Environmental Action Plan

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The Environmental Action Plan (EAP) is a guide for city leaders, staff, and members of the community to implement sustainability visions and principles. To date, the City of Harrisonburg has taken steps to address the quality and care of our natural resources; however, the latest science indicates that more ambitious actions are required to mitigate the impacts of environmental degradation and the changing climate that will affect our community’s health, economy, and well-being. Adopting and implementing the EAP helps the City support global targets for a stable climate and a resilient community. The plan includes recommended policy changes in the public sector and incentives in the private sector, as well as recommended actions for both the public and private sectors.

The development of the EAP is being completed in three phases (1, 2, and 3). The EAP document represents Phase 1 and describes goals, co-benefits, and strategies, and identifies tasks and responsible parties (such as a city department, private businesses, community organizations, or individuals). The EAP document is intended to lay the groundwork for phases 2 and 3 of EAP development and implementation of strategies towards environmental sustainability.

Since the adoption of phase I of the EAP by City Council on January 14, 2020, phase II and phase III have been in development.  Phase II focuses on establishing indicators for the strategies outlined in phase 1 to evaluate progress towards targets set in phase 3.

One of the three guiding goals of the EAP is to “reduce overall, community-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the intensity of GHGs emitted from different activities.”  The first strategy of this guiding goal is to complete a GHG Emissions Inventory.  In July of 2020, Dr. Sean McGinnis, Director of the Virginia Tech Green Engineering Program was engaged to conduct the GHG Emissions Inventory.  Dr. McGinnis completed the GHG Emission Inventory at both the Municipal and Community levels utilizing the ICLEI ClearPath analysis program, the international standard for GHG emissions inventories.  The process required engaging various stakeholders to gather data using 2016 as a baseline and 2019 as the first comparison year.  The data was analyzed and the first GHG Emissions Inventory Report was created.  The GHG Emissions Inventory Report was presented to City Council on October 12, 2021.  The meeting agenda and supporting documents are available on the Council Agenda & Stream Media webpage.

Our GHG Emissions Inventory provides City staff and the Environmental Performance Standards Advisory Committee a starting point from which to create targets for EAP goals, which will be outlined in phase 3.


Solar Energy:

Learn more about Solar Energy Resources within the City.

Current SolSmart Designation: Bronze (2022) 

Resource Documents: *All are PDF format PDF

Environmental Action Plan (EAP) [1.59MB]

Environmental Action Plan Focus Area 4 Phase 2 and 3 Addendum [904.88KB]

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories: *All are PDF format PDF

2016/19 Harrisonburg GHG Emissions Report (September 2021) [1.56MB]

2019 Community's GHG Emissions Infographic [2.44MB]

2021 Harrisonburg GHG Emissions Report [4.39MB]

Relevant City Council Resolutions

Harrisonburg's Transition to Renewable Energy by 2035 [325KB] - Adopted November 10, 2020

Adopting High Performance Standards and Solar Requirements for City Owned Buildings [115KB] - Adopted November 9, 2022