Empower Lexington

City of Lexington and Fayette County
Empower Lexington
A Plan for a Resilient Community

Lexington is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and we have taken steps as a community to preserve this unique environment. In keeping with this tradition, we are encouraging our community to become more sustainable by becoming more energy-efficient..

Sustainable communities are defined as towns and cities that have taken steps to remain healthy over the long term. Sustainable communities have a strong sense of place. They have a vision that is embraced and actively promoted by all of the key sectors of society, including businesses, disadvantaged groups, environmentalists, civic associations, government agencies and religious organizations. They are places that build on their assets and dare to be innovative. These communities value healthy ecosystems, use resources efficiently and actively seek to retain and enhance a locally-based economy. – Sustainable Cities Research Institute 

We are asking individuals, organizations and businesses in Fayette County to support the Empower Lexington by reducing their annual energy use by 1% per year. These efforts will:

  • save our community money;
  • create jobs by keeping money in the local economy;
  • position us to be more economically competitive;
  • conserve natural resources;
  • increase our energy independence;
  • create a more livable community;
  • improve public health and;
  • make our air and water cleaner.

Community stakeholders – including business, non-profit, institutional, farming and government representatives – reviewed information from five sectors critical to reducing energy consumption for Lexington and developed recommendations for the Empower Lexington plan.

RESIDENTIAL SECTOR

Goal: To provide residents with the resources and knowledge needed so they can live more sustainably, save energy and save money.

Recommendations:

  • Increase public awareness of and demand for energy efficiency services and improvements
  • Develop and promote systematic and professional “whole house” retrofit awareness and infrastructure
  • Develop and promote diverse retrofit finance approaches applicable to the full range of housing types and ownership structures across Lexington

INDUSTRIAL/COMMERCIAL/INSTITUTIONAL SECTOR

Goal: To promote energy efficiency and provide businesses and organizations with the knowledge and tools needed to save energy and money.

Recommendations:

  • Develop aggressive marketing effort
  • Develop educational energy conservation programs
  • Distribute tools to benchmark energy usage
  • Promote energy efficient and sustainable building designs
  • Incentivize energy improvement for local business
  • Expedited local approval processes
  • Review zoning requirements

LAND USE, FOOD AND AGRICULTURE SECTOR

Goal: To preserve and enhance land and Bluegrass soils.

Recommendations:

  • Preserve land with vegetative cover, in rural and urban areas, and promote the preservation and expansion of greenspace within Fayette County
  • Continue to expand farmland protection programs and explore innovative land preservation and conservation concepts with focus on protection of our unique and precious bluegrass soils
  • Promote best management practices for agricultural, residential and commercial areas that maintain vegetation that sequesters carbon dioxide, preserves soil and reduces surface water runoff
  • Support activities that continue the economic viability of agricultural uses of land in the Bluegrass region
  • Promote programs in schools and in the community to raise awareness of the importance of food choices and how the production of foods can have far-reaching impacts on human health, the environment and the communities where the foods are produced

TRANSPORTATION SECTOR

Goal: To provide an efficient, interconnected transportation system that improves quality of life, saves Fayette County citizens time and money and moves people and goods with less energy.

Recommendations:

  • Develop bike/pedestrian programs and infrastructure based on the bicycle and pedestrian master plan
  • Increase transit service and coverage
  • Promote ridesharing- regional carpool/vanpool/school pool and commute trip reduction marketing.
  • Develop an eco-driving program
  • Pursue energy efficient highway infrastructure and congestion relief strategies
  • Encourage low carbon/alternative fuels and infrastructure
  • Promote energy efficient vehicles by replacing, retrofitting, repowering, and/or right-sizing
  • Pursue smart streetlights; remove streetlights; reduce hours of operation

WASTE SECTOR

Goal: For Lexington to pursue a zero waste vision.

Recommendations:

  • Develop a comprehensive program to promote beneficial use of organic waste material
  • Increase diversion of materials from landfills
  • Energy from waste – use waste materials to generate energy
  • Periodically investigate (and pursue if warranted) landfill mining