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Burbank is close to meeting its greenhouse-reduction goals

Roof solar panels at Burbank’s Water & Power building on Magnolia Ave. in Burbank on Wednesday, September 28, 2011.
Burbank has reduced its carbon footprint by about 15% compared to its emission levels in 2010, officials said on Monday during a Planning Board meeting.
(File photo)

Burbank is well on its way to meeting its greenhouse-gas reduction goals for 2020, and officials are looking to stay ahead of the curve as state emission standards change.

The city has met about 95% of the 2020 goals set by its Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan, in which Burbank reduces its emissions by 15% based on the city’s 2010 emission levels, said Karen Pan, an administrative officer for the Community Development Department during a Planning Board meeting on Monday.

The plan was approved by the City Council in February 2013 as a guideline to help the city reduce its carbon footprint and build a greener community, using the city’s emission levels from 2010 as a baseline for any changes made.

Pan said the plan set two targets for the city to meet — the first being to reduce greenhouse gas levels within the city by 15% by 2020 and, the other to cut those levels by 30% by 2035.

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The reduction plan identified five areas where the city could focus on lowering emission levels — building and energy projects, transportation, water conservation, waste reduction and municipal measures.

Since 2013, Burbank has adopted or updated several policies — the Recycled Water Master Plan, Potable Water Distribution System Master Plan, Integrated Resource Master Plan and Street Lighting Master Plan — to help the city meet its goals.

Additionally, city staff members are currently working on Burbank’s Complete Streets Plan, which looks to create a better infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists to get to transit hubs, home or work safer and more efficiently.

Pan said the emission-reduction goals are measured in metric tons of carbon-dioxide emissions annually.

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So far, the city has reduced its greenhouse-gas levels by 43,302 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is just 2,375 metric tons short of its 2020 target.

The main contributor to the emission reductions has been the city’s policies for buildings and energy efficiency, in which emission levels were reduced by 20,574 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Renewable-energy requirements, policies for solar-energy systems and energy-efficiency retrofitting are some of the key ways Burbank has been able to lower its carbon footprint, Pan said.

A new development that is a prime example in greenhouse-gas reduction is the Avion Burbank project near the Hollywood Burbank Airport, according to city officials.

Pan said the mixed-use industrial site, which developers hope to complete within the next 16 months, incorporates insulated roofs, about 1,200 shade trees throughout the campus and generates about 10% of the site’s energy needs through numerous solar panels on the buildings.

Waste-reduction policies — such as better methane collection and control systems, lumber diversion and composting programs — contributed to a reduction of 12,769 metric tons of carbon dioxide throughout the city.

While Burbank has a good handle on emission reductions for buildings, energy projects and waste-reduction policies, Pan said city staff members are still working on lowering Burbank’s carbon footprint regarding transportation.

So far, the city has reduced its transportation emission levels by 9,714 metric tons of carbon dioxide, but the goal by next year is to reduce those emissions by 17,233 metric tons.

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Pan said a key policy to reduce those levels is the city’s Transportation Management Organization Plan, which has a goal of about 46% of the Burbank workforce using some type of alternative transportation, such as bicycling, carpooling or public transit.

However, Pan said only about 24% of those who work in the city have turned to alternative modes of transportation, while the majority of people still drive to work.

A project that is geared to help boost that figure is the city’s Safe Routes to School Plan, which provides a safer transportation infrastructure for students.

The city also recently broke ground on the newest section of its Burbank Channel Bikeway, which, when completed, will connect bicyclists to the Glendale border and the Metrolink station in downtown Burbank.

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