City of Lafayette
At a Glance
Sustainability and Energy Management Strategy
Katie Eisenbrown worked on annual greenhouse gas emissions tracking for the City of Lafayette.
The City of Lafayette, located next to Boulder, Colorado, is a fast-growing town of 28,000 people committed to reducing energy consumption and becoming a more sustainable community. The Lafayette Energy and Sustainability Advisory Committee (LESAC), formed in 2008 and made up of eight dedicated volunteers and three city liaisons, wanted to understand how its programs for residential energy reduction, renewable energy and green business awards were enabling them to achieve their goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 20 percent by 2020. Through grant money, the City hired EDF Climate Corps fellow Katie Eisenbrown to develop a plan to measure progress and enable future success.
Eisenbrown recognized that the City needed a way to measure and monitor yearly GHG emissions and to consistently track progress toward its goal. To develop a methodology that could be used year after year to evaluate progress toward the 2020 goal, she first communicated with city employees, regional municipalities and other environmental experts in the area and researched national and international protocols for calculating emissions. Eisenbrown then collected emissions data from Lafayette and Colorado agencies and leveraged the EDF Climate Corps network to bring valuable insight from cities across the nation.
The largest roadblocks turned out to be LESAC member turnover, file management and lack of resources. The City had developed a GHG inventory in 2007, but the data had not been updated in the intervening years. To ensure that the GHG inventory could be tracked on an ongoing basis, Eisenbrown delivered a consistent, repeatable, easy-to-use process that LESAC and City employees could use going forward. The process included a written methodology defining protocols, data sources and definitions and a detailed Excel workbook containing all the data collection and analysis calculations.
At the conclusion of the project, Eisenbrown gave the City a GHG calculator Excel-based tool and a methodology guide as deliverables. She also presented a few key recommendations to LESAC:
1. Designate an Inventory Manager whose role may be filled by an outside consultant or a City employee.
2. Revise the GHG emissions reduction goal and use 2015 as the base year.
3. Update and report GHG emissions annually.
4. Recalculate prior years’ emissions, as changes require.
With a sound method in place for collecting and calculating GHG emissions on an annual basis, the City should now be able to measure progress toward its GHG emissions reduction goal.