PCAT – Portland Climate Action Team

What is One Climate Future?

Portland and South Portland are imagining a future powered by clean, renewable energy that creates

opportunities for us to continuously innovate and work in partnership with natural systems. In such a scenario clean air, clean water, and healthy food are a given.

The full version and an executive summary are available at oneclimatefuture.org. For the summary click on the 3 horizontal bars at the top of the page, and then ”reports and resources.”

The Portland Climate Action Team (PCAT) of the Sierra Club has extracted some of the actions the cities and their citizens will take in order to meet our goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

What Portland and South Portland will do to reduce carbon emissions:

Build better buildings.

Portland has adopted the Universal building standard of 2021, which demands zero carbon emissions for any new construction.

Portland will expand financial incentives to make retrofits more affordable, encourage upgrades, and continue expanding low-carbon and resilient affordable housing. Contact the Portland Sustainability Office, Troy Moon, coordinator, for more info.

Power everything with clean renewable electricity.

All municipal electricity demand will be met with renewable energy by 2032. A solar proliferation strategy for

expanded access to community solar will be launched soon. Contact the Portland Sustainability Office, Troy Moon, coordinator, for more info.

Invest in electric vehicles to the extent possible and provide more charging stations for public usage.

There are lots of inspiring aspirational goals as well. Check them out at the One Climate Future website.

What you can do to reduce carbon emissions:

1. Go to the Efficiency Maine website.

Get a home energy audit to ensure that your insulation and weather tightness are as good as they can be. Efficiency Maine will contribute part of the cost for the audit. If weatherization work is indicated, they will also share those costs.

Rebates are available from Efficiency Maine on most of these items:

Heat Pumps, Solar Panels, Hot Water Systems, Weatherization, Electric Vehicles, Clothes Washers, Room Air Purifiers plus best prices on lightbulbs.

Install heat pumps in your home which retain their effectiveness down to -15 F. Eliminating fossil fuel (oil or gas) use for heating is one of the quickest ways to lower your emissions. And a heat pump will provide cooling in summer.

2. Before you rent, consider the building’s energy performance and heating fuel. The money you save may be your own!

3. Get solar power. If you own your roof, investigate the cost and pay back of rooftop solar. If not, community solar farms allow you to get solar energy less expensively than the standard offer with no upfront cost or long term obligation. Contact a variety of solar installers for quotes.

The City of Portland is developing a bulk purchase plan for solar panels and heat pumps. Contact the Portland Sustainability Office, Troy Moon, coordinator, for more info.

4. Use public transit for trips within the greater Portland area, or walk or bike. Not driving a (gasoline or diesel) car saves 100% of the emissions.

5. Consider buying an electric vehicle. Total operating costs of EVs are less than conventional cars, even though purchase price is higher. Charging stations are being built around town or consider sharing one with neighbors.

6. If you use a car infrequently, consider a car share with a friend or Zipcar or Turo.

7. Think Twice! Use less and be more conscientious about what you use and how you dispose of what you no longer need. Support local businesses and farmers to further cut down on fossil fuel use.

8. Garbage to Garden www.garbagetogarden.org. and We Compost It! www.wecompostit.org collect curbside food wastes for composting and leave a clean bucket every week. They’ll also supply you with ready-to-use compost for your garden. The City of Portland has a pilot composting project at various locations, including at the Clark St. Community Garden.

9. Be informed and vote for candidates who understand the climate crisis. Ask candidates how they will prioritize the reduction of carbon emissions. Vote for people who understand that if we don’t prioritize this, everything else suffers.