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Providence News: Council Sets Energy Efficiency Timeline Requiring All City-Owned Buildings Go Carbon Neutral by 2040

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Council Sets Energy Efficiency Timeline Requiring All City-Owned Buildings Go Carbon Neutral by 2040


Providence, RI – Councilors unanimously took a significant leap toward creating a cleaner and healthier environment in the capital city by passing a law that commits to carbon neutrality in all city-owned buildings (including schools) by 2040. What is carbon neutrality? It’s a commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and minimizing their environmental impact. Going carbon neutral can involve using renewable energy sources, improving energy efficiency, and adopting sustainable practices.


“By creating the path for carbon neutrality in Providence-owned buildings, the city is leading by example,” said Council President Rachel Miller (Ward 13). “We’re ensuring that public dollars are creating energy efficiency and savings in well-maintained public buildings, and while we do it, we’re committing to developing a world-class workforce at the leading edge of the new energy economy. ”


“Carbon neutrality is a big win for our fight against climate change but is also a huge win for our kids in school buildings and our municipal employees throughout the city,” said lead sponsor Councilor Sue AnderBois (Ward 3). This requirement ensures a pivot away from polluting appliances like gas and oil-fired boilers and moves toward energy-efficient upgrades that don’t burn fossil fuels, creating safer, healthier classrooms and workplaces.”


Carbon neutrality was a specific recommendation in the Providence Climate Justice Plan of 2019. It is the city’s first substantive act in implementing a commitment to being a Climate Jobs City passed last September.

“Once again Providence, Rhode Island has made history, as one of the first capital cities in the country to commit to decarbonizing its municipally-owned buildings,” said Michael Roles, Executive Director of Climate Jobs Rhode Island. “This ordinance is a win for climate, a win for justice, and a win for workers, because it aligns with the Providence Justice Plan, helps the state achieve its Act on Climate mandates, and honors the voices of frontline workers.”


“Passage of this ordinance exemplifies Providence’s commitment to a Just Transition that prioritizes climate action, while centering workers and communities,” says Patrick Crowley, Secretary-Treasurer of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO. Providence has set the example for the rest of the state and cities across the country, with a worker-centered approach to decarbonizing its municipally-owned buildings, including schools. Thank you, City Council President and the entire Providence City Council, for showing the rest of the county how to enact policy that supports a truly Just Transition.”

Council President Rachel Miller officially signs the Energy Efficiency and Carbon Neutral Goals for Municipal Buildings ordinance after the Council meeting.

Support for ABC6 Employees Attempting to Unionize

A resolution was passed supporting the efforts of WLNE-ABC6 News employees in their attempt to unionize over concerns of low pay, poor resources, and a lack of respect from management. Staff members at the news station include reporters, photographers, editors, producers, meteorologists, the web team, creative services, and technical media operators. ABC6 employees are attempting to join the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET) to negotiate fair wages, benefits, and working conditions.


Zoning Changes to Allow for More Housing Opportunities

During a housing crisis, councilors voted to expand housing opportunities in Ward 6 (Mount Pleasant and Manton neighborhoods). Majority Whip Miguel Sanchez (Ward 6) proposed an ordinance amendment that would allow the building of two-family homes in 328 different plots. With the previous R-1 zoning designation, property owners were limited to building single-family homes on these plots. The shift to R-2 zoning presents property owners with the option to expand their single-family homes or establish new buildings that contain two separate housing units on the lot.


“Addressing Providence’s housing crisis is my top priority, and this type of zoning change is an effective tool for encouraging the type of development that the city desperately needs. I am hopeful that property owners will take advantage of this opportunity and that we will start to see more multi-family dwellings get built in this neighborhood,” said Majority Whip Miguel Sanchez (Ward 6).


Dumpster Requirements for Larger Apartment Buildings

An ordinance amendment was introduced, establishing new dumpster requirements for buildings with six or more housing units. Dense residential apartment buildings often face trash overflowing from dumpsters, which creates offensive odors, invites rodents, and presents other public hazards. This amendment makes necessary changes to maintain the quality of life for our city’s residents.


“Providence residents deserve a safe, welcoming environment both within and outside of their homes, and this dumpster requirement can support efforts to improve the ongoing waste management challenges in our city”, said Councilwoman Shelley Peterson (Ward 14).


Appointments Made to the New Pathway to End Gun Violence Advisory Council

Council President Rachel Miller made the following appointments:

Diana Garlington

Jill Van Leesten

James Monteiro

Lisa Pina-Warren


Police Chief Oscar Perez made the following appointments:

Michael Stephens, Director of Community Engagement and Diversion

Det. David Perez, Providence Police Department