As the state grapples with a plan to mitigate climate change, Alaska's largest city already has a roadmap for action.

The Municipality of Anchorage has hired an Energy and Sustainability Manager to implement recommendations outlined in the city's energy plan.

Some of the initiatives include:

  • Increasing the use of electric vehicles and buses in the municipality
  • Expanding the use of led street lights
  • Edding solar panels to community buildings like the Egan Center
  • Converting Anchorage high schools into recycling drop-off sites
  • Expanding community composting efforts

Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz says the more than 1,600 street lights the municipality has gradually converted to LED's are already paying off -- with annual savings around $1 million. Money Berkowitz says the City can instead use on things like road maintenance and snow plowing.

It's proof, Berkowitz says, that energy efficiency is both a matter of cost-savings and environmental conservation.

"I also think it's important for those of us who live in the North and who are directly impacted by climate change, to have a leading role in showing other communities across the state and across the country and even across the world, that we can do things in a way that makes our community safer, makes our community more energy efficient and saves the taxpayers' money," Berkowitz said.

In October, Gov. Bill Walker created a climate action commission to come up with a plan for addressing climate change at the state level. The group released a preliminary report which calls for a 30 percent reduction in Alaska greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2025. The draft plan is open for public comment through June 4.

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