Monday, November 20, 2017

City Designated SolSmart Silver for Advancing Solar Energy Growth

The City of Richmond received a silver designation from the national SolSmart program for taking bold steps to remove obstacles to solar development and encourage solar energy growth during the 2017 National League of Cities (NLC) City Summit which took place Nov. 15-18 in Charlotte, NC.

SolSmart is led by the Solar Foundation and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). It is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative. More than 100 cities, counties and small towns have achieved SolSmart designation since the program launched in 2016.

To receive designation, cities and counties make changes to their local permitting processes, as well as planning and zoning procedures, to reduce the time and money it takes to install a solar energy system. SolSmart designees may also develop innovations in areas such as market development and finance.

“SolSmart designation is part of our RVAgreen 2050 initiative to reduce community greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050,” said Mayor Levar M. Stoney. “As a SolSmart Silver designee, we’re helping our residents and businesses obtain affordable, reliable and clean electricity through solar. We’ve also signaled our community is open for solar companies to do business here, which drives economic development and creates local jobs.”

SolSmart uses objective criteria to award communities points based on the actions they take to reduce barriers to solar energy development. Communities that take sufficient action are designated either gold, silver or bronze.

As part of the SolSmart program, a team of national experts provides no-cost technical assistance to help communities achieve designation. All cities and counties are eligible to join the SolSmart program and receive this technical assistance. Interested communities can learn more at

For more information contact or call 646-3055.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

RVA Bike Share Ready to Roll

Mayor Levar M. Stoney launched the RVA Bike Share program Aug. 29 at Kanawha Plaza and lead cyclists on a 2-mile ride from across the Manchester Bridge to the T.Tyler Potterfield Bridge, ending at Brown's Island.

“Bike sharing programs are a community transportation service and desired amenity provided by forward thinking and environmentally conscious cities,” said Mayor Stoney. “I am proud Richmond is now among those leading in this regard.”

Richmond has teamed up with Canada-based Bewegen Technologies Inc., an industry bike share leader, to supply the bicycles and docking stations.The equipment will be maintained by Corps Logistics, a Baltimore-based firm owned and operated by military veterans.

The initial phase includes 220 8-speed bikes and 20 docking stations located throughout the city. A second phase is expected to be implemented in the coming months, doubling the fleet and including electric assist PedElec bikes, making it easier to ride uphill. These hi-tech bicycles will be equipped with a color screen, live GPS and can be unlocked through a mobile app.

RVA Bike Share is a public-private initiative, and Mayor Stoney has written a letter to encourage Richmond’s corporate and business leaders to engage in sponsorship opportunities necessary to ensure the long-term sustainability of the program. Click here to read the mayor’s letter.

Plans for RVA Bike Share have been in the works since 2012. The city was awarded a $1,064,000 federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant in 2014 to start the program, supplementing $280,000 in capital improvement funds made available by the city.

One-way trip and daily passes will be available as well as weekly, monthly and yearly memberships. For more information about RVA Bike Share, pricing, membership and sponsorship opportunities, please visit

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Your Better Bathroom Is Closer Than You Think

Image of a bathroomBathrooms are by far the largest water users in the home, accounting for 60 percent of all indoor water use. Whether you are making simple fixes with your fixtures or tackling a bigger remodeling project, a better bathroom that saves water in style is closer than you think!
There are more than 24,000 WaterSense labeled models of bathroom fixtures available in a wide variety of styles, colors, and prices to help you create your dream bathroom that also saves water, energy, and money. These fixtures include tank-type toilets, showerheads, sink faucets, faucet accessories, and even flushing urinals for residential bathrooms. A bathroom remodel that replaces older, inefficient bathroom fixtures with WaterSense labeled models provides water savings and satisfaction, since WaterSense labeled products are independently certified to use at least 20 percent less water and perform as well as or better than standard models.
Not ready for a full remodel? Dip a foot in the water with these simple “bath hacks” that result in serious savings:
  • Flip that flapper. Most people don’t realize that the rubber flapper in their toilet tank wears out over time and can cause water to be wasted down the drain. Replace that old flapper for a few dollars and put an end to silent toilet leaks.
  • Put a little air in your flow. WaterSense labeled faucet aerators reduce water use in your bathroom sink by 30 percent without a noticeable difference in flow. If your sink already has an aerator, it might be time to change it out for a new, labeled model.
  • Swap out a showerhead. WaterSense labeled showerheads are not only independently certified for spray force and flow, they save water and energy used to heat the water. You’ll clean up every time you wash up!
Learn more to get your better bathroom

Climate Alliance States Have Significant Leverage

The U.S. Climate Alliance is a group of more than a dozen states set on upholding the Paris climate accord goals despite President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement in early June.

Even with the United States officially out of the Paris accord, some are optimistic that the U.S. can still meet the Paris targets, even without the support of Washington.

For the U.S., that means reducing emissions by 26 percent by 2025, based on 2005 levels. But meeting the Paris targets will likely also mean higher energy costs and tougher regulations.

“Even before the announcement about the Paris Agreement, it was going to be very very difficult,” said Robert Stavins, director of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements.

Collectively, Stavins said, the climate alliance states — including New York, Massachusetts and Minnesota — represent about one-third of U.S. gross domestic product, which gives the alliance some significant leverage.

“The most important thing that these states can do is to link their policies together,” Stavins said. “That will bring down the cost for all of them.”

“The 14 or 12 states that are part of the coalition represent a small and a declining share of total U.S. emissions, because these are the states that have been out ahead already,” Larsen noted.

In addition to the states, over 300 cities are also pledging to help, many of which already have projects underway, such as Richmond, Virginia’s, new $49 million bus rapid transit line, scheduled to open later this fall.

“Just like getting on to a metro train, it's the same thing as that. The signals will all be timed to favor the bus, so the bus is not waiting with traffic like the cars are,” said Alicia Zatcoff, Richmond’s sustainability director.

Developing public transit will help take cars off the road, but without support from Washington, can states still pull the rest of the country along to reach the Paris targets?

“From my vantage point, I think the answer is yes,” Zatcoff said. “We’ve already reduced our emissions 15 percent, and we’re really just getting started.”

Full story here.

Six Richmond Groups Win Keep Virginia Beautiful Awards

Keep Virginia Beautiful awards grants of $500 to $1,000 for projects in four categories each year: Community Beautification and Greening, Litter Prevention, Recycling, and Cigarette Litter Prevention. In addition, this year there were five bonus grants of $2,000.

A panel of experts review the applications in May and announced the 30 Grants in 30 Days recipients during the month of June. This year's local winners were:

Keep Hopewell Beautiful, Hopewell for Beautification
Richmond Guardian Angels, Richmond for Beautification
Robious Elementary PTA, Midlothian for Recycling
Linwood Holton Elementary PTA, Richmond for Recycling
Richmond Clean City Commission, Richmond for Litter
Friends of Pocahontas State Park, Chesterfield for Beautification
Virginia Oyster Shell Recycling Program, Richmond for Recycling
Renew Richmond, Richmond for Beautification
Groundwork RVA, Richmond for Litter

Friday, June 30, 2017

How are Richmond's climate resiliency efforts going?

How is Richmond doing with sustainability?

Friday, June 9, 2017

Mayors Uphold Climate Goals of Paris Agreement

In the week since the President pulled the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, 279 Climate Mayors — a peer-to-peer network founded in 2014 — have pledged to adopt, honor, and uphold the Paris Agreement goals in their cities. Mayor Levar Stoney of Richmond, Virginia is part of this group.

When the President announced the withdrawal on June 1, 61 Climate Mayors spoke up together in support of the agreement. One week later, the number of Climate Mayors more than quadrupled in size, representing nearly one in five Americans.

The Climate Mayors responded forcefully to the Administration’s decision to leave the Paris Agreement last week, each making a strong commitment to uphold its standards in their own cities.

The Climate Mayors now include nine of the 10 largest cities in America — New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, Dallas, and San Jose — along with hundreds of additional cities large and small, from Boston to Knoxville to the City of Miami, in both red and blue states. In all, the 279 Climate Mayors now represent 59 million Americans from 42 states.

You can see the text, map of and full list of signatories to the Climate Mayors commitment to adopt the Paris Agreement goals. To learn more about Climate Mayors, visit can also engage with Climate Mayors on Facebook, Twitter and Medium.