Considering low-carbon modeling for Ames


Photo courtesy of the City of Ames

UPDATED climate action plan

Katherine Kealey

The Climate Action Plan Steering Committee will be presented with 29 proposed action steps to position the city to achieve the greenhouse gas reduction targets.

No action is requested at this meeting. Currently, the City of Ames is at the midway point in the Climate Action Plan process, where the city examines low-carbon energy emission modeling and the financials of implementing the plan.

In December, the council established reduction goals of decreasing carbon outputs by 83 percent by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050. The committee will hear from the Sustainable Solutions Group (SSG), an organization that has been guiding the Climate Action Planning process, who created the Six Big Moves for the plan, which include:

  1. Building retrofits 

  2. Net-zero new construction

  3. Reduce waste emissions

  4. Renewable energy generation

  5. Reducing vehicle emissions 

  6. Increasing active transportation and transit use.

The 29 action steps are a proposal to make the big moves a reality. Assistant City Manager Deb Schildroth is the project manager for the Climate Action Plan. Schildroth said Tuesday’s meeting will allow the Ames City Council to ask questions and discuss the Six Big Moves and action steps. 

Costs to achieve these targets could amount to $2.4 billion in capital costs and generate $1.5 billion in net returns and avoided costs. But due to external factors such as inflation, these could fluctuate.

The purpose of the Steering Committee meeting is to achieve a better understanding of the necessary next steps to obtain the goals. Proposed tasks for City Staff include:

  • Feasibility to implement the task 

  • Legal authority to fund and legal authority to implement the tasks 

  • Cost to citizens 

  • Reduction of greenhouse gas emission per $100,000 of investment

When examining the cost to the citizens, the city will look at charges from the City of Ames, which encompasses utility fees, property taxes and permit fees. City staff will also be charged with examining non-city costs such as apartment rent payments, building lease payments and construction costs.

The next step for the city staff is to review the legality of implementing the plan. This information will be presented at a later workshop meeting with the city council. Based on the staff’s findings, Schildroth said, the city council can then decide which steps to pursue and how to prioritize those steps.

The council will also review the results of surveys on the Six Big Moves. The Supplemental Input Committee consists of 20 representatives from the community sector, including Iowa State University, businesses, students and faith-based groups that will also provide a review of the Six Big Moves.

Information about the Ames Climate Action Plan and updates on the project can be found at the Climate Action Plan website.

The Ames City Council will meet at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at City Hall. The meeting can also be streamed from the City of Ames YouTube channel.