LAND USE COMMITTEECouncil Present:
MARCH 9, 2011
7:00 – 8:05 A.M.
Chair, Cynthia Pratt, Virgil Clarkson
Greg Cuoio, Scott Spence, Troy Woo, Rick Walk, Heidi Behrends Cerniwey, Peri EdmondsLACEY’S CARBON REDUCTION STRATEGY
Heidi Behrends Cerniwey, Management Analyst, briefed the Committee on Lacey’s Carbon Reduction Strategy. In 2008, the City of Lacey joined ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability (formerly International Council on the Local Environmental Initiatives). ICLEI’s mission is to help local governments reduce greenhouse gas (carbon) emissions and work toward sustainable practices and policies.
To do so, ICLEI developed a comprehensive framework, which includes five milestones:
Milestone 1: Conduct a baseline emissions inventory and forecast
Milestone 2: Adopt an emissions reduction target
Milestone 3: Develop a Local Climate Action Plan
Milestone 4: Implement policies and measures
Milestone 5: Monitor and verify results
Milestone 1: Lacey conducted a baseline emissions inventory and forecast analysis for both municipal operations and the Lacey community. The analysis found that the municipal operations generated approximately 6,879 tons of CO₂e, and the community generated approximately 380,520 tons of CO₂e in 2005.
Milestone 2: Internationally, nationally, and locally, jurisdictions have acted to mitigate the impacts of increased levels of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. Along the West Coast, several states and Canadian provinces have joined a regional partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This partnership, called the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), recommends a regional emissions reduction target of 15% below 2005 by the year 2020. Washington State is a charter member of the WCI.
The Washington State legislature has passed laws mandating GHG emissions to 15% below 2005 levels by 2020, 36% below 2005 emissions by 2035, and 57.5% below 2005 levels by 2050.
Using the reduction target set by the WCI as a guide, 15% below 2005 emissions by 2020, municipal operations would need to reduce emissions by 6,344 tons CO₂e and the Lacey community by 242,639 tons CO₂e.
When considering future emissions reductions targets, it was important to account for Lacey’s current carbon reduction activities.
Significant measures that impact current emissions in Lacey government operations include:
- 100% Green Power in all municipal operations since 2007, resulting in 73% reduction in municipal emissions in 2009, a reduction of 6,152 tons CO₂e.
- A grant-funded Resource Conservation Manager program was implemented in late 2009 to conduct facility audits and engage staff to conserve energy and resources in city facilities.
- Lacey was one of the first jurisdictions to install LED traffic signals (2002).
- First LED streetlights in the county installed on Mullen Road Extension (West) in 2010.
- All new municipal fleet vehicles capable of alternative fuel use. Lacey has three hybrid vehicles and five fully electric TORO Workman vehicles for use in Lacey parks.
Future municipal operations reduction measures may include energy efficiency upgrades to electronic systems, alternative energy applications, fleet conversions to fuel efficient vehicles or alternative fuels, etc. Cost, timing, and ease of implementation are only a few of the important considerations in defining a strategy to reduce emissions. Selecting and prioritizing future measures will take place during the climate action planning process.
Given the success of current and potential measures, the goal of reducing carbon emissions in Lacey’s municipal operations 15% below 2005, by 2020, is achievable.
Over the years, Lacey has undertaken numerous measures to protect the environment, improve air quality, and reduce emissions in the region. Some notable actions which impact Lacey’s carbon footprint include:
- EPA Green Power Community—Lacey was the twelfth city in the nation to achieve this honored designation. A partnership with Puget Sound Energy to promote green power in the Lacey residential and commercial sector brought emissions reduction in the community. Nearly 5% of the community’s electrical consumption is clean energy (accounting for a reduction of 7,342 tons of CO₂e from 2005).
- Lacey’s urban forestry practices, park acquisition, and open space practices have provided increased opportunities to absorb carbon.
- Lacey Woodland Trail enhancements support multi-modal transportation options and assist in addressing the major contributor to carbon emissions. Transportation contributes to 52% of the Lacey community carbon footprint.
- Smart planning principles are incorporated into Lacey’s long range plans to bring people closer to where they live, work, shop and play. These adopted principles help reduce the major contributor to carbon emissions—transportation.
- Award-winning Alternative Energy Fair to promote alternative transportation and sustainable energy use.
- Installation of electric vehicle recharging stations at City Hall and the Library encourage the use of alternative fuels.
- The City of Lacey supported the Thurston Climate Action Team (TCAT) with an EECBG subgrant to develop and implement a strategy to address energy efficiency (and carbon reduction) in the residential and commercial sector of Lacey and Thurston County. In partnership with the Economic Development Council of Thurston County, TCAT received $1.5 million in grant funding for the Thurston Energy program.
The City has partnered with Puget Sound Energy to reengage the community about green power—this partnership has resulted in a new Lacey Green Power Challenge. If a total of 1,011 new customers enroll in PSE’s green power program during 2011, with either a Lacey or Olympia address, the utility will install a $20,000 solar demonstration project in Lacey. This program has the benefit of lowering the Lacey community’s carbon footprint, and promoting sustainable energy.
Lacey has also provided a sub-grant ($5,000 from EECBG funds) to Thurston Climate Action Team (TCAT) to support the mission of carbon reduction in the community.
Potential measures include residential and commercial green power purchases, energy efficiency upgrades, energy conservation measures, alternative fuel use for transportation and building heating/cooling, increasing sustainable energy use, transit options, smart planning, transit-oriented planning, fuel efficiency, and use of alternative fuels, to name a few. Potential reduction measures involve education, incentives, mitigation and policy mandates.
Milestone 3: Once a reduction target is established, the process of drafting a Climate Action Plan can be undertaken. A Climate Action Plan involves selecting and prioritizing measures to meet municipal operations and community carbon reduction goals.
- Milestone 1: Conduct a baseline emissions inventory and forecas
Reviewed by Land Use Committee April 2010
- Milestone 2: Adopt an emissions reduction target
Reviewed by Land Use Committee March 2011
- Milestone 3: Develop a Local Climate Action Plan
Climate Action Plan: Citizen Review during Comprehensive Planning process in Fall 2011
- Milestone 4: Implement policies and measures
Current Measures ongoing
Lacey Green Power Challenge: April 2011
Thurston Energy-Lacey Programs: April 2011
New Measures: January 2012
- Milestone 5: Monitor and verify results
Interim Inventory for 2009: Completed April 2010
Conduct interim inventory: 2015
The following discussion occurred:
Deputy Mayor Virgil Clarkson asked how our water conservation strategy fit into efforts to reduce emissions. Staff clarified that approximately 40% of emissions were attributed to water (primarily) and wastewater operations, thus reducing the quantity of water produced and treated results in emissions reduction.
Councilmember Cynthia Pratt asked what efforts the City is taking regionally to coordinate our carbon emissions strategies. Staff reviewed recent actions to partner with Thurston Climate Action Team to create a community energy roadmap; the Cities of Lacey and Olympia, Intercity Transit, Thurston Energy, and Puget Sound Energy are working together on a 2011 Green Power Challenge; TRPC is coordinating several sustainability grants and regional transportation plans; and Council and staff involvement in regular projects and regional advisory boards will continue to provide opportunities to collaborate.
Deputy Mayor Clarkson commented on the importance of finding a balance between meeting our carbon reduction goals and our desire to grow jobs.
The opportunity to incorporate emissions reduction measures into planning efforts was also mentioned by Councilmember Pratt. Policy to reduce engine idling (by requiring installation of block heater outlets) and installing sidewalks to reduce transportation emissions could have impacts on Lacey’s carbon footprint.
Greg Cuoio, City Manager, suggested that forecasted emissions for government operations seem unrealistic if based on the highest period of growth in the City. Staff noted that forecasts were based on growth calculations by sector, with a variety of variables. Forecasts are available to help quantify the potential of future measures only, a greenhouse gas emissions inventory is the best way to benchmark progress.THE COMMITTEE AGREED TO SUPPORT THE WESTERN CLIMATE INITIATIVE CARBON REDUCTION TARGETS OF 15% BELOW 2005 EMISSION LEVELS BY THE YEAR 2020.
Staff reviewed a plan to incorporate these reduction targets into a strategy―a Climate Action Plan. This plan would serve as a roadmap to guide selection of future measures to continue to reduce Lacey’s carbon footprint. Staff will provide information to Lacey citizens during the review process for the Comprehensive Land Use Plan in 2011/2012. The City will host a series of open houses which will provide opportunities to inform citizens about Lacey’s carbon footprint and to receive input on future actions to reduce emissions. DISCUSSION WITH PLANNING COMMISSION CHAIR
Lenny Greenstein, Planning Commission Chair, and Carolyn St. Claire, Planning Commissioner, presented a letter to the Committee regarding Council member Lawson’s attendance and remarks at a recent Planning Commission meeting. Mr. Greenstein and Ms. St. Claire discussed with the Committee the concerns of Planning Commission members. Cynthia Pratt, Committee Chair, agreed to discuss those concerns with the Mayor and meet with Council member Lawson. There also was discussion about establishing protocols for Council participation at Planning Commission meetings.