This Forum has been closed to new ideas. You can still vote and comment!


The Austin City Council passed Resolution 20140410-024, which established a long-term goal of becoming a net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions city by 2050. In other words, we want to reduce emissions to as close to zero as possible to ensure a cleaner, healthier, and safer community for decades to come.  To do this, we need your help. Planning committees have identified four overarching strategy areas (listed as "Ideas" below), including related actions, for the electricity and natural gas sectors based on leading research, current city programs, and public input to date.

The Office of Sustainability needs your input regarding these draft strategies and actions.

  • Which strategies should the plan prioritize? (You can hit the "vote" button to vote up the strategy.)
  • Are we missing any actions that could reduce emissions?
  • What else needs to be considered?


    Draft Actions:

    • Change rate structures to encourage conservation
    • Implement value-based or time-of-use rates
    • Look into micro-grids and distributed, nodal grid systems
    • Consider more partnerships and 3rd party financing programs
    14 Votes Created

    Draft Actions:

    • Expand utility-scale solar energy
    • Expand industrial/commercial/residential distributed solar energy
    • Develop more community solar projects
    • Expand inland and coastal utility-scale wind energy
    • Analyze whether biomass or geothermal or nuclear energy is a viable generation option
    • Utilize solar+storage and wind+storage as storage technology becomes more available/affordable
    • Demand response/smart grid/intelligent energy management systems
    • Investigate potential of phasing out all carbon-emitting electric generation and purchasing less carbon-intensive fuels until that is possible
    26 Votes Created

    Draft Actions:

    • Increase meter reading frequency and provide customers more frequent information regarding use
    • Educate builders and code inspectors for higher compliance with energy codes
    • Increase funding for the energy efficiency rebate program, include exploring transitioning to a new performance model+measurement and verification program
    • Implement a PACE program or other new financing mechanisms for EE and renewables
    • Drive automated demand response for all building technologies, enhanced sub-metering for demand response
    • Identify and work with high energy users to reduce use, develop and enforce a new building energy use minimum standard
    • Work with Austin Water Utility to determine long-term plan impacts, energy demand needed for water infrastructure
    • Reduce water consumption and delivery leakage
    • Progress toward net zero new homes and commercial buildings
    • Consider retrofit goals for existing buildings
    • Utilize passive design elements to control climate in structures
    • Consider new citywide green building requirements
    • Ensure smart road and building layout to maximize solar potential in new development projects
    18 Votes Created

    Draft Actions:

    • Implementing time-of-use/dynamic rates programs and smart meters
    • Educational efforts through social media, applications, competitions, using local spokespeople to get the message out
    • Utilizing meter reads and bill formatting to change behaviors
    • Promote carbon diet programs with rebates
    • Develop neighborhood-scale energy efficiency programs
    • Minimize hot water use to reduce energy needs
    0 Comments 6 Votes Created

    Building solar farms between opposing direction lanes, along freeways, to serve neighborhoods, directly, with infrastructure under freeways, where no building exists. Saving money, transporting power from long distances.

    0 Comments 2 Votes Created

    Building solar farms between the opposing directional lanes of freeways, through neighborhoods, to more directly serve them, saving money on importing power from long distances. Infrastructure could be placed, under the freeways on used protected areas.

    0 Comments 2 Votes Created

    Stop discouraging people from installing more solar energy production than they currently use - Austin Energy policy changes over the last two years now cause all production over current use to be lost at the end of each year. This reset is contrary to City policy to encourage and maximize distributed energy production! It actually encourages waste - why not use it if you are just going to lose it at the end of the year?

    This change particularly impacted existing customers with more production than use - some had figured the credits into their financial model for PV system payback. It also impacts people who installed extra solar panels to use with future electric car charging.

    Suggested options for how to let customers use their credits: * Apply towards other parts of their Austin Utilities or other CoA bills like water and resource recovery, like it used to * Donate the credits towards low income energy assistance program * Send customers a check at the end of the year for the credit amount (automatically or upon request)

    0 Comments 10 Votes Created

    Officials at the Irvine Ranch Water District, based in the Orange County suburb of Irvine, say they were the first in the nation to adopt water budgeting. After a severe drought in the late '80s and early '90s, the district was looking for a way to create a water “conservation ethic” among its customers that was fair and also didn't threaten the agency’s long-term financial health (the lower water sales = lower revenue problem). They came up with water budgeting.

    See here and here for more details:

    Create incentives for builders & homeowners to increase building reflectivity/albedo with light-colored roofs and siding. Darker colors result in higher temperatures inside and out, regardless of insulation. Austin is on the same latitude as Egypt & Saudi Arabia, not New England, and our buildings could benefit from lower cooling demands.

    To reduce traffic in the city just impose a $5/mile road use tax in the city limits. This would reduce the number of cars and increase the revenues to pay for the $2B Train.