The city of Phoenix is proving that it is serious about going greener and being more sustainable, according to a recent greenhouse emissions (GHG) report.

In 2008, the City Council adopted a goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from city operations to 5 percent below the 2005 levels by 2015. The city met and exceeded that objective within four years.

epa-greenhouse-gasesThe latest report was compiled by Arizona State University’s Sustainability Solution Services, a program within the Global Institute of Sustainability’s Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, and states that in 2012, the city achieved a 7.2 percent decrease in GHG emissions by emitting 629,504 metric tons of carbon dioxide and carbon dioxide equivalents. When compared to the 2005 total emission of 678,150 metric tons, Phoenix is not only ahead of schedule in reaching its goal but has gone 2.2 percent beyond its commitment.

“This is great for Phoenix and I’m very excited to see that we may be able to double or even possibly triple the reduction of our greenhouse gas emissions by 2015,” said Mayor Greg Stanton. We are making Phoenix a cleaner and healthier place to live and work.”

With support and guidance from Stanton and City Council members, the city was able to reduce GHG emissions through the use of sustainable infrastructures and programs, including advanced methane capture systems at city-owned landfills; biodiesel and ethanol alternative fuels; energy-efficient streetlights, traffic signals, water and wastewater upgrades; energy efficiency measures in more than 45 city buildings; and various city solar power projects.

“The fact that we have exceeded this aggressive goal years ahead of schedule is a testament to the city’s commitment to transforming Phoenix into one of the most sustainable cities in the nation,” said Vice Mayor Bill Gates, chairman of the Finance, Efficiency, and Economy Subcommittee. This is just one piece of our overall sustainability plan and I look forward to continuing our track record for success.”

ASU helped assess and verify the results of the GHG emissions report by comparing the city’s emissions in 2005 and 2012 and evaluating the progress made towards the Climate Action Plan. Huge improvements and changes were made by Phoenix since 2005, particularly in fleet services, where more than 50 percent of city vehicles, including trucks, are now operating on alternative/clean fuel, and through various solar projects.

“By already reaching its 2015 target for emissions reduction, the city of Phoenix has demonstrated its commitment to sustainability practices and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Dr. Rajesh Buch, Practice Lead for the Sustainability Solutions Services at ASU. “Continuing these practices and adopting the recommended actions should not only double emissions reductions by 2015, but also create a more resilient metropolitan region.”