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Economic, Equitable and Environmental Strategies

Moab has a long history of promoting sustainable practices through numerous resolutions, ordinances, plans, projects and internal policies. This month Moab’s draft Ten Year Sustainability Plan is available for review. The Plan expands upon existing goals (i.e., renewable energy, greenhouse gas reductions and water conservation) and examines the interrelationship between people, resources, the environment and development with the goal of protecting and enhancing Spanish Valley. It reflects the continued expression of the community’s resolve to act sustainably: to systematically, creatively, and thoughtfully utilize environmental, social, and economic resources to meet present needs and those of future generations without compromising the ecosystems on which we depend. The Plan includes ten priority goals:
• Sustainability, Adaptation & Mitigation
• Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency
• Water Quantity and Quality
• Waste Reduction & Diversion
• Active Transportation
• Education & Engagement
• Health, Well-Being & Equity
• Biodiversity & Tree Canopy
• Funding & Purchasing
• Local Food
During my first year at the City, I have concentrated my efforts on water and energy conservation efforts and establishing baseline data so that we can set and track measureable goals. Unfortunately, in spite of setting a 20% energy reduction goal in 2008, the energy consumption use has increased by 34% over the last 17 years. I haven’t calculated water use over time but have examined current water use by sector (i.e., residential: 52%, commercial: 19%, hotels: 18%, parks/cemeteries: 5% and loses: 6%. Given that the scale of change we seek is immense and our impact has steadily increased new strategies, resources and engagement are critical.

Buildings can account for between 40% and 75% of community-level greenhouse gas emissions in Utah. Given that many impactful and cost-effective opportunities exist to reduce energy use (and associated greenhouse gases) in buildings that is where most of my time has been spent so that we can create a 100% renewable electricity system. As community-wide electricity consumption is reduced, the amount of renewable electricity needed by the community is also lowered, making it easier to achieve a 100% renewable electricity scenario. In the past 1.5 years, our percentage of renewable energy has increased from 1.2 % (percentage for approximately a decade) to nearly 6% thanks to efforts by many businesses that have joined the Green to Gold Sustainability Program and have completed lighting retrofits. Another impactful strategy has been industrial and residential subscribers to RMP’s Blue Sky Program. In the next year, I plan to establish a local sustainability program that citizens can contribute to and receive funding from to implement conservation projects.

Beyond the prodigious role that the build environment plays, sustainability efforts need to address resilience, carbon neutrality, watershed health, community vitality, regeneration and triple bottom line thinking (i.e. social, economic and environmental). In order for the goals to be more than words in a City Plan, Council and citizens will need to dedicate substantial time and resources to educate, assist and support the priority strategies. Thanks to all the community members, non-profits, board members and business leaders that have provided input into the plan. The Plan will be available March 1st at, the Sustainability Office, 2nd floor, City Hall, the library, Red Rock Bakery and USU. Please provide any comments by March 15th to or drop off comments at City Hall.

For more info:

Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE)

Looking to modernize an existing building or build a new energy-efficient building? Need to replace outdated equipment?

The City of Moab and Grand County are now designated as C-PACE (Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy) Districts. This state program provides affordable, long-term private financing for energy efficiency, water efficiency, and renewable energy projects, as well as seismic retrofits, and other improvements for commercial and industrial buildings. C-PACE also has a U-Save program for schools and local government buildings.

Business owners, developers, school and government representatives are encouraged to learn about the C-PACE program and how to can use the program’s innovative financing to install energy-efficient improvements.
Features of the C-PACE program include:
• Up to 100 percent financing (soft and hard costs)
• Projects are typically cash-flow positive
• Long-term financing (up to 30 years)
• Lower utility bills

C-PACE financing is available through private capital providers, giving participants the opportunity to select the best loan terms. There is no money down and typically, no personal guarantee is required. In well-designed projects, the energy cost savings may actually outweigh the C-PACE payments, improving net operating income.

For more information about C-PACE contact
Moab City Sustainability Director Rosemarie Russo,, or call her at 304-584-3741.
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