City of Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris Delivers Keynote Speech at Annual Net Zero Conference
City of Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris delivered the keynote address at the Net Zero 2017 Conference last Thursday afternoon. Organized by Verdical Group, a leading green building consulting firm, and held at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ IBEW/NECA Net Zero Plus Facility in Commerce, California, the annual conference is the nation’s largest event dedicated to net zero building design.
“If we truly want to ensure a clean energy world for the generations to come, it is up to those of us at the local level to implement change,” said City of Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “As a municipality, we had to step up and help our community take back the power. Now, the City of Lancaster has far exceeded what anyone believed it was capable of as a local government entity, becoming the Alternative Energy Capital of the World in a relatively short period of time.”
Positioning Lancaster as a world leader in climate change, over the past eight years Mayor Parris has boldly led the City’s charge toward sustainability – on a mission to make Lancaster one of the first zero net energy cities. The City has accomplished a number of unprecedented “firsts” in the sustainability sphere, including: becoming the first City in the nation to make residential solar mandatory and being the first city in California to mandate Zero Net Energy standards for new homes. Lancaster is also the first city in Southern California Edison territory to break away and forge its own Community Choice Aggregator (or CCA) and energy utility (Lancaster Choice Energy), as well as purchasing nearly 19,000 of its streetlights from SCE in order to convert them to energy-efficient LEDs.
Not only will Lancaster soon be Zero Net Energy, the City will also be home to the first 100% all-electric public transit bus fleet in North America, expected to be completed in 2018. In addition, the Build Your Dreams (BYD) electric bus manufacturing facility located in Lancaster is expanding – tripling its production capacity and creating hundreds of local jobs.
Due to the success of these many initiatives, Mayor Parris has become a sought out speaker on sustainability, both nationally and internationally, with the City taking on a mentorship role for a number of other municipalities. As such, Mayor Parris had much to share with the hundreds of Net Zero 2017 Conference attendees regarding climate change on a local level. The audience was enthusiastic, as the positive impact of expanding sustainability efforts was outlined and emphasized as a key influencer of Lancaster’s growing job market and strengthening local economy.
“Mitigating climate change at the local level gives us the power to create public-private partnerships and generate hundreds of local jobs in the process,” said Mayor Parris. “Working toward sustainability is not only the right thing to do – it just makes sense on so many levels.”