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Letter: Encourage Green Growth

— To the Editor:

The city has adopted a plan to reduce greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming by 20 percent by the year 2020, as compared to 2005 levels. At that time, 25 percent of the energy is supposed to be generated by renewable sources like solar or geothermal. The targets for 2050 are much higher: an 80 percent drop in greenhouse gas emissions (like carbon dioxide from coal fired electricity) and an equivalent increase in the amount of our energy derived from cleaner renewable sources.

This is a laudable albeit a difficult challenge, and will require us to ratchet up our standards and expectations of commercial projects. Take the Sheet Metal building along the waterfront near Oronoco Bay Park that is being converted into high priced condos. I believe that this building had working solar panels on its roof at one time and there is no reason that I know of that we cannot make certain that such projects include renewable energy as part of their energy use plan. Geothermal heat pumps perhaps too.

Perhaps we need to revise the city’s zoning ordinance too, so we have more teeth to “encourage” such steps in cases of “by right” renovation — in concert with our green building efforts, and preservation of affordable housing too. We should become a green city for reasons of economics and for reasons of global concern. Targets are great but public policy requires great planning and reasonable regulation that has an economic, social and environmental value too.

Andrew Macdonald

Independent candidate for mayor