Carmel is making history in Indiana when it comes to climate change.
On Feb. 20, the city council made Carmel the first municipality in the state to pass a climate resilience and recovery resolution.
Supporters of the Carmel Green Initiative and the Carmel Promise Project had spoken up about this issue and ultimately worked with the council to draft a resolution that will help the city continue along its current environmental efforts. There are voluntary goals in the ordinance for the city to reduce its carbon emissions from 2016 levels “in a manner that is prudent, properly funded (and) well documented.”
The city will also create a climate action plan to obtain baseline measurements of citywide emissions. The city may also appoint a commission of business, faith, youth and community leaders to monitor progress and consult with elected officials. Six students who were involved with the Carmel Promise Project spoke at the Feb. 20 meeting in favor of the resolution.
“The purpose of the resolution is to reduce carbon emissions, increase energy efficiency and renewable energy use in order to create a climate change-resilient City of Carmel that will protect the children and grandchildren of this community,” said Leslie Webb, president of the Carmel Green Initiative.
The City-County Council in Indianapolis is considering a similar resolution that is in committee. Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said he hopes to have a joint meeting or press event with Indianapolis once that is passed.
“It’s important to go on record stating that we want to improve our environment,” Brainard said. “Every citizen, whether it’s an adult or child, has a right to breathe clean air and drink clean water. It’s a commitment to improve over time. We set some voluntary goals. It’s important to recognize when we save energy we also save money and the City of Carmel has already done many, many things to help the environment and save taxpayers’ money, and this resolution sets even higher goals.”
Environmental efforts by the City of Carmel
- Executive order to purchase hybrid and bio-fuel vehicles since 2005
- Efforts to promote bicycle use, including millions invested in multi-use paths. Bike share stations are scattered around the city, and every year Carmel City Hall participates in Bike to Work Day.
- In 2009, about 800 street lights were replaced with LED lights.
- More than 100 roundabouts help reduce idling in traffic, which is better for carbon emissions and fuel efficiency.
- The city has two rain gardens, and Storm Water Management requires a pollution prevention plan for projects during and after construction.
- The Monon Community Center was built with energy efficiency in mind. For example, 50 percent of the building is glass so natural sunlight reduces the need for as much electricity for lights and heat.
Source: City of Carmel