Ithaca is Going Net-Zero, an Urban Climate Change Milestone
The first city in the U.S. with a clear plan to decarbonize 100% of its buildings
In November 2021, the City of Ithaca announced the approval of a plan to decarbonize all of its buildings by 2030, making Ithaca the first city in the United States working to become 100% decarbonized. With greenhouse gas emissions being the leading cause of global warming, decarbonization substitutes harmful energy systems with renewable sources.
In this first-of-its-kind decarbonization plan, roughly 6,000 homes and buildings will be electrified to meet the goals established by Ithaca's Green New Deal (GND) plan to address climate change, economic inequality, and racial injustice. Essentially, all of Ithaca’s buildings will be evaluated and reconstructed as needed so that they no longer rely on fossil fuel-based systems for heating, cooling, and electric appliances, which are all big drivers of energy use.
So what does this "deep renovation" mean for other cities across the United States? How can a small city like Ithaca secure the massive funding necessary to embark on this project? How do we move towards a green economy that can benefit everyone? What are the challenges we need to be most mindful of so that this work can create local, equitable opportunities for the community?
Climate Now produces a three-part event series, in partnership with The Future of Small Cities Institute, diving into Ithaca's plans and strategies to transform energy and society, to then create a blueprint for cities across the United States.