Boone officials are taking steps to update their current comprehensive plan as the community continues to grow. That includes a new Community Climate Action Plan to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and climate impacts.
The goal is to have the entire town running on 100 percent renewables by 2050 and reach net zero carbon emissions by then.
Earlier this year, Boone became the first municipality in North Carolina to achieve 100% renewable energy in government facilities using solar and hydroelectric power. Other investments include buying hybrid vehicles for the town's police and other departments and working with Appalachian State University on climate-related initiatives.
Local leaders say the new plan will take these efforts a step further and help identify what infrastructure is needed to meet their goals, which will take a community effort. A survey was launched in April to see what type of climate policy people would like to see, and results will be released in a few weeks. Boone Mayor Tim Futrelle says it will have an impact for years to come.
"We just want to make sure that we are doing our part," says Futrelle. "It has everything from planting trees and more green space to working with business partners as far as how we dispose and mitigate waste to quality-of-life issues like affordable housing."
Town officials say they plan to apply for federal grants to help add more solar technologies throughout the community.
Futrelle says they are currently looking at areas that they wouldn't be able to use for affordable housing but could use for something like small-scale solar installations.
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