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King County has long recognized that it can reduce operating costs and emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants by reducing its energy use, meeting more of its energy needs with local renewable resources, and taking advantage of opportunities to produce energy (including renewable energy), where practical. Energy continues to be a major cost to the County, and reducing this expense will contribute to the County’s ability to maintain critical services.

The actions the County takes to reduce energy use, particularly the burning of fossil fuels, are tightly linked to making progress toward the County’s long-term climate goal of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by 80 percent between 2007 and 2050. King County must also recognize the depletion and impact of fossil fuels and the benefits of energy independence and commit itself to continuous improvement in the ways it produces and uses energy in the next 20 years.

The 2010 King County Strategic Plan calls for the County to minimize the environmental and carbon ―footprint of County operations through incorporating sustainable development practices into design, construction, and operation of County facilities measuring and managing energy use investing in alternative fuels and technologies converting waste-to-energy empowering employees to identify new ways to reduce energy use and save money.

The goals of the project, and the metrics used to achieve them, are as follows:

  • King County 2007 Climate Plan (to be updated along the way through 2050)
  • 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2007 levels by 2050

King County 2010 Energy Plan (to be updated every 5 years)

  1. Reduce energy use through continuous improvements in facility and equipment efficiency, procurement, construction practices, and resource conservation
  2. Increase transit use and provide transportation choices that reduce overall energy use and emissions in the county, while improving the efficiency of King County’s fleet
  3. Be a leader in early adoption and promotion of innovative technology for buildings and vehicles with a focus on electric vehicles
  4. Increase production and use of renewable energy
  5. King County will pursue sustainable funding strategies for energy efficiency, renewable energy projects, waste-to-energy projects and greenhouse-gas-reduction efforts.

Energy performance targets:

  1. 10% normalized net reduction in energy use in County buildings/facilities by 2012
  2. 10% normalized net reduction in energy use by County vehicles by 2015
  3. Produce, use or procure renewable energy equal to 50% of total County energy requirements by 2012
  4. 35% of energy for transit come from efficiencies and renewable by 2015
  5. 50% of energy for transit come from efficiencies and renewable by 2020

Environmental Purchasing Program

  1.  All paper purchased must have minimum of 30% recycled content.
  2. (starting in 2012) an additional 20% reduction in paper consumption required, and increased use of 100% recycled content copy paper.

From the King County Strategic Plan 2010-2014:

[Environmental Sustainability] Goal: Safeguard and enhance King County’s natural resources and environment

Objective 1: Protect and restore water quality, biodiversity, open space, and ecosystems

  1. Focus development within the Urban Growth Area
  2. Use a combination of incentives, technical assistance and use regulations to promote desirable environmental practices by individuals and businesses
  3. Support acquisition and stewardship of open space and natural areas
  4. Protect water quality through reducing pollution at its source, wastewater treatment, low impact development practices, and stormwater management
  5. Collaborate to restore Puget Sound and protect vulnerable, threatened, and endangered species
  6. Use water quality and quantity monitoring data to inform and prioritize investments in clean ups and stormwater retrofits
  7. Consider multiple benefits when developing flood hazard reduction, open space, recreation, and habitat projects

Objective 1 METRICS:

  • Annual Chinook Salmon escapement
  • Percent of open space acres within the Rural and Urban Areas

Objective 2: Encourage sustainable agriculture and forestry

  1. Utilize landowner incentives to keep land in agricultural and forestry use
  2. Provide incentives, technical assistance, and streamlined permitting to support sustainable farm and forestry practices

Object 2 METRICS:

  • Number and percent of farmland acres within and outside the Agricultural Production District
  • Number and percent of forest land acres in the Forest Production District and Rural Forest Focus Areas

Objective 3: Reduce climate pollution and prepare for the effects of climate change on the environment, human health and the economy

  1. Promote collaborative efforts among local and regional governments to assess and reduce community green house gas emissions
  2. Monitor county greenhouse gas emissions and use the information to guide future actions and investments to advance progress against emission reduction goals
  3. Advocate for and participate in the development of federal, state, and regional climate response strategies and resources that advance emission reduction goals
  4. Identify and adapt to the impacts of climate change on natural systems, human health, public safety, county operations, infrastructure, and the economy
  5. Advance policies and programs that simultaneously reduce climate pollution and improve human health

Objective 3 METRICS:

  • Percent, by source, of total greenhouse gas emissions in King County
  • Levels of criteria air pollutants in King County: ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, lead
  • Days per year with good, moderate and unhealthy air quality in King County

Objective 4: Minimize King County’s operational environmental footprint

  1. Incorporate sustainable development practices into the design, construction and operation of county facilities and county funded projects
  2. Measure energy usage in county facilities and use this information to guide conservation investments.
  3. Invest in alternative fuel transit and fleet vehicles to reduce emissions, fuel use, and fuel costs
  4. Create resources from wastewater and solid waste disposal
  5. Encourage King County employees to reduce their environmental impact

Objective 4 METRICS:

  • King County government’s carbon emissions, energy use, and water use

[also within the Economic Growth and Built Environment]

Objective 2: Meet the growing need for transportation services and facilities throughout the county

  1. Focus transportation resources to support density and growth
  2. Coordinate and develop services for an integrated and seamless regional transportation system
  3. Meet the transportation needs of low-income and other under-served populations
  4. Enhance bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure as alternative transportation options

Objective 2 METRICS:

  • Means of transportation to work for King County residents
  • Peak hour commute times on major King County commute trips
  • Percent of resident survey respondents satisfied with the predictability of transit services

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