The Applied Sustainability Center at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas has also selected North Little Rock, Harrison, Fayetteville, Arkadelphia, Wynne, Searcy and Hot Springs to participate in program.
The Applied Sustainability Center (ASC) selected the cities based on their reputation as serious about sustainability initiatives and the ideas and commitment expressed in applications to the SESEM program. The program is designed to assist municipalities in the development of sustainable energy plans. Cities were also selected to ensure diversity in terms of total population and utility type. The SESEM program was made possible through a grant from Arkansas Community Foundation to the Applied Sustainability Center as part of the foundation's Sustainable Energy Initiative.
"Cities around the country are playing a central role in driving energy efficiency and renewable energy, and Arkansas cities stand to reap significant benefits in terms of job creation, retained wealth and attracting new investment," said Michele Halsell, managing director of the Applied Sustainability Center. "The cities participating in SESEM will benefit from learning about the municipal policy innovations, the success stories of other cities nationally and through their attendance at the Sustainable Energy Academy this summer at the University of Arkansas."
Highlights of the application from Gould included a plan from city leadership to promote energy efficiency in the Gould residential rental market and an established commitment to energy efficiency demonstrated by the installation of two energy-efficient heating and cooling units in the Gould City Hall.
SESEM includes the provision of baseline data on energy usage, a municipal energy education workshop to be conducted by the ASC in each city, monthly energy strategy calls and webinars and the Summer Energy Academy. Cities also will have the option to work with University of Arkansas students on energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
"The program will optimize the success of municipalities vested in developing the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment for their communities," said Joanna Pollock, staff sustainability strategist at the ASC. There is no charge to the cities to participate, but city managers and mayors have committed the participation of city staff and stakeholders from their communities.
"We are honored to have been selected to participate in the SESEM program. We have identified a need in our community to significantly reduce utility bills," said the Reverend Earnest Nash, Jr., Gould's Mayor. "Sometimes utility bills are even higher than rent. We believe SESEM will help us put our ideas into action."