ASHRAE Joins Former President Clinton To Reduce Cities' Carbon Emissions

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) announced it will join with former President Bill Clinton in an initiative to reduce carbon emissions and increase efficiency in the world’s largest cities. The Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) is a Clinton Foundation program dedicated to making a difference in the fight against climate change in practical and measurable ways.

For TFM’s coverage of action toward reducing carbon emissions, read “Setting A Timetable: The 2030 Challenge.”

The initiative was launched Tuesday at a news conference in Los Angeles, where Clinton was joined by London Mayor Ken Livingstone, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. British Prime Minister Tony Blair also attended to show support for the initiative. ASHRAE President Terry Townsend, P.E., also was present.

“ASHRAE has a long history of engineering for sustainability by applying its diverse technology to reduce the consumption of energy in the built environment,” Townsend said. “We are pleased to partner with the Clinton Foundation and others to accelerate the adoption of energy-saving technologies by city planners.”

For more than 30 years, ASHRAE energy standards have set the standard of care for the efficient use of energy resources in buildings. In particular, since being developed in response to the energy crisis in the 1970s, ASHRAE’s Standard 90.1, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, has influenced building designs worldwide. It has become the basis for building codes and a standard for building design and construction recognized throughout the world.

“Recognizing the impact of buildings on global energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, ASHRAE will work with city planners to support development of codes, standards, energy use metrics, and other programs that lower environmental impacts,” according to an agreement signed by ASHRAE and the Foundation. “ASHRAE’s assistance will facilitate the transfer of existing tools and technology, and support solutions to common energy and greenhouse gas emission challenges facing large city group leaders.”

Urban areas are responsible for more than 75% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Therefore, reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in cities is fundamental to any effort to slow the pace of global warming.

“It no longer makes sense for us to debate whether or not the earth is warming at an alarming rate, and it doesn’t make sense for us to sit back and wait for others to act,” said President Clinton at the announcement event. “The fate of the planet that our children and grandchildren will inherit is in our hands, and it is our responsibility to do something about this crisis. The partnership between my Foundation and the Large Cities Climate Leadership Group will take practical and, most importantly, measurable steps toward helping to slow down global warming, and by taking this approach I think we can make a big difference.”

The Clinton Climate Initiative will assist the large cities in the group in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing energy efficiency. To enable partner cities to do so, CCI will:

– Create a purchasing consortium that will pool the purchasing power of the cities to lower the prices of energy saving products and accelerate the development and deployment of new energy saving and greenhouse gas reducing technologies and products.
– Mobilize experts, including ASHRAE, to provide technical assistance to cities to develop and implement plans that will result in greater energy efficiency and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
– Create and deploy common measurement tools and Internet-based communications systems that will allow cities to establish a baseline on their greenhouse gas emissions, measure the effectiveness of the program in reducing these emissions and to share what works and does not work with each other.

The CCI-Large Cities partnership is initially targeting 22 of the largest cities in the world: Berlin, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Caracas, Chicago, Delhi, Dhaka, Istanbul, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Melbourne, Mexico City, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, Rome, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Toronto, and Warsaw. Many of these cities will be visited by ASHRAE leaders as part of initiative later this calendar year. The partnership anticipates that many more cities will join over the next four to six months.

Other partners in the CCI include the U.S. Green Building Council, the Alliance to Save Energy, and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives.