According to the U.S. Green Building Council, energy use associated with the design, construction and occupancy of buildings accounts for over 62% of total U.S. energy consumption and 30% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The Town of Blacksburg is committed to reducing energy use in its facilities and assisting the community with implementing energy conservation measures in their homes and in the work place.
In 2003, the Town of Blacksburg became one of the first municipalities in the Commonwealth of Virginia to implement an Energy Performance Contract to install energy efficient equipment and systems in town facilities. This effort included a comprehensive retrofit of all interior lighting systems, the installation of energy efficient HVAC systems and energy management systems, the installation of programmable thermostats, and the installation of LED lights in all traffic signals town wide.
In 2004, the Town of Blacksburg joined the U.S. Green Building Council to participate in their Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) program and enhance the town’s knowledge of green buildings. In 2005, the director of public works became a LEED Accredited Professional, and in 2007, the Town developed a policy that all newly constructed or renovated municipal buildings would be done to LEED Silver standards or better. Later that same year, the Blacksburg Town Council approved a plan to renovate the Blacksburg Motor Company building in accordance with LEED green building rating system standards. This project, which integrated historic preservation with redevelopment of a contaminated brownfield site, attained a LEED Platinum rating upon completion in 2009.
In late 2006, the Town of Blacksburg signed the U.S. Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement to commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions within the community. In 2007, energy use data was collected as part of a comprehensive community greenhouse gas inventory in support of a newly formed Mayor’s Task Force on Climate Protection & Sustainability. The town’s Climate Action Plan was completed in 2016 and is in the implementation phase. In 2017 and 2018, key strategies from the Climate Action Plan were integrated into the Comprehensive Plan as a part of a major update. In late 2017, the Blacksburg Town Council adopted a 100% Renewables Resolution, which asserts the town will work toward a complete transition to clean energy by 2050. In 2019, The town joined with other Virginia localities to pursue community SolSmart designation, which ensures that local governments offer a solar-friendly local policy environment. A key part of attaining SolSmart community designation is to create an online portal with all the information residents and businesses might need to go solar: from finding a local solar installer, to learning about available tax credits, to navigating the permitting and inspection process.