Bend’s Environment and Climate Committee is gearing up to choose just what kind of emissions diet the city should be on.
It has a menu of options it is looking at, from more renewable energy to recycling. And it’s not only choosing what strategies to prioritize but also could discuss what should be mandatory and what should be voluntary. Not everyone will feel like they are being done a favor.
The committee doesn’t make the final decision. It is making recommendations. But we have to imagine the Bend City Council will take the committee’s recommendations seriously. So if you want to influence Bend’s emissions diet, let the committee know what you think. For now the best email for the committee is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unfortunately the actual action matrix the committee discussed at its Thursday meeting is not available online. It should be. We got a copy by asking for it from Cassie Lacy, the city staff member working with the committee. The matrix is not all that different, though, from the strategy options in the Bend Community Climate Action Plan. That is online and easy to find.
We are going to highlight a few options we found interesting, but you should check it out for yourself.
- Expand residential and commercial solar.
The city could create incentives. The city could create a revolving loan fund to finance more renewable energy. It could also just try to raise more community awareness of options.
- Increase energy efficiency in buildings.
Once again, the city could create incentives, create a revolving loan fund or just promote education and the incentives provided by utilities.
- Develop a home energy score program for the city
The Department of Energy set up ratings for energy efficiency of homes. The Bend City Council debated it in the past. Should Bend make it mandatory for new homes or homes that go up for sale? It is a good way for people to get information that might help save them money in the future. But a home could be efficient and still use way more energy than another similar home because of choices the people who live in it make.
Many of these ideas are about improving recycling and reducing waste, through encouraging different behavior.
The problem with making a choice within the existing action matrix is that there are no numbers attached. How much do things cost? Which are more cost effective in improving efficiency or reducing emissions? And how much time and effort is involved to get them going? It’s easy to be attracted to some of these options, but from the information presented to the committee it’s hard to know which are truly pretty.