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. 

Focus Areas within the Environment Action Plan chart

Focus Areas within the Environment Action Plan

The development of the EAP is divided 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). Phase 2 focuses on establishing indicators for the strategies outlined in Phase 1 to evaluate progress towards targets set in Phase 3. Phase 1 of the EAP was adopted by City Council on January 14, 2020. 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. 


Solar Energy:

Learn more about Solar Energy Resources within the City.

Current SolSmart Designation: Silver (2023) 

Solsmart silver image

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]

Community Goals Addendum [196KB]


Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories:

Community Emissions 

 Municipal Emissions

Why Conduct an Inventory:

The Environmental Action Plan identifies completing an inventory as an important strategy towards the second Guiding Goal to reduce overall, community-wide greenhouse gas emissions. Inventories help us understand where our emissions are coming from. In addition, conducting annual inventories helps us to compare each subsequent year to our baseline year of 2016. This allows us to see the impacts in terms of increased or decreased emissions from various actions, policies, behavioral changes, and the makeup of our energy sources. Annual inventories help to hold our entire community accountable and to allow us to see, understand, and change behavior based on the trends we see.

*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]

2022 Harrisonburg GHG Emissions Report  [1.5MB] 


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


Urban Heat Island Study

According to the EPA, heat islands are urbanized areas that experience higher temperatures than outlying areas. Structures such as buildings, roads, and other infrastructure absorb and re-emit the sun’s heat more than natural landscapes such as forests and water bodies. Urban areas, where these structures are highly concentrated and greenery is limited, become “islands” of higher temperatures relative to outlying areas. Daytime temperatures in urban areas can be several degrees higher than temperatures in outlying areas. Temperature differences can persist throughout the nighttime as well.

Heat Watch VFIC 2021 Report [25MB]

View: Urban Heat Island Map

Urban heat island graphic