City's Climate Action Strategy
Climate change on a global scale
Climate change is often talked about, but seldom understood. To break down the definition, climate is the "average" weather for a certain region. This includes everything from temperature to rain patterns. Although Earth's climate has been expected to change over time, it has been changing at a much more alarming rate due to rising levels of carbon dioxide, among other things. This has resulted in rising sea levels, droughts, extreme rainfall, and so much more. It has been determined, according to research done by the Washington State Department of Ecology, that reducing greenhouse emissions is the most significant way in which climate change can be reduced, or at the least, slowed.
Fighting climate change in Washington state
Through a mix of local and state-level leadership making the environment a top priority, as well as initiatives, issued by Governor Jay Inslee, and local cities taking action, Washington state is working to be ahead of the curve in the battle against climate change. Cities across the state, and the world, have joined together and signed onto America's Pledge on Climate
Learn more about how climate change is effecting our beautiful state on the Department of Ecology's website. According to an executive summary released in 2012, our state is "addressing this challenge and has adopted policies to reduce energy use, limit greenhouse gas emissions, and build a clean energy economy." Breaking it down even further, Everett has been taking notes and working to be progressive in the ways that we approach this challenge.
What current actions is Everett taking?
Since January 2001, the City of Everett has worked tirelessly to reduce its carbon footprint as a City organization, and has even come up with a Climate Action Plan for Municipal Operations. We have done this not only through taking a "green" approach when it comes to our facilities and vehicles, but also in encouraging our more than 1,200 employees to walk, bike, carpool, or take public transportation, to work.
Everett is moving to electrify its Everett Transit bus fleet. Seven new all-electric buses will replace older diesel buses over the next two years, and we will continue to move toward a total replacement of carbon-emitting buses.
City staff is also working with the City Council to develop an updated Climate Action Plan (see above) that will keep us on an assertive path forward in reducing emissions in City operations and in educating the public about daily habits that can make a difference. We will also be seeking to work with Snohomish County, our neighboring cities and the state to adopt workable and effective strategies to reduce our carbon footprint.
Published materials include:
- City of Everett Comprehensive Plan, Climate Change & Sustainability Element, Background Report (PDF) (January 2015)
- City of Everett Comprehensive Plan, Chapter 10, Climate Change and Sustainability (PDF) (April 2017)
- Urban Carbon Reduction Strategies (SEI NEC Memo to City, Sept 2016)
- Council General Government Committee Meeting, May 17, 2017(Video - starts at 1:30))
Learn more on the City's Sustainability and Climate Action page.
How is the City working to go green?
- Motor Vehicles Department (MVD)
- Reduce miles traveled
- Facilities going green
- Conserving fuel
- Parks resource reduction
The City of Everett has many ways to approach and combat climate change on a city government level. The biggest affect on climate change is related to transportation and how we travel.
According to the Climate Action Plan for Municipal Operations (PDF), "the Snohomish PUD provides low-carbon electricity (81% hydropower as of 2014), and Everett’s carbon dioxide emissions primarily derive from transportation and direct natural gas use for heating. As a result, Everett could consider the following as top priorities for reduction:
1. Embracing cleaner vehicles and lower carbon fuels for transport
2. Reducing vehicle miles traveled
3. Reducing direct natural gas use for heating through energy conservation and building efficiency
The chart below offers strategies with potential partners that correspond to the top priority recommendations:
When every new vehicle with current emissions and better MPG is placed in service, it removes a vehicle with worse emissions and worse MPG from service.
Over time, regular fleet replacement has brought a reduction in emissions and a reduction in fuel usage. However, fleet additions (diesel and gas vehicles and equipment) have caused an increase in fuel usage that have negated some of the fuel savings and reduction in emissions of newer vehicles and equipment.
Below are ways that the Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) has been working to replace vehicles in the fleet:
- Assisted with the specifications and purchase of electric-powered non-road vehicles and equipment
- Assisted with the specifications and purchase of non-plug in hybrid vehicles, including 11 Toyota Prius and 16 Ford Fusion Hybrid (Police use only)
- Assisted with the specifications and purchase of 4 electric, plug-in, low-speed vehicles, that are street legal
- Ordered one fully electric vehicle and one plug-in hybrid vehicle for use by MVD as staff/pool vehicles, as well ordering one two station electric vehicle charger
- Evaluate the cost/benefit of biodiesel B5 blend on a “by delivery” basis as compared to ULSD
Everett continues to do its part in the battle against climate change through numerous climate initiatives and resources including:
- The City has a complete streets ordinance
- The City has its own Commute trip reduction program, where employees are encouraged to use shared transportation systems through participating in the RideMatch and SmartMOVE programs
- Providing biking resources such as an Everett bike route map and participating every year in Bike Everywhere Month
- Providing City staff with One Regional Card for All (ORCA) cards
- Acquiring electric utility vehicles and buses as finances allow (since this article was published, there are now seven buses being manufactured for delivery for Everett Transit's fleet)
- Public education campaigns and engagement opportunities
- The City's sustainability ordinance was adopted in 2007
- The City converted nearly all of its City-owned street luminaires to high efficiency LED fixtures. (City owned fixtures make up about 1/3 of the streetlight fixtures in the public R/W with the other 2/3 owned by Snohomish County PUD.)
- Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) ordinance
- City’s LEED Ordinance adopting a sustainable building and infrastructure policy became effective 6/20/2007
- New construction
- Municipal Court – Completed 5/30/2013
- Certified LEED Silver
- Optimized Energy Performance by 22%
- Certified LEED Silver
- Municipal Court – Completed 5/30/2013
- Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) equipment replacements
- 2801 Fire Training – Rooftop Units 2014
- 2811 Fire Department Warehouse – Boiler Replacement 2015
- City partnership with McKinstry on grant funded projects
- New equipment reduced electrical and natural gas consumption
- Since 2014, Parks and Public Works has put into effect an anti-idling policy
- This requires employees to limit or eliminate the idling of City vehicles and equipment to reduce exhaust emissions
- What does this generally look like?
- Idling of vehicles is limited to a maximum of one (1) minute for gas engines and three (3) minutes for diesel engines when temperature is above 32 degrees F
- A five (5) minute maximum idle time is allowed for any engine type when temperature is at or below 32 degrees F or if frost is present on vehicle windows
- See the full Public Works anti-idling policy (PDF)
- See the full Parks and Recreation anti-idling policy (PDF)
Sport Field Lighting
- Measure Description: The Parks Department has upgraded the lighting at Kasch soccer fields to LED and automated the sport field lighting to the automated Musco lighting system that allows us to remotely monitor and operate the lighting. Reductions in carbon dioxide emissions result from reduced travel to the site to operate the lights.
- Resource Savings: This measure results in an energy cost savings from a reduction in run time for the lights.
- Measure Description: The Parks Department has upgraded lighting, automated lighting controls, removed water heaters or replaced them with on demand water heaters. Instead of consistently having lights on or heating water, the energy is only utilized when needed.
- Resource Savings: These measures result in a reduced electrical consumption through more efficient or reduced usage.
- Measure Description: The Parks Department uses “Maxicom”, an evapotranspiration based computerized irrigation system. This measure has resulted in reductions in carbon dioxide emissions from a reduction in travel needs, and therefore fewer vehicle miles traveled to monitor and adjust the irrigation clocks.
- Resource Savings: The system takes weather data to adjust the amount of water it applies to the landscape. This result in only applying the amount of water that is needed and realizing a water reduction.
- Measure Description: The City acquired and installed 41 “BigBelly” solar powered trash compactors since mid-2010. The city has acquired and installed 4 “Alpha Cans”. The City has instituted a “Pack it in, Pack it out” program in some Park areas. These measures have resulted in reductions in carbon dioxide emissions from reduced service needs compared to existing waste receptacles, and therefore fewer vehicle miles traveled to collect garbage in the parks system.
- Resource Savings: At over $3.00 per gallon for diesel fuel, these measures will save the city every year in avoided fuel costs. The City is also expecting a labor savings.
- Measure Description: Parks instituted different vegetation management solutions including renovating with native vegetation, low mow or no mow areas, and utilizing goats for vegetation removal. Reductions in carbon dioxide emissions result from reduced service needs and therefore fewer vehicle miles traveled to mow at these sites. There is also the reduction from less time spent running the gas and diesel powered mowing equipment.
- Resource Savings: These measures will save the city every year in avoided fuel costs to run the vehicles and the mowing equipment. The City is also expecting a labor savings.
- Measure Description: The Parks Department has installed automatic locks on the restroom doors at Jackson and Wiggums Hollow Parks. The Department has also installed high efficiency electric hand dryers at Legion, Kasch, Jackson, Wiggums Hollow, Phil Johnson, and Langus Park restrooms. Reductions in carbon dioxide emissions result from the reduced travel to these restrooms. There is no longer the need to travel to the restrooms, in the morning, that have the automated locks. We are also reducing the miles traveled to stock and dispose of paper towels that would be used in lieu of the hand dryers.
- Resource Savings: This measure results in a reduction of supply cost for the purchase of the paper towels as well as a labor savings for the stocking and disposal.
- Measure Description: The Parks Department is utilizing an electric vehicle for the watering of the planters and baskets in the downtown area of the city. This measure results in a carbon dioxide reduction directly related to the miles the vehicle travels.
- Resource Savings: There is a fuel savings that is also realized with the usage of this vehicle.
Your thoughts might be, "How can I play a part in reducing climate change in our region?" We have some great ideas for you to consider!
Provided is a list of things that you can to do reduce your carbon footprint on the world:
- Trip chaining
- Do you have several different stops that you know you're going to have to make? Why not wait until you can make them all at once in a single, swift errand run. Trip chaining cuts down on the amount of emissions your car produces from having to warm up after it's started each time. It's more convenient for you and the environment.
- Out with the old light, in with the LED
- Replacing light bulbs in your home are a small, but efficient, way to help work against climate change. Snohomish PUD has an instant-rebate program that rewards you with new lights and an efficient residency. Visit their website to check out other rebates and incentives to make your home more energy efficient as well.
- It's electric!
- Consider ditching the gas and going electric with your yard equipment. Electric lawnmowers, for instance, are less noisy, lower maintenance, and of course, don't use gas, which makes for releasing less damaging fumes into the air.
- High efficiency appliances
- Look for in-home appliances, such as washers and dryers, dishwashers, and more, that have the "He" logo on them, indicating high efficiency. These appliances save water and are more kind to the environment.
- Take alternate modes of travel
- Whether that's walking, riding your bike, taking the bus, or just carpooling with a friend or coworker, you can do your part to lessen your carbon footprint.