Reduction of energy consumption
in the intersection of behavioral changes and technological
Florida standing at the very end of the list of states by the energy consumption per capita doesn't stop on it. In 2017 the Department of Transportation made Orlando a proving ground for autonomous vehicles and in 2021 the city was selected for American Dream 2021 program in expanding homeownership that supports new buyers in ways to save money while promoting renewable energy usage. It provides owners with a discounted mortgage and renewable electricity at zero cost. The program was designed to achieve a reduction in carbon emissions and savings not only for the owners but also by giving $12.75 million back into the local economy.
In 2017 the city of Orlando also designed a draft of the Future-Ready city master plan that consists of such focus areas as connectivity, energy, health and safety, materials, mobility, placemaking, and water. It consists of short-term and long-term strategies that were partially changed in the future while figuring out ways of implementation. In the section on energy, the first step was made towards accessing renewable energy sources and promoting them between the residents. In the section on mobility, the plan included the implementation of other types of transportation than the single-occupant automobile system. Since 2017 in certain areas of Orlando were implemented autonomous buses, shared bike rentals, and scooters, the infrastructure of the bike lanes was designed and built to connect the city downtown and closeby residential areas. The city promotes educational programs for energy efficiency and conservation, solar programs, and the use of smart thermostats as well as gives tips on how to reduce an electrical bill. Multiple EV charging stations were built in the city streets to enforce and support the electric vehicle buyers.
In 2007 Orlando joined the list of cities and states that follow the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards and later also provided financial support for residents and business owners striving to modernize and improve the energy and water efficiency of their property.
Downtown Orlando pursued the initiative of testing connected and autonomous vehicles and traffic optimization with smart systems of the traffic lights.
In my personal experience coming from New York City to Orlando, first I lived outside of the city center and had to use the car for all the activity and work, but quickly realized how important it is for me to be able to walk to my destinations and to be in the close and walkable proximity to the commercial buildings. When I moved to the area between Downtown and Winter Park I minimized the use of the car from 10 hours a week to about 2 hours substituting driving with a walk or bike ride. I subscribed to the membership of a bike-sharing program and lowered expenses on car maintenance and gas usage while being more active and healthier myself.