When you think about Orlando, Florida, you might think of sunshine and Disney – not climate change.

But Chris Castro, the city’s sustainability director, says Orlando is experiencing more intense rainfall, hotter summers, and warmer winters.

To do its part to limit global warming, the city is taking action. By next year, it intends to cut carbon emissions by 25 percent of what they were in 2010, with much deeper reductions by 2040.

A key strategy is improving energy efficiency in buildings.

Castro: “In Orlando our greenhouse gas footprint was 70 percent coming from the built environment.”

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The city passed a law requiring its largest buildings to track their energy use. This publicly available information allows for better decision-making by building owners and consumers.

Orlando is also supporting clean energy, with new incentives and financing that make it cheaper to go solar.

Castro: “The beauty about this stuff is we’re finding with today’s prices that we can not only go solar but also save money for taxpayers and the city operations.”

It all adds up to a plan for Orlando to clean up its energy act and lead the Sunshine State toward a more sustainable future.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

Daisy Simmons

Daisy Simmons is a freelance writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience in research-driven storytelling. In addition to contributing to Yale Climate Connections since early 2016, she also...