US Mayors reiterate commitment to Paris Agreement and city energy efficiency improvements

Reading time: 6 minutes
6 July 2017

Miami: The largest gathering of elected US state officials took place in Miami Beach last week, with US Mayors reaffirming their commitment to the Paris Agreement and bold climate targets.

The United States Conference of Mayors’ 85th Annual Meeting was held from June 23-26 and a statement was released in the build-up confirming opposition to President Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris accord. The statement also reiterated their ambitious plans on energy efficiency measures.

In two consecutive years, city lighting and light emitting diode (LED) systems have been ranked as the number one energy efficiency priority action for US cities. Mayors have repeated their support for efficient lighting upgrades and cities across the US are showing leadership in promoting renewable electricity, low carbon transportation, and energy efficiency, according to the preliminary results of the 2017 survey.

At the forefront of climate action

At the conference, Mayors from more than 250 municipalities unanimously backed a resolution to achieve an ambitious goal of powering cities using 100% renewable energy by 2035. The Mayors stated that municipalities have been at the forefront of climate action, and the recent announcements from the White House have made cities and their citizens more determined to address climate change.

The Mayors adopted a resolution to support a cities-driven plan to reverse climate change, which included a commitment to supporting energy efficiency block grants. One of the major barriers to the adoption of LED streetlighting by cities can be the high up-front costs; therefore having access to suitable energy efficiency grants could significantly reduce this obstacle. 

Wider benefits

Street lighting can account for up to 40% of a cities electricity bill, therefore Mayors are keen to take advantage of the 50-70% energy savings; but they are also aware of the wider socio-economic benefits. These include; the upgrading of ageing city infrastructure, boosting the nighttime economy, and looking towards future Smart City opportunities.

Representatives from The Climate Group’s LED Scale-Up partner Philips Lighting presented at the conference on the topics of ‘Imagining Future Cities Today’, including connected lighting and new Smart City services. LED streetlights can be a key element as the underlying infrastructure for the trialing and adoption of Smart City initiatives.

Staying connected

Incorporating city lighting with a Centralized Management System (CMS) can play a key role in asset management and controlling and monitoring streetlights remotely. Smart controls can also be installed to ensure streetlights are used optimally, such as dimming when no cars or pedestrians are present and adjusting operating hours if natural light levels are sufficient.

As well as ensuring smarter lighting system for cities, connected lighting can support numerous other services to enable cities to gather a vast array of information to help them become more efficient. For example, sensors can monitor weather conditions, air quality, and pedestrian and road traffic.

With the current uncertainty in the US around national energy and climate policy, it is clear that city Mayors are determined to deliver economy-boosting energy efficient infrastructure improvements and they will work to ensure that climate change commitments are met.

Find out more about The Climate Group’s global LED consultation work here.

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