The Seattle Public Library will host 17 workshops as part of the “Urban Self-Reliance” series in September and October at several Library locations. Learn how to live a more practical, sustainable life by growing and preserving your own food, using a bike as a healthy and economical means of transportation and more. More info can be found here.
Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is reaching out to the public to ask their thoughts on on plans to reduce waste and improve recycling, food and yard waste composting, and other solid waste services. How we manage our waste (both individually and on a municipal level) is a critical component to our overall environmental impact.
The survey should take about 15 minutes. Please take it here.
Imagine a central energy plant that heats and cools multiple buildings – that’s district energy at its most basic. It’s an important strategy for increasing energy efficiency in Seattle and reaching our climate protection goals. It’s also complex and requires advance planning to identify the best opportunities in Seattle for district energy and the necessary policies to help advance these opportunities.
The City completed a study earlier this month that evaluated the neighborhoods where district energy is likely to be a promising strategy. The First Hill area creates the best near-term opportunity for district energy given the planned Yesler Terrace redevelopment. Policy recommendations to pursue will be available in the fall, and additional analysis will be done on other promising neighborhoods next year, such as Capitol Hill, South Lake Union and the University District. The latest information is available at the Office of Sustainability & Environment’s website.
Now’s your chance to let Seattle Public Utilities know what you think of the draft update to the Solid Waste Management Plan. The Plan, last updated in 2004, will guide the City of Seattle’s programs and services over the next 20 years to prevent waste, increase recycling and composting, and improve services.
Visit SPU’s Solid Waste Management Plan page and take a quick survey or send an email to provide your comments and feedback.
The City of Seattle could cut its per-capita greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30 percent by 2020 and up to 90 percent by 2050 by implementing an aggressive set of climate strategies in its transportation, building energy and waste sectors, a report commissioned by the City shows.
Getting to Zero: A Pathway to a Carbon Neutral Seattle, a report developed by Stockholm Environment Institute, evaluated the emissions reduction potential of a range of strategies including increased transit service, expanded bike and pedestrian infrastructure, increased building efficiency and switching from fossil fuels to less carbon-intensive alternatives. Seattle is currently considering formally adopting a climate protection goal of zero net emissions by 2050 and this report was developed to explore the technical feasibility of that goal. Through the city’s climate action planning process, city staff and sector experts will also consider economic and political factors and recommend actions to move the city toward this goal. The planning process will start in the fall with the final action plan anticipated to be complete by next summer.
Carbon Neutral Analysis Documents
Technical Appendix (documenting the approach and assumptions for the analysis)
The Trees for Neighborhoods program is happy to offer free trees to Seattle residents again this year. You can apply for up to four trees to plant in your yard (it is possible to plant in the parking strip, but you must let the program manager know to coordinate the required permit). There’s a great selection to choose from:
- Asian pear ‘Shinseiki’ (fruiting)
- Paperbark maple (Acer griseum)
- Eastern redbud (Cercis candandensis)
- Japanese snowbell (Styrax japonica ‘Snowcone’)
- Shore pine (Pinus contorta ‘Contorta’)
- Weeping Alaska cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis ‘Glauca Pendula’)
- Rivers purple beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Riversii’)
- Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica ‘Wildfire’)
- Deodar cedar (Cedrus deodora)
- Western red cedar (Thuja plicata)
Tree supply is limited and applications will be accepted on a first come first served basis. Trees will be available for pick up starting in late October. In addition to your tree(s), you will receive a watering bag for each tree, training on proper planting and care, and a coupon for a free bag of Gro-Co compost.
Seattle currently has 23% tree cover and a goal to reach 30% tree cover – and gain the many benefits that go along with trees. But we can’t reach that goal without the help and support of Seattle’s residents!
The C40 is comprised of 40 of the world’s largest cities leading together on taking action to combat climate change. For the first time in history, half of the world’s people live in cities and roughly 12 percent of the world’s carbon emissions are produced in our metropolitan areas. This is why cities have such a large role to play in reducing emissions and working to prepare for the impacts of climate change.
Seattle has been an affiliate partner of the C40 since 2006. As such, we have the opportunity to learn from what other cities are doing and contribute our own best practices. In addition, C40 has asked participating cities to voluntarily disclose their carbon emissions, reduction targets and action planning processes in order to establish a baseline to measure project effectiveness going forward.
C40 partnered with the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) to gather the data and compile it into a report, released this week. Over 3,000 organizations in some 60 countries around the world measure and disclose their greenhouse gas emissions, water management and climate change strategies through CDP. Seattle took part in the C40 disclosure project conducted earlier this year.
Seattle conducts a greenhouse gas inventory of its municipal operations (corporate inventory) annually, and an inventory of the entire community’s footprint every three years. These reports can be found on the Office of Sustainability & Environment’s climate protection page. The 2008/09 corporate inventory will be available shortly and OSE will be conducting the 2011 community inventory next year.
Seattle’s urban forest is one of our most important assets – after all, we are the Emerald City. Our urban forest consists of all the trees in the city, including those along our streets, in our parks, and in our yards. Urban forests play an important role providing shelter to wildlife; filtering air, water, and sunlight; slowing wind and storm water runoff; reducing the heat island effect caused by paved surfaces; calming traffic; and increasing the vitality of commercial districts, among many other economic, social, and cultural benefits that increase our quality of life. To protect and grow this important asset, the City of Seattle has set a goal to increase the percentage of the city covered by trees (canopy cover) from our current 23% to 30% by 2037.
As part of the City’s efforts to reach this goal, OSE’s Urban Forestry team launched an exciting new Tree Ambassador program this spring in conjunction with the Cascade Land Conservancy. The Tree Ambassador program recruits volunteer residents to work in neighborhood teams. These teams act as stewards of the urban forest and serve as resources for their local community. Tree Ambassadors are trained in the basics of urban forestry, leadership, and community organizing. Each team then puts together projects aimed at engaging their neighbors in residential tree planting and care. The program is funded by a grant from the U.S. Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry program.
In its initial year, the Tree Ambassador program has seven neighborhood teams. These teams began training just three months ago, yet have already accomplished a lot, with more great work on the horizon. Some of the great projects the Tree Ambassadors have already done include:
- The Capitol Hill team mulched, weeded and cared for 113 street trees
- The Greenlake team received a grant from the Department of Neighborhoods to develop a mobile application for a Tree Walk around Greenlake Park
- The Maple Leaf team presented at their neighborhood ice cream social on the importance of conifers to their neighborhood
OSE’s vision is to have Tree Ambassador teams active in every Seattle neighborhood. If you are interested in supporting the tree canopy in your neighborhood, consider joining the fun and applying to be a Tree Ambassador yourself. The next round of applications will be in the spring of 2012.
OSE will be updating the Seattle Climate Action Plan starting this fall. The City is committed to doing its part to significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in order to take us further down the path of a healthier, more sustainable Seattle.
In order to achieve this goal, we need the support of the community as well. Together, we have the power to make a big difference in our climate impact.
To help us better align our efforts with what works for the community, we would love your thoughts to the following two questions:
- What do you think would motivate people to take action/change their behaviors in ways that help reduce carbon emissions?
- What do you think the main barriers are to people changing their practices and behaviors in ways that help reduce carbon emissions?
Submit your responses via the comments section of this post.
Mayor McGinn was joined on July 13 by City Councilmember Jean Godden, City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco, and Greg Smith, founder and CEO of Urban Visions and owner of Stadium Nissan to introduce the first five all-electric Nissan Leafs to the City’s fleet.
Seattle is one of a handful of cities participating in the nation’s largest electric vehicle demonstration, the EV Project. With the help of millions in federal stimulus dollars, the City of Seattle is collaborating with Puget Sound local governments, businesses, non-profits, and electric vehicle enthusiasts, to create a robust regional charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.
With a federal grant from the Puget Sound Clean Cities Coalition, the City of Seattle is installing 22 publicly available EV charging stations in five locations around Seattle – SeaPark Garage, 609 Sixth Ave.; Pacific Place Garage, 600 Pine St.; Seattle Center, Fifth and Harrison; Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave.; and City Hall, 600 Fourth Ave. The City is also installing EV charging stations to serve its fleet.
To date, the Department of Planning and Development, has issued 256 EV charging station permits and estimates there will eventually be 1,000 charging stations in Seattle City Light’s service area.
The City’s Fleet Services regularly replaces vehicles at the end of their life cycle. Since creating its Green Fleets action plan in 2003, the City’s long-term goal is to have a fleet that is 100 percent clean and green – using clean fuels, having fuel efficient vehicles, and low emission vehicles. Seattle is planning on purchasing 35 new Leafs to replace regular gas vehicles scheduled to be decommissioned between now and 2012. In the last three years, the City has reduced the size of its rolling stock fleet by about 400 vehicles down to approximately 4,225. In addition, although electric vehicles cost more to purchase, the City will save $4,000 dollars in fueling and maintenance costs over the lifetime of a vehicle and reduce up to 23 tons of greenhouse gas over the same time period.