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Climate Solutions: New Energy Cities

We helped the New Energy Cities project build a website to support a new community of sustainable cities.

We helped the New Energy Cities project build a website to support a new community of sustainable cities.

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Climate Solutions: New Energy Cities

Keep it clean.

It takes a city

Okay. So you’ve reduced your own carbon footprint like crazy these past few years. You’re walking everywhere, refusing to buy anything new, and irritating your friends and family with your constant questioning of the source of everything on the menu. And lately, you’ve probably moved on from thinking about individual actions to thinking more about big systems of energy.

That’s what the New Energy Cities project is about – entire cities becoming sustainable communities. NEC is a project of Climate Solutions, a nonprofit based in the Pacific Northwest working to help local business leaders and elected officials transform our cities into clean energy economies.

The vision is that along with carrying your tiffin for lunch at your locally-sourced café, you can also live in a city that is powered by clean, renewable energy, work in a super-efficient green building, and (if you do drive) plug in your car to draw from and feed the smart power grid.

Pioneers

Communities pioneering the way are Albany, Oregon; Jackson, Wyoming; Salem, Oregon; Spokane, Washington; Thurston County, Washington; and Edmonds, Washington. NEC will work with 8-12 communities in the Northwest to help them create an energy strategy that creates jobs, reduces dependence on fossil fuel and offers clean energy for a healthier community.

And as we move along down the path of smarter, cleaner energy, and when the curmudgeons shake their Eeyore heads “there is no way we can move an entire community to a clean energy economy” – these pioneering communities and New Energy Cities program staff can share the roadmap.

Technology to support the mission

NEC Program Director Eileen Quigley’s goal is to make the NEC website THE go-to site for cities—regionally, nationally and internationally—that are serious about reducing their carbon footprint.

Our strategy and web teams worked with NEC to marry the right technical solutions with the advocacy goal of the nonprofit.

  • Building a robust Resources Library with a powerful search feature was at the top of NEC’s list. We built a resource library with intelligent handling of documents, audio, video and links and imported NEC's existing library of files. NEC staff can upload a file to the library and the presentation is automatically adjusted depending on what type of file it is. We leveraged several of our other Plone products (Scrawl, Carousel, etc.) and built on previous work we had done on resource presentation.
  • To make the resources easy to find, we set up a searching and filtering interface with custom landing pages and friendly icons.  Users can drill down by focus area or resource type, and the results update as they make choices.
  • When you are talking about moving communities to clean, sustainable energy, it’s a pretty dense topic from the get-go. We wanted to make sure the site was easy to navigate with many opportunities for city leaders to download and print how-to guides, checklists, requirements, and more.
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