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2020 A2ZERO Carbon Neutrality Plan 3.0

A2Zero Carbon Neutrality Plan Version 3.0 is here This plan is a living document that outlines a path for achieving Ann Arbor’s goal of being carbon neutral, community-wide, by 2030. Additionally, check out  this  memo to see what changed from version 1.0.

2020 A2ZERO Carbon Neutrality Implementation Fact Sheet

Read the implementation fact sheet here

Sustainability & Resilience During COVID-19  

As we navigate these unprecedented and uncertain times in our lives and as a community, we invite you to stay engaged in sustainability. We have compiled a list of suggestions and resources to practice the Michigan Governor’s call to Stay Home, Stay Safe. 

We also invite you to Learn More about sustainability actions at the City of Ann Arbor. 

Stay Home 

We are all adjusting to a new reality that involves staying in our homes as much as possible. Here are a few ideas for keeping your home clean, stocked with essentials, and equipped to provide a productive workplace. 


The basics of staying safe and managing your household in this age of coronavirus are explained in this intuitive COVID 19 Leadership course. Don’t forget to review the CDC Guidelines for the most recent recommendations. 

Talk to your kids about coronavirus with these handy tips. 

Shopping for Essentials   

If you have to venture into public to gather essentials, make sure to keep yourself protected. Follow the CDC's directions on how to make a cloth mask at home. 

Follow these tips for stocking up on essential items only. Avoid hoarding to make sure there are enough supplies for all to go around. 

While you’re out shopping for grocery essentials, consider this guide on saving money. 

If hand sanitizer is sold out, try making your own. 

Many grocery stores in Michigan no longer allow you to bring reusable bags into their stores, so check with them before you grab your bags. If you are using reusable bags, make sure to clean them frequently. Otherwise, ask the cashier for paper bags that can be recycled instead of plastic. 

Watch this tutorial on how to disinfect your groceries. 

Working From Home 

Working from home has become the new norm, but it doesn’t have to turn your workday upside-down. Here are a few tips and tricks to get you settled into this new way of working. 

Take a tour of remote workspaces for further inspiration. 

If you manage a team, see this article for a guide to effective remote management. 

 Stay Healthy 

Our new shared reality may also pose new challenges to our familiar health routines, including staying active, getting the right nutrients, and tending to our mental health. See some resources below to help keep you and your family’s health in check. 

Exercise  ​

As you spend most of the time at home, it’s important to keep your body active. Consider a no-equipment-needed exercise plan or explore on of the manyfree online exercise platforms for all types of classes.  Make a new ritual of walking/biking or exploring new areas of Ann Arbor on our extensive bike and pedestrian pathways. If you’re up for exploring the great outdoors, Michigan’s state parks are still open during Gov. Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order (though, please minimize travel as much as possible). 


Explore USDA’s list of healthy eating resources here to keep your nutritional needs in balance. Learn about the carbon footprint of your diet and check out videos to help you transition to some low-carbon plant-based meals. Reduce your food waste by reading these tips If you still find you have food waste, Ann Arbor’s compost collection for 2020 began on April 6. Alternatively, consider starting a compost pile in your own backyard. 


Keep your immune system functioning at its best by familiarizing yourself with Harvard Medical School’s guide to boosting your immune system.

Good sleep helps you manage stress and anxiety better, among other things. Practice healthy ‘sleep hygiene’ to make sure you are well-rested. It is an understandable time to have increased anxiety and stress. Be mindful of you and your family’s stress levels get started with some mindfulness practices, start a journaling routine, or utilize these tips to destress with kids. If you need to talk to someone or want more helpful tips for managing stress, use Washtenaw County’s line at 734-544-3050.  

Stay Connected 

As we take precautions to stay home and practice safe distancing, it is imperative that we stay connected to friends, family, and community. Whether you are staying connected with your own family or with your entire neighborhood, creating opportunity for social interaction will help us whether this pandemic better together. 

Home Activities 

If we are to make the best use of these uncertain times, we can work towards becoming more self-reliant and improve our sustainability practices at home. Find out what your household carbon footprint is through EPA’s handy online calculator. This will help you understand your current impact and how to minimize your household’s carbon footprint. Consider switching your lawn to a native groundcover or install a rain gardenyou may even qualify for a City stormwater credit!

 You can find healthy lawn care tips at Southeastern Oakland County’s Water Authority.  Shop Local Online! Help keep our cherished local Ann Arbor small businesses alive by purchasing gift cards online for future use and posting positive reviews on Yelp and Google..

If you’re not shopping locally, be sure to learn about sustainability-oriented businesses through the B-Corps directory and vote with your dollar. 

Declutter! Read about the benefits of decluttering your home and remote workspace, and get some tips from the master herself, Marie Kondo. Turn on a nature cam to set up a relaxing atmosphere for decluttering. Donate the items you don’t want to your local Goodwill or drop-off bin. 

Get all hands on deck for some great upcycling and recycledactivities with kids to reuse household materials before recycling them. 

Learn more about our great state by reading books about Michigan with your kids or on your own. 

Play Energy Bingo with the family. 

Explore the National Education Association’s and the EPA’s resources for children’s environmental education activities. 

Explore Sustainability - Sustainability lesson plans  

Neighborhood Projects  

The situation we currently face gives us an opportunity to reflect and build more of the sustainable and resilient community we’d like to see. Now is the time to come together with your neighbors and build a thriving community today and into the future. 


Keep your elderly and vulnerable neighbors in mind and offer to help them with groceries or errands. Use this note template to let them know who to call for assistance or utilize the NextDoor’s new “Help Map”. However, make sure to stay safe and thoroughly sanitize items, to reduce the chance of passing on the virus. 

Food Gatherers is still open! Consider donating food to help those in need most during this time.  

Host a pop-up concert in your front yard, put on a play with your family, or share poetry with your neighbors while maintaining a safe distance. Leave invitations for your neighbors ahead of time so they know when the show starts! 

Organize a neighborhood-wide front yard art show like this community or a bear/stuffed animal neighborhood safari hunt.   

Leave fun messages for neighbors using chalk on sidewalks.  

Host a virtual neighborhood clean-up where residents can pick up trash during their walks. 

Organize an Outdoor Photo Scavenger Hunt with your family and/or neighbors to take as many photos showing examples of nature that can be found in yards and neighborhoods. 

Organize a bike parade in your neighborhood by having each child decorate their bikes and maintaining a safe distance while showing off their creations to the neighbors. 


Learn about Resilience hubs that can help your neighborhood be better prepared for emergencies   

There are many benefits to having more greenery in your neighborhood and you can start planning a tree-planting project. 

Get Involved Beyond 

If you are healthy and in a low-risk group, consider volunteering in person or remotely. Governor Whitmer launched a COVID-19 Volunteer Website to help tackle the local effects of this global pandemic. 

Follow Greta Thornberg’s lead to bring activism online and participate in a #climatestrikeonline, #digitalclimatestrike. 

Learn about the green stimulus proposal to rebuild a green economy post-COVID-19 and voice your support. 

Advocate for a People’s Bailout which calls for a just economic stimulus that prioritizes those most affected by COVID-19 and the current recession. 


The work we do to create more sustainable and resilient households and neighborhoods in Ann Arbor is an important part of a bigger effort. Take time to learn about local, national, and international sustainability programs and issues. 


Familiarize yourself with the City of Ann Arbor’s Climate Action Plan and learn about the City’s current sustainability programs. 

Celebrate Earth Day by learning from experts around the world on this United Nations-hosted webinar and if you are moved, learn more through the SDG Academy. 

Get inspired by how other communities are addressing climate change and cultural sustainability by reading this guide. 

Watch the top sustainability-related films or find free online sustainability films by category. 

Office of Sustainability and Innovations 5 Year Workplan

The Office of Sustainability and Innovations ​has developed a 5 Year Workplan FINAL_Sustainability_5year_workplan_aug_26.pdf to lay out projects that will be worked on in the immediate future. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or would like to help. We love community volunteers and interns!

Sustaining Ann Arbor Together Grant

 project page for more details.

Idling Ban

Starting July 1, 2017, new regulations go into effect to prevent unnecessary vehicle idling. Please visit our Idle Free Ann Arbor page for more details.

​​​​Coal Tar Se​​alant Ban​

Effective July 3, 2016, the use of coal tar sealants or high PAH sealants are banned in the city of Ann Arbor.  For more details, visit the Coal Tar Sealants page.

Live an​​d Work Sustai​nably 

​On Feb​r​uary 19, 2013, Ann Arbor City Council adopted the sustainability framework as an element of the City Master Plan​. The sustainability framework identifies 16 sustainability goals to help make Ann Arbor more sustainable. Learn more about what you can do to sustain A2!  

Climate Adap​​​​tation

Precipitation has increased 25% in the last 30 years in Ann Arbor and the frequency of extreme storm events has increased 43%.  Climate experts agree that climate change is already occurring and the impacts are likely to increase in the future. The City of Ann Arbor recognizes the serious threats that climate change poses to the local environment, economy, and livelihoods and is taking steps to prepare for these unavoidable climate changes.


City residents, businesses and institutions spend over 200 million dollars per year on natural gas and electricity.  80% of our energy comes from coal.  Investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy are key to reducing climate-changing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and keeping millions of dollars in the local economy. The City Council recently approved a resolution to actively support federal Carbon Fee and Dividend (CFD) legislation which would set a national fee on fossil fuels.  CFD would stimulate investment in renewable energy as the price of fossil fuels rises.


Over 50% of Ann Arbor waste is diverted from landfills for recycling or composting.  40% of your household waste could be composted (we know because we sorted through 100 carts).  Ann Arbor residents are awesome recyclers but we can always do more.


85% of our drinking water comes from the Huron River.  Ann Arbor's Water Treatment Plant treats and distributes 28 million gallons per day of local surface and groundwater for businesses and residents.  All that water is then treated at the Wastewater Plant and returned to the Huron River. The urban forest and storm w​ater​ conveyance systems help improve water quality.

Getting Around T​own

Ann Arbor is one of the top five cities for walking ​in the country.  Ann Arbor has over 77 lane miles of bike lanes and shared-use arrow segments, over 400 miles of sidewalk, over 1,000 bike parking spaces in downtown, and 57 miles of shared-use paths. GoPass riders used T​he Ride​ over 600,000​ times last year.  Choosing alternative transportation modes, like riding the bus, are healthier, cheaper, reduce congestion, and reduce our community greenhouse gas emissions.

Volu​​nt​​eer Opportunities

Last year, 1,600 volunteers invested 8,000 hours during 180 events to support Natural Area Preservation in caring for the city's nature areas; you are invited to help at one of their family friendly ev​entsGIV​E 365 is our volunteer gateway to a va ri ety of ways you can meet neighbors, see new parts of the city, and improve the community.​


Several boards and commissions make recommendations to City Council on a variety of sustainability issues. Learn more about the Energy, Environmental, Greenbelt Advisory​, Historic Di​strict, Housing, Planning, and Park Advisory​ Commissions.  

Protect Our Spot on the Big Blue Dot

E-mail picture

Missy Stults
Sustainability and Innovations Manager
(734) 794-6430 x43725

Emily Drennen
Sustainability Analyst
(734) 794-6430 x43726