The Center for Sustainable Communities is taking a close look at ways municipalities and their residents can reduce greenhouse gases with support from a $79,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
|Dr. Jeffrey Featherstone, Research Professor, Department of Community and Regional Planning
“Working in partnership with Swarthmore College, we are
conducting a multi-municipal greenhouse gas inventory and strategy analysis. We’re conducting carbon footprint analysis
and exploring what communities can do to reduce their carbon footprint,” said Dr. Jeffrey Featherstone, Research Professor with the Department of Community and Regional Planning. “There are various agencies that are looking at the bigger picture with regard to greenhouse gases, including the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, which recently completed a major regional greenhouse gas emissions inventory. We are concentrating on studies of individual townships. In Pennsylvania, that’s where most
decisions are being made that influence greenhouse gases.”
In July 2008, Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell signed the Pennsylvania Climate Change Act, which requires Pennsylvania
to conduct a statewide inventory of greenhouse gas emissions,
set up a registry for business and industry to track emissions
and get credit for pollution reduction, create a climate change advisory group and develop a state plan to reduce greenhouse
The DEP grant is part of almost $300,000 in funding given to
seven municipalities through the DEP’s Local Government Greenhouse Gas Pilot Grant Program. Swarthmore, Rose Valley
and Rutledge boroughs, in addition to Nether Providence Township in Delaware County were jointly awarded $79,115 to inventory greenhouse gas sources, develop a reduction goal, and draft a “climate change action plan.” With the grant, the Center is gathering the necessary data to develop the municipalities’ action plans.
“These progressive communities, as well as the other recipients across the state, recognize the importance of creating their own programs to address climate change,” said Environmental
Protection acting Secretary John Hanger. “The pilot projects
funded by these grants will assess the local potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. That hard data will help provide the climate stability Pennsylvania’s economy depends on.”
Ultimately the Center’s recommendations will be designed “to help save municipalities and individuals money while being more efficient,” according to Dr. Featherstone.
The multi-municipal study builds, in part, on research conducted by Community and Regional Planning Assistant Professor Dr. Bradley Flamm, who is developed a “Sustainability Audit” for Montgomery Township under a separate Center project.
|Dr. Bradley Flamm, Assistant Professor of Community and Regional Planning
“The focus of the Montgomery Township audit was to determine baseline data for municipal use of water, wastewater, and waste disposal services, and energy and transportation fuel
consumption,” Dr. Flamm said. “It’s an opportunity for municipal officials to look at their communities as a whole — for residents
and businesses to set some important goals and make commitments to reduce their environmental impact.”
The study seeks to determine current levels of consumption and “make recommendations on how municipalities and community members can reduce their water, energy, and transportation usages,” he said.
“The primary goal with these studies is to help municipal governments identify strategies to make their townships more environmentally sustainable, which, of course, has a number of benefits. Climate change is a big issue nationally and globally;
with data from these studies, the townships involved will be better positioned to reduce green house gas emissions,” Dr. Flamm said. “It also provides the municipalities the necessary information to
be able to give good, money saving advice to residents to reduce their own environmental impact. Energy prices might be in a lull at the moment, but in the future they will continue to rise — anything municipalities can do to help residents efficiently cut back is certainly going to have a long term benefit.”
Dr. Featherstone said focused local studies of this nature are truly “where the rubber meets the road,” when it comes to putting all of the analysis of how to reduce the impact of climate change into action.
“This is where we determine how to make it happen — how to
move beyond the study and into actual implementation. There
are a lot of municipal boards and environmental groups interested in studies of this nature — they are seeking help to understand
the magnitude of this problem,” he said. “As a Center, we are well positioned in the area of applied research and well suited for continued sustainability and growth management research.”
The Center for Sustainable Communities at Temple University Ambler was established in July 2000 to develop and promote new approaches to protect and preserve quality of life through sustainable development. A working resource for government agencies, community organizations, and developers, the Center provides objective information and services to improve decision-making relative to land use and water resources planning and development. The Center conducts interdisciplinary research and offers educational and community outreach programs.
The Center, part of the School of Environmental Design in the College of Liberal Arts, was designed to build on Temple University Ambler’s historical focus and strengths in horticulture, landscape architecture, and environmental studies, while drawing upon the expertise of all Temple University faculty. Associated faculty come from various disciplines, including landscape architecture, horticulture, geology, geography, urban and suburban studies, land use policy and planning, environmental economics, environmental justice, engineering, and chemistry.
For more information on the Center for Sustainable Communities, visit www.csc.temple.edu.
CONTACT: James Duffy, 267-468-8108, firstname.lastname@example.org, release available by e-mail