Continue and expand energy efficiency initiatives, promote energy efficient buildings by supporting grants and public recognition.
LFUCG Energy Initiatives work closely with divisions across government to implement the city’s Energy Management Plan, which was established in 2004 to reduce consumption of utility and fuel resources, promote conservation, and realize cost savings. Energy efficiency criteria is used to guide purchasing decisions in new buildings, repairs and retrofits. Account-by-account rate analysis has identified less expensive options for many utility accounts, saving taxpayer dollars. To complement these efforts, LFUCG has established the Energy Improvement Fund – an internal revolving loan program that allows utility savings from energy management activities to be applied to future projects.
A community-led voluntary plan, Empower Lexington, was put into action by the Urban County Council in 2012 via resolution #0439-12 which approved the plan and allowed implementation of its recommendations. The responsibilities for implementation of the varied recommendations are sometimes with the local government as the lead agency, while other times a non-profit assumes the responsibility, and is sometimes implemented by public/private partnerships. The LFUCG Department of Environmental Quality and Public Works reports each year to the Urban County Council the progress of the program and energy consumption reductions. The plan’s recommendations cover five sectors:
- Residential Sector
- Industrial/Commercial/Institutional Sector
- Land Use, Food and Agriculture Sector
- Transportation Sector
- Waste Sector
In 2016, LFUCG launched the Green Check Program, recognizing businesses for their green initiatives and helping them expand their sustainability efforts. As of August 2018, 14 businesses have become certified, and eight more are in the process. More recognition and awards programs can be explored, such as green neighborhood awards, green business operation pilot programs, etc.
The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council approved legislation in the spring of 2018 to create a county-wide Energy Project Assessment District (EPAD) for commercial, non-profit, multi-family, agricultural, and industrial property owners to acquire special financing called PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing, for improvements and upgrades resulting in energy-efficiency. EPADs were created by legislation passed by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2015, allowing local governments to create EPADs. The PACE financing may be used for 100% of the energy upgrades, both hard and soft costs, such as solar panels, energy efficient air conditioning and heating, water conservation, and LED lighting. The PACE loan is repaid through voluntary assessment on the property owner’s tax bill, requires no down payment, and it is a long term loan with a fixed-rate. Other counties in Kentucky, including Louisville-Jefferson County, have created EPADs.