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Energy Seminar: A tale of three cities: Mayor Jim Brainard

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Over the last three decades, under the stewardship of Mayor Jim Brainard, the City of Carmel, Indiana and its citizens engaged in an experiment to reverse the trends of urban sprawl that have contributed greatly to a reduction in quality of life in the US.

In this talk, Mayor Jim Brainard will give an overview of the journey the city has taken these last 30 years to arrive at the Carmel of today, the recent innovations in becoming more data driven, and discuss the next steps to be taken if the city is to transition to becoming carbon free 24/7.

Speaker bio

Mayor Brainard's academic background includes a Bachelor of Arts in History from Butler University and Doctor of Jurisprudence from Ohio Northern University. He also received a diploma from the Oxford Institute on International and Comparative Law from the University of San Diego. His book, entitled 'Carmel, round about right,' shares the story of redevelopment in Carmel during his administration.

Mayor Brainard has implemented numerous environmental initiatives for the City of Carmel. He has encouraged the construction of roundabouts in place of traditional signaled intersections in Carmel, which reduces vehicle emissions. Accidents with injury were also reduced by almost 80 percent when contrasted to signalized intersections. The City now has more than 130 roundabout intersections, more than any other city in the United States. Mayor Brainard has signed executive orders mandating the use of hybrid or flex-fuel vehicles for city operations when available and recently enacted a "No Idling" policy for city employees. He also encouraged the City's Utilities Department to develop the technology to use recaptured methane gas to power its wastewater treatment facility as well as repurpose its biosolid waste into high quality fertilizer (topsoil), eliminating the need for its transport to and disposal in a landfill. He has also initiated testing the feasibility of utilizing wind energy as a future power source for the plant.

Mayor Brainard is serving as a Trustee and Co-chair of the Energy Independence and Climate Protection Task Force for the U.S. Conference of Mayors. In 2021, he was appointed to the Environmental Protection Agency's Local Government Advisory Committee and Vice Chair of the Air, Climate & Energy Workgroup. November of 2013, he was appointed to the Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience by President Barack Obama. In 2015, he traveled to four cities in India to represent the United States as part of the U.S. State Department's speaker's bureau. Also, in 2015 he was asked to speak on energy and climate policy at the German-American Centers in five German cities. In 2016, he was asked to speak on climate change and urban design in Rome, Italy at the International Making Cities Livable Conference. Additionally, he has been a guest lecturer for Georgetown University, Butler University, Indiana University and Purdue University among others. He often speaks to city councils and planning commissions across the United States about city design and development.

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