Did you know that Austin has one of the most aggressive climate protection goals in the world?
In 2007, the Austin City Council approved Resolution 20070215-0232, which calls for City staff to develop and implement programs to assist citizens, businesses, organizations, and visitors in achieving carbon neutrality. In fact, the City is committed to making all municipal facilities, fleets, and operations totally carbon neutral by 2020.
Part of that commitment will be achieved through the purchase of carbon offsets. In 2010, a community challenge grant program was created to fund three local carbon reduction projects:
• TreeFolks – Non-profit organization TreeFolks planted 200 trees along biking and jogging trails in 2012, which is estimated to offset 1.16 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions through soil / biomass sequestration annually.
• Yellow Bike Project – Yellow Bike Project provides a facility in East Austin for cyclists to repair their bikes. An 11.4 kW solar photovoltaic array is included on the roof of the facility, which will avoid 8.4 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions per year.
• Foundation Communities – Local non-profit Foundation Communities partnered with the City to develop M Station, a mixed-use development that provides affordable housing and connections to commuter rail, as well as a 5 kW solar photovoltaic array that avoids 3.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions annually.
Another part of the Climate Resolution directed City Staff to promote the concept of carbon neutrality to visitors by offering carbon offsets for purchase by travelers, conventions, tradeshows, and festivals. Building on the success of the community challenge grant program, the Office of Sustainability is proud to announce the launch of the Positive Impact on Climate and Community Program, or PICC.
PICC will help in mitigating some of the environmental impacts from the million-plus attendee events the Live Music Capital of the World is known for. We’re teaming up with some of the largest event organizers in town to generate funding that will be equally split between third-party-verified greenhouse gas reduction projects in the state of Texas and sustainability projects in Austin that create tangible community benefits. Events hosted by ACL Live at the Moody Theater, Austin City Limits Music Festival, and Circuit of The Americas LLC will fund the pilot phase of the PICC program.
The Office of Sustainability is currently seeking applications for local sustainability projects to receive PICC funding. For more information, go to the PICC web page.