- Associated Press - Monday, March 20, 2017

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) - Fayetteville is working to develop a plan that would raise its energy efficiency.

A city survey released Wednesday shows that about 78 percent of about 1,400 residents agreed the city should prioritize renewable energy and energy-efficiency policies and programs, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette (https://bit.ly/2nKJ1CM ) reported. Most residents also wanted Fayetteville to handle climate-change preparedness.

The City Council voted in February to create an Energy Action Plan. The city will be basing its new plan guidelines set by STAR Communities, a national nonprofit group that rates and helps evaluate and improve municipalities on their environmental efforts.

Fayetteville’s sustainability director, Peter Nierengarten, said the city has already taken steps to become more efficient, such as putting LED lights along trails and using fuel-efficient heating, ventilation and air-conditioning in city buildings.

In 2009, the city adopted an energy code that set benchmarks for energy efficiency in buildings. And in 2014, Fayetteville became the first city in the state to adopt Property Assessed Clean Energy. The program pays to retrofit homes and businesses with energy-efficient doors and windows, and installs solar panels and other measures.

Nierengarten said the city will review benchmarks from its previous efforts and set new goals to become less dependent on fossil fuels. He said Fayetteville hopes to continue making a positive environmental impact even if it doesn’t have backing from the federal government.

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget would cut the Environment Protection Agency’s budget from $8.2 billion to $5.7 billion, a 31 percent decrease.


Information from: Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.nwaonline.com

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