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Mayor Barry’s Livable Nashville Committee Releases Draft Recommendations for Public Comment

February 7, 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Feb. 7, 2017) – Mayor Megan Barry’s Livable Nashville Committee today unveiled draft recommendations for an ambitious new municipal sustainability plan to help address environmental, economic, and equity challenges in Nashville.

Since Mayor Barry launched the Committee last May, its members have worked in a subcommittee framework to produce a draft report, which will be available for public review and comment at the Mayor’s Office website for the next month. Highlights of the report were presented at a public event today keynoted by Amy Longsworth of the Green Ribbon Commission of Boston, a comparable task force heralded as one of America’s premier urban sustainability efforts.

“Nashville’s scenic beauty, diverse economy, arts and amenities, top-ranked universities, and friendly culture attract more residents and visitors to our area each and every day. We can welcome additional jobs and people in a way that’s sustainable – but only if we intentionally guide and manage our growth. The recommendations in this report will help guide those efforts,” said Mayor Barry. “The Livable Nashville Committee and my administration are committed to an exemplary sustainability strategy for Metro Government and for Nashville. We welcome feedback and guidance from the public on how we can work together to make Nashville the greenest city in the Southeast.”

The Livable Nashville Committee, co-chaired by Beth Geer and Walker Mathews, has drafted prioritized and measurable goals and actions for a more sustainable city that reflect the work of Metro’s 2009 Green Ribbon Committee, NashvilleNext, other related plans, and Mayor Barry’s priorities. Their recommendations fall under five target areas for improvement:

  • Climate and Energy: Reducing reliance on oil and coal to improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and increase energy resilience;
  • Green Buildings: Ensure buildings are resource-efficient to improve occupants’ health and productivity;
  • Natural Resources: Provide for clean air, clean water, and conserved open space;
  • Waste Reduction and Recycling: Divert waste from landfills and keep our city clean;
  • Mobility: Provide more transportation options for cleaner air, healthier commutes, and increased access to jobs and opportunities.

Some key strategies from each of the five target areas include: reducing Metro Government’s greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050; increasing energy used from renewable resources 30 percent by 2030; reducing the amount of resources Metro buildings are using by 20 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050; cutting commercial buildings’ energy consumption 5 percent in the next three years; planting a half-million trees countywide by 2050 to achieve a 50 percent countywide canopy cover; eliminating hazardous air-quality days by 2020; achieving a ‘zero waste’ landfill-diversion goal by 2050; reducing food waste 10 percent in the next three years; and transitioning 50 percent of Metro’s vehicle fleet to electric engines or alternative fuels by 2025.

“We’ve assembled these draft recommendations with a vision for a future Nashville that has less waste, more green space, greater energy efficiency, safer and more accessible opportunities to walk, bike or take transit, breathable air and drinkable water, and clean power,” said Committee Co-Chair Beth Geer of former Vice President Al Gore’s Office. “Of course, there’s more work to be done to ensure a cleaner, healthier future, but we’re excited to share our draft and look forward to reviewing and incorporating feedback from Nashvillians.”

Metro also recently completed two Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories as a result of Mayor Barry’s having signed on to the Global Compact of Mayors, the world’s largest cooperative effort among mayors to track and report on their cities’ efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

The community inventory, which looked at the entire city’s greenhouse gas emissions for calendar year 2014, found that the emissions were lower than 2005’s inventory but slightly higher than 2011. The average emissions per person were also above the national average.

The Metro inventory, which looked at only government buildings, vehicles and other greenhouse gas producers for calendar year 2014, found a 45 percent increase since 2005, largely due to buildings and facilities. The Livable Nashville report recommends reducing energy usage in Metro facilities and increasing the government’s renewable energy portfolio.

The full set of draft recommendations, along with a brief survey to collect public input on the Committee’s work thus far, can be found online at: Livable Nashville Recommendations