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December 18, 2014

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Las Vegas wins U.S. Conference of Mayors award for green initiatives

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Leila Navidi

Mayor Carolyn Goodman stands on the front steps during a tour of the new Las Vegas City Hall on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012.

Sustainability efforts undertaken by the city of Las Vegas are now being recognized nationally.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors today named Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Gresham, Ore., Mayor Shane Bemis as the top winners in its 2014 Mayors’ Climate Protection Awards.

The annual awards program, co-sponsored by Wal-Mart, recognizes mayors for innovative programs that increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Mayor Goodman and Mayor Bemis are changing the energy future of their cities and the nation, showing how local innovation can offer solutions to our growing climate challenges,” said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, president of The U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The winners were announced in Dallas, where the conference’s 82nd annual meeting is taking place.

Las Vegas is challenging itself to become the nation’s first net-zero energy, water, and waste municipality.

According to an announcement from the conference:

“This net zero initiative has seen the construction of more than 1 million square feet of municipal green buildings. Additionally, more than 80 percent of the city’s 50,000 streetlights have been upgraded to LEDs.

“The city now has more than 5.25 megawatts of solar photovoltaic at 30 facilities. These systems have reduced city energy consumption by approximately 15 percent, saving the city more than $1 million dollars annually.

“Comingled recycling at all city facilities has raised recycling rates to 55 percent, up from 20 percent five years ago.

“The city has reduced its municipal water consumption by 27 percent since 2008, through turf conversions, xeriscaping, and equipment installations throughout city facilities.”

Other applicants in the large-cities category earning recognition were New York, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

"We are proud of our net zero initiative and the progress we are making," Goodman said. "What is happening here in Las Vegas on energy innovation shouldn’t just stay here. All cities, as well as the nation, can benefit from net zero initiatives.”

Gresham was cited for a management program to aggressively reduce its energy use.

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