Kevin Gabbard at the Seymour branch of MainSource, now First Financial, and found an institution ready to work with this cutting edge approach to energy conservation with an economical interest rate of 2.45%.
    The lower interest rate obtained by Gerkin’s initiative will save North Vernon over $600,000 over the course of the loan.
    So how does that work?
    Prior to the project, the city would budget $125,000 for payments of streetlights and $150,000 for electrical payments at the sewer plant. They still have to annually appropriate the same amount of money per the contract. Now, however, the city streetlights are only $50,000 and electric at the sewer plant is only $20,000.
    The money “saved” is then used to make the semiannual payments on the loan. The same process is used for the NVETC, the water plant, the police station, the fire station, and other buildings utilizing the solar panels.
    “The real savings comes in 13 years when the project is paid off,” Gerkin said. “The next generation will have an additional $400,000 or more to spend on something positive for the city because the loan will be paid off and the electrical bills will remain next-to-nothing. Again, the bills aren’t zero as the naysayers might tell you, but the project is certainly working!”

  • Richard Boyce's avatar
    Richard Boyce 8/10/2021 4:56 PM
    EMCC Agenda
    Tuesday, August 10, 2021
    (via Zoom)
    6-7:30 PM
    Current Board Members:   
    Elected Feb 2020 and ending Jan 2022:  Michelle Carr, Cathy Caldie, Josh D'Anna, Tim Kelly, Steve Forster
    Elected Feb 2021 and ending Jan 2023:  Barry Kastner, Dennis Baute, Sharon Krieg
    2021 Officers:  Dennis Baute, Pres., Josh D’Anna, VP, Barry Kastner, Treas., Sharon Krieg, Sec.
    Tim Kelley, Mail Chimp Champ, and Michelle Carr, Social Media Star

    • Annual dues ($20) can be sent to EMCC, c/o Barry Kastner, 660 Terrace Lake Drive, Columbus, Indiana 47201.
    • Minutes/Treasurer’s Report – Sharon/Barry
    • City Ethnic Expo Waste/Composting Project – Kelly Geckler
    • City Sustainability Initiative – Dick Boyce
    • Policy Advocacy with Legislature/Sen. Koch – Mike Mullett
    • Duke IRP Project – Barry Kastner
    • Liability Insurance – Any interest?
    • Calendar Items/Announcements

  • Richard Boyce's avatar
    Richard Boyce 8/10/2021 4:15 PM
    Attended the Energy Matters meeting via Zoom. Updates on Recycling, City Sustainability Initiative, policy advocacy, & Duke IRP Project.