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Sustainability

Goal Area 1: Carbon-Free

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2050 Vision

Cedar Rapids is a carbon-free community. Residents canmeet their basic needs within a 15-minute walk. Clean energy provides clean, healthy air. Walking, biking, and busing are popular, while low-emissions public transit and shared-mobility options come frequently.


Objectives:

  • 1A. Reduce carbon emissions 45% by 2030 and net-zero by 2050
  • 1B. Increase renewables to 70–100% electricity
  • 1C. Increase transport sector's share of low-emission energy to 35–65%
  • 1D. Eliminate coal, reduce carbon in industry 65–90%, and sequester remaining carbon

Objective 1A. Reduce Carbon Emissions 45% by 2030 and net-zero by 2050

2030 Vision I

Homes and businesses build identity, achievements, and community through sustainability actions, which are celebrated and shared.

  • Action 1:  Build a Sustainable Neighborhood Program to advance sustainability achievements in each neighborhood and provide an exciting neighborhood-building opportunity for Neighborhood Associations.
  • Action 2: Create a fund to implement a Green & Healthy Homes and Small Businesses program to support deep energy and water efficiency retrofits, hazard remediation, renewable energy, and vehicle and large appliance electrification, prioritizing vulnerable neighborhoods.
  • Action 3: Build a Sustainable Business Program that enhances sustainable building practices (energy efficiency, clean energy, electrification, water, waste reduction) and sustainable land use practices (trees, green infrastructure, gardens, biking facilities).
  • Action 4: Support residential energy disclosure for prospective homeowners and renters and commercial energy benchmarking to encourage energy awareness and conservation.
  • Action 5: Develop and implement a sustainable building policy for new construction and major renovations.

2030 Vision II

Sustainable development policies support walkable core neighborhoods, where basic needs can be met in a 15-minute walk or bike ride. Living and working options support flexibility, resilience, entrepreneurship, and neighborhood identity.

  • Action 6: Update land development regulations to expand missing middle housing and neighborhood scale commercial opportunities throughout the city.
  • Action 7: Create a sustainable development policy that defines the characteristics of a 15-minute neighborhood and develops guidance and incentives to fill in missing amenities and features, prioritizing vulnerable neighborhoods.
  • Action 8: Enhance transit and shared transportation options (micro-mobility and car-sharing) in under-resources communities and high-priority transit locations. 
  • Action 9: Enhance the Complete Streets Policy to further community education and prioritize urban heat island mitigation and tree plantings in vulnerable neighborhoods. 

Objective 1B. Increase renewables to 70–100% electricity

2030 Vision

Renewable energy is widespread, equitable, and a key attractor for economic growth.

  • Action 10: Support large-scale solar installations in underutilized areas (parking lots and rooftops) and urban reserve areas that offer multiple benefits. 

Objective 1C. Increase transport sector's share of low-emission energy to 35–65%

2030 Vision

Low-emission city fleet and private vehicles are standard.

  • Action 11: Develop readiness in the community for electric vehicle infrastructure and emerging low-emitting technologies.

Objective 1D. Eliminate coal, reduce carbon in industry 65–90%, and sequester remaining carbon

2030 Vision

Industry-City partnerships drive carbon reduction and community resilience, providing a model of cooperation locally and nationally.

  • Action 12: Collaborate with industry around emission reductions (carbon capture, renewable energy) and community sustainability efforts (stormwater BMPs, garden and tree plantings, philanthropy, volunteerism).
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