Municipal Government Resources

Best Practices: Enabling Policies and Projects

On this page find examples of resolutions affirming the intention of the political leaders to achieve specific goals, policies that enable and encourage the community to use energy efficiently, choose electric appliances and vehicles and consider renewable energy sources whenever possible. Removing barriers to adoption and assist with affordability whenever possible. And addressing needed adaptation and resiliency in the face of climate impacts.

And to frame all of these possible actions, lift up priority actions and position your municipality for possible supportive funding, a written and approved plan is essential.

The Resolution

Many municipal governments have passed resolutions that state the clean energy (100% Renewable Energy by 2040) or greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals (80% GHG reduction by 2050) to proclaim the urgency - to the local community and to state and federal officials - that a measured transition is needed and accepted.

Resolutions or Proclamations set milestones for developing a municipal and communitywide plan, who is responsible for that plan and expressing a desire to collaborate with neighboring municipalities to achieve the stated goals.

  • Over 40 Resolutions have been passed in Pennsylvania. 

 
Developing a Plan

A key component of either plan is setting final goals and establishing a timeline of intermediate milestones and progress checks.

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Energy Transition Plan

Some communities have opted for an Energy Transition Plan (ETP) which focuses just on Reducing, Electrifying and Transitioning to renewable energy sources. Sometimes there are 2 plans: for municipal facilities; for the community at larger. Both aspects are important.

Climate Action Plan or Sustainability Plan

Some communities have developed a Climate Action Plan (CAP) or Sustainability Plan (SP) as a standalone document or as an addendum to their Comprehensive Plan. A CAP or SP is more comprehensive than an ETP in that it deals with all sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions including energy, waste, farming and supply chains.

Adaptation & Resiliency Plan

Either incorporated into a Climate Action Plan or structured as a standalone Adaptation and Resiliency Plan, assessments of the expected impacts to human health, agriculture, energy, storm water, public infrastructure and population is important for the community to understand what resources and funding are expected in the coming years due to our changing climate and how they will be implemented in an equitable manner.

  • Examples of Adaptation & Resiliency Plans

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Policies

Coordinate policy with neighboring townships to amplify the impact!

Municipal Policies That Enable & Encourage

Municipalities in Pennsylvania are limited in what actions can be taken to foster clean energy adoption by the community in comparison to some other states, but there are options. Consider these opportunities:

  • EV-Ready Ordinance

  • Solar-Ready Ordinance

  • Streamlined Solar Permit Process (see SolSmart and the SolarApp)

  • Ordinance for large scale solar installations to promote solar resources while preserving farmland 

  • Sustainable Building Checklist (example: xxx)

  • Energy Disclosure Requirement at Time of Sale

  • Establish an Energy or Climate Committee to do Community Engagement

  • Hire a Sustainability/Climate Officer to direct internal and
    community projects

Note to EAC members: prioritize recommendations to elected officials - give them just 1 or 2 actions at a time

Sorting Books
Projects

Write about or make a video describing your township's leadership.

Municipal Projects Focused Reducing Carbon Footprint of Municipal Facilities

It's hard to convince the community to take action if the municipal operations are not leading the way by example.

  • Building Electrification Plan for all municipal buildings

  • LED Streetlights and Traffic Lights

  • Energy Audits for all facilities that use power

  • Electric or Plug-in Hybrid municipal fleet and police

  • Tree planting to increase shade and absorb CO2

  • Increase Active Transportation options: multi-use trails, improve neighborhood bike-ability, bike share programs, ride share programs and other alternatives to single-occupant vehicle practices

  • Aggregate electricity with partners to purchase a solar power purchase agreement (SPPA)

  • On-Site solar to power municipal operations​​

  • Green or White Roofs to reduce heat load

Spreadsheet of PA Projects
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