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Ask An Energy Pro: Unlocking Solutions for Municipality Sustainability Challenges

April 17, 2024

Let’s face it: there are a lot of challenges that your municipality is facing when opting to make more sustainable decisions for your residents. You play a pivotal role in implementing initiatives that address environmental concerns, foster economic growth, and enhance the overall quality of life for residents. But we get it, the journey towards sustainability and finding the right resources that will help achieve goals can be daunting. The good news is that Michelle Peters, Program Manager at Energy Sciences, has a great deal of expertise when working with municipalities like yours to create sustainable solutions. Michelle addresses some of the most common challenges your community could face and shares the foundation to start overcoming them.

One of the primary challenges Michelle has recognized is the lack of comprehensive sustainability planning. Many local governments struggle to develop cohesive strategies that integrate environmental, economic, and social considerations. Without a clear roadmap, municipalities may find it challenging to prioritize initiatives and allocate resources effectively. “The beautiful thing here is that the ‘plan’ is not something that you have to invent or make completely from scratch in any way,” Michelle says. “Every municipality has strategic plans and documents that already feed into optimization efforts. The connection between development of a sustainability plan and utilizing other strategic plans that are at play is important.”

“Our team understands that every municipality and local government is at a different part of this process,” Michelle explains. “What we also consider the fact that communities that want to work with us are generally much further along than they believe themselves to be. The ES team is committed to working together for any step of the process, one project at a time.”

Another obstacle is the limited window to apply for financial resources specific to sustainability projects. Municipal budgets are often stretched thin, making it difficult to invest in renewable energy infrastructure, energy-efficient technologies, and other sustainable initiatives. However, innovative financing mechanisms, such as public-private partnerships and grants, can provide municipalities with the capital needed to kickstart sustainability projects.

“From when a grant is announced to when it’s due is not a lot of time. In general, you need to have your projects and what you want to work on already defined before that is announced. “If we can help with narrowing the focus when it comes to goals and projects, that makes it much more likely that they will already have those projects identified and ready to go for those funding opportunities,” Michelle states. “Remember, when we’re talking about resources in the financial sense, we have to factor in personnel. Sometimes there simply isn’t a big enough team to tackle all that needs to be done for additional assistance. That is a place where Energy Sciences is ready to help. We can be that extra set of hands.”

Another common area that can prove challenging in achieving sustainability for communities is engagement and awareness. These are considered essential components of successful sustainability initiatives. Municipalities must educate residents about the benefits of sustainability and involve them in the decision-making process to ensure widespread support and participation.

“There are multiple initiatives that we can help break down to help the community understand the benefits they get from sustainability,” Michelle says. “Energy Sciences works to tangibly take the actions and items in a plan and connect with the potential benefits that the community might see. Let’s think about pollution and transportation. If we can help with transportation and electrifying public vehicles, it helps people just as much as it helps reduce what is being put into the air. It ultimately saves money for a municipality, but it also saves money regarding the health of its residents. We essentially take the technical jargon and boil it down to bite-size, accessible pieces for people who don’t directly work with the kind of information we utilize.

Energy Sciences’ work with municipalities is firmly based on the belief that sustainability isn’t just a dream for a select few but a future every community deserves. Our team is ready to work with you to adopt a proactive approach to planning, financing, and community engagement. We believe that communities can overcome these obstacles and make significant strides towards a more sustainable future. As a parting note, Michelle says, “Successful sustainability plans are not the responsibility of just one person. If you’re wanting to build something that works and works well, you need everyone.

Join us in championing sustainability as a cornerstone of municipal excellence. Contact Energy Sciences today and embark on the path towards a cleaner future.

Categories: Ask An Energy Pro, Blog, Industry Insights, Municipalities Resources