Environmental Action Plan

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The Environmental Action Plan (EAP) is a guide for city leaders, staff, and members of the community to implement sustainability visions and principles. To date, the City of Harrisonburg has taken steps to address the quality and care of our natural resources; however, the latest science indicates that more ambitious actions are required to mitigate the impacts of environmental degradation and the changing climate that will affect our community’s health, economy, and well-being. Adopting and implementing the EAP helps the City support global targets for a stable climate and a resilient community. 

Focus Areas within the Environment Action Plan chart

Focus Areas within the Environment Action Plan

The development of the EAP is divided in three phases (1, 2, and 3). The EAP document represents Phase 1 and describes goals, co-benefits, and strategies, and identifies tasks and responsible parties (such as a city department, private businesses, community organizations, or individuals). Phase 2 focuses on establishing indicators for the strategies outlined in Phase 1 to evaluate progress towards targets set in Phase 3. Phase 1 of the EAP was adopted by City Council on January 14, 2020. The plan includes recommended policy changes in the public sector and incentives in the private sector, as well as recommended actions for both the public and private sectors. 

 Community Goals Graphic












Solar Energy:

Learn more about Solar Energy Resources within the City.

Current SolSmart Designation: Silver (2023) 

Solsmart silver image

Resource Documents: *All are PDF format PDF

Environmental Action Plan (EAP) [1.59MB]

Environmental Action Plan Focus Area 4 Phase 2 and 3 Addendum [904.88KB]

Community Goals Addendum [196KB]

Sustainable Transportation

HDPT Adds Two Electric School Buses - Eyes Growth of Electric Fleet [537KB]

Biking and Walking Webpage

Transportation Projects Webpage

Fleet EVs

Vehicle Type

Chevy Bolt EUV 2
Ford F-150 Lightening 3
International CE Series EV school buses 2
Fleet E-Bikes Quantity
Como 1
Globe Haul 1



Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories:

Community Emissions 

 Municipal Emissions

Why Conduct an Inventory:

The Environmental Action Plan identifies completing an inventory as an important strategy towards the second Guiding Goal to reduce overall, community-wide greenhouse gas emissions. Inventories help us understand where our emissions are coming from. In addition, conducting annual inventories helps us to compare each subsequent year to our baseline year of 2016. This allows us to see the impacts in terms of increased or decreased emissions from various actions, policies, behavioral changes, and the makeup of our energy sources. Annual inventories help to hold our entire community accountable and to allow us to see, understand, and change behavior based on the trends we see.

*All are PDF format PDF

2016/19 Harrisonburg GHG Emissions Report (September 2021) [1.56MB]

2019 Community's GHG Emissions Infographic [2.44MB]

2021 Harrisonburg GHG Emissions Report  [4.39MB]

2022 Harrisonburg GHG Emissions Report  [1.5MB] 


Relevant City Council Resolutions

Harrisonburg's Transition to Renewable Energy by 2035 [325KB] - Adopted November 10, 2020

Adopting High Performance Standards and Solar Requirements for City Owned Buildings [115KB] - Adopted November 9, 2022

Waste Reduction

Composting is a great way to keep organic materials out of refuse, which diverts waste from the landfill and also cuts down on the potential for "refuse juice" to spill on the street and enter the storm sewer system. Although the City does not provide curbisde collection of compost, did you know that there is a public compost drop-off location in Harrisonburg? 

Community Compost Drop Off

Composting at Downtown Graph

Urban Heat Island Study

According to the EPA, heat islands are urbanized areas that experience higher temperatures than outlying areas. Structures such as buildings, roads, and other infrastructure absorb and re-emit the sun’s heat more than natural landscapes such as forests and water bodies. Urban areas, where these structures are highly concentrated and greenery is limited, become “islands” of higher temperatures relative to outlying areas. Daytime temperatures in urban areas can be several degrees higher than temperatures in outlying areas. Temperature differences can persist throughout the nighttime as well.

Heat Watch VFIC 2021 Report [25MB]

View: Urban Heat Island Map

Urban heat island graphic


Projected Climatic Changes

  • In 2022, Fairfax County completed an analysis of the projected climate conditions for 2050 and 2085 in Fairfax County, Virginia. While the report was made specifically for Fairfax County, the results are still applicable to Harrisonburg. 
  • "Climate" is often confused with "weather." Climate refers to long-term statistical averages of 20 years or more, while weather refers to day-to-day conditions. 
  • Fairfax County's Climate Projections Report presents future conditions under two greenhouse (GHG) scenarios: (1) a moderate warming future scenario, Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5, where global GHG emissions peak around 2040 and then, through climate policies, stabilize at around 540 parts per million (ppm) by 2100 (referred to "lower emissions" in this report), and (2) a high future warming scenario, RCP8.5, where there is little curbing of emissions and concentrations continue to increase rapidly reaching about 940 ppm by 2100 (referred to as "higher emissions" in the report).

Resilient Fairfax Climate Projections Report February 2022

Extreme Heat Days Projection