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
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.
Learn more about Solar Energy Resources within the City.
Current SolSmart Designation: Bronze (2022)
Resource Documents: *All are PDF format
Environmental Action Plan (EAP) [1.59MB]
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories: *All are PDF format
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. An inventory is planned to be conducted annually. Our GHG Emissions Inventory provides a starting point from which to create targets for EAP goals.
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