This report describes an important trend in local government—an increased focus on energy efficiency and sustainability.

While the federal government receives much attention for its environmental initiatives, much activity is now taking place at the state and local levels to improve energy efficiency and sustainability. The report sets forth six strategies that local government decision makers and administrators can use to develop new sustainability programs or refine existing programs.

The strategies presented in the report by Francis and Feiock are based on a nationwide survey that the authors conducted of medium-sized cities (with populations between 20,000 and 50,000) about their energy efficiency, sustainability, and climate protection efforts. These medium-sized cities account for most of the urban population and energy conservation in the United States.

Considerable money and attention has been directed toward local energy and sustainability issues in the last few years. The road ahead, however, will be challenging as local governments face tighter budgets and declining resources. Little practical information has been developed to guide local government
officials and public managers in determining how best to approach local sustainability and climate protection programs. While energy efficiency and conservation promise long-term savings, nearly 40 percent of the cities surveyed report that limited financial resources will present a significant challenge
for undertaking new energy efficiency and sustainability initiatives. The goal of this report is to serve as a useful guide to local government officials as they face such challenges.

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