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Sustainability

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Posted on: August 24, 2015

Pierce County to reduce water usage in response to drought

Pierce County government will be taking steps to reduce water usage by at least 10 percent.

“I am asking staff to reduce the irrigation of lawns and landscaping at our facilities until further notice,” said Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. “We ar...

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Posted on: April 22, 2014

Pierce County government moves to 100 percent recycled paper

In honor of Earth Day, Executive Pat McCarthy announced that Pierce County is moving to 100 percent recycled paper in support of its ongoing sustainability efforts.

Pierce County is also making double-sided printing the new default for all printers cap...Read on...

Posted on: June 24, 2013

Pierce, Kitsap counties compete to cut costs in “Energy Challenge”

Pierce County battled it out with Kitsap County to see which could reduce energy use the most in May. Both counties pitted their courthouses against each other in a friendly challenge to raise awareness about energy conservation, save taxpayer dollars, an...Read on...

Posted on: May 1, 2013

Turn off, unplug and scale back: Pierce County challenges Kitsap County over energy reduction

May 1 marks the kickoff of Pierce County’s courthouse energy reduction challenge against Kitsap County.

We are going head-to-head with Kitsap County’s courthouse campus to see which building can save the most energy over the next 31 days. In support o...Read on...

Posted on: February 15, 2013

New compactors reduce waste and increase efficiency at Pierce County facilities

Image of solar trash can

In an ongoing effort to support sustainability and resource conservation, Facilities Management has installed solar powered trash compactors and recycling units at two Pierce County facilities.

The units are powered by a solar panel, which utilizes a ...Read on...

Posted on: April 9, 2013

After remodel, Sprinker center cuts energy use in half

Sprinker ice rink

Sprinker Recreation Center, which serves thousands of visitors every year, has won Pierce County’s “Biggest Energy Loser” award for 2012 by cutting its energy use in half.

The 35-year-old ice rink was remodeled in 2011. The remodel consisted of upgradi...Read on...

Posted on: November 27, 2012

County's energy conservation guidelines put practice into policy

Pierce County has adopted an energy conservation policy to lower operating costs and conserve energy at all county-owned buildings.

The new policy contains a background of Pierce County’s sustainability goals for energy conservation, as well as guidin...Read on...

Posted on: April 30, 2012

April showers bring more than May flowers

Monday Apr 30 2012 9:35 AM

Did you know that runoff flows over hard surfaces like parking lots, picking up pollutants along the way? Most runoff is not treated before it travels into our streams, rivers, lakes and Puget Sound.

Since this is the last week of Pierce County Sustainability Month, and May is Puget Sound Starts Here Month, it's a great time to consider simple actions you can take to prevent water pollution and help clean up our local waterways and Puget Sound.

• Only rain down the drain: Most storm drains and ditches in Pierce County lead to a river or stream. Never dump anything down a storm drain and report spills by calling (253) 798-4274.

• Fish friendly car care: Wash your car on your lawn or at a commercial car wash. Fix leaks right away, or soak up leaks with cardboard and throw it in the trash. Always recycle used oil.

• (Puget) Sound pet clean-up: Pick up dog poop, bag it and put it in the trash - at home and on walks. For more about the problem with poop, go to www.scooppoop.org. Fence livestock away from streams and ditches. More livestock tips.

• Natural yard care: Use compost and mulch instead of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. If you must use chemicals on your yard, use them sparingly and always follow the directions. For a green lawn, try a slow release fertilizer like SoundGro.

• Plant trees and NW native plants: Landscaping with trees and native plants can save you maintenance time and the cost of fertilizer and water, while keeping our waterways clean. Ask about native plants on your next trip to the nursery. Watch a short video (below) on how to successfully plant a tree.

You might think your personal actions don't matter, but with more than 4 million people in our region, every small action adds up to make a big difference!

To learn more about sustainability efforts in Pierce County, visit www.piercecountywa.org/sustainability. For more information about surface water management in Pierce County, visit www.piercecountywa.org/swm.

Contact:
Tiffany O'Dell, Public Works and Utilities education and outreach coordinator(253) 798-2468 todell@co.pierce.wa.us

Teresa Lewis, Public Works and Utilities education and outreach coordinator(253) 798-2480tlewis2@co.pierce.waRead on...

Posted on: April 19, 2012

Pierce County's sustainability efforts save $1.3 million

Thursday Apr 19 2012 12:28 PM

Pierce County saved more than $1.3 million in 2010 and 2011 by reducing its use of energy, water, fuel and office supplies, according to its second Annual Sustainability Index.

The report, issued April 19 by the Pierce County Office of Sustainability, shows the county made significant progress during the second year of its five-year effort to meet ambitious goals in its Sustainability Plan.

"Making our county government operations more sustainable is a high priority for me because it saves taxpayers' money and it protects the environment," said Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. "We have measurable data to show the progress we're making in reducing energy and fuel usage, and also where we need to focus on further improvements. I'm proud of our employees' efforts. Even the little things add up when everybody contributes."

Highlights from the report show that Pierce County:

• Reduced energy use by 12.4 percent, saving $941,839 in energy and rebates since Jan. 1, 2010.
• Increased recycling by 40 percent at Pierce County buildings, surpassing the 2015 Sustainability Goal of 35 percent.• Increased the percentage of office supplies that contain recycled content to 37.3 percent, while saving $314,580 by purchasing fewer office supplies since Jan. 1, 2010.
• Purchased more hybrid and electric vehicles, which now make up 22.5 percent of the general-use fleet.• Cut the amount of unleaded fuel consumed by 32,360 gallons below 2010 levels.
• Made other progress as measured by 23 indicators on the Pierce County Sustainability Index.

"We are working on reducing waste in all its forms. The prices of fuel, water and energy are rising and we will have to keep reducing our use if we want to stay even," said Ryan Dicks, Pierce County sustainability manager.

The reduction in energy usage stems in part from a Resource Conservation Strategy by the Facilities Management Department. The strategy includes tracking energy use in the EPA EnergyStar program, which promotes energy-efficient practices and products. The Facilities department also is working with local utilities to do energy audits on all buildings owned by Pierce County.

The Pierce County Annual Sustainability Index, timed for release in conjunction with Earth Day, is available online at www.piercecountywa.org/sustainability

MEDIA CONTACTS: Ryan Dicks, Sustainability manager
253-798-8603 rdicks@co.pierce.wa.us

Hunter George, Pierce County Communications director
253-798-6606 hgeorge@co.pierce.waRead on...

Posted on: April 9, 2012

Rethink and re-energize your habits on cleaning and trash

Monday Apr 09 2012 11:13 AM

Many Pierce County employees are in the midst of spring cleaning. As you clear out your closets and tackle the paper piles on your desk at work, you may already be thinking about the three "Rs" - reduce, reuse and recycle.

Since April is Pierce County Sustainability Month, let's add two more "Rs" to the list: rethink and re-energize.

It's easy to reach for the cleaner you've used for years, or forget to tweak your printer settings to save paper. We encourage you to rethink the way you go about your day and re-energize the habits you already have in place. We can all help reduce waste in Pierce County and protect our resources.

Tips to get started

This week, the focus of Sustainability Month is on all five "Rs" at work and at home. Take a few minutes each day to reduce waste with the following ideas:

Monday - Reduce: Get rid of unwanted phone books and catalogs by registering with the following websites: www.catalogchoice.org and www.yellowpagesoptout.com. Most catalogs also include a website or phone number to use to opt out.

Tuesday - Reuse: Bottled water seems like a staple at meetings and events we attend, but it doesn't have to be. Buy a water pitcher and glasses for your meeting rooms and carry a reusable water bottle when you are running errands.

Wednesday - Recycle: Have you ever wondered what to do with used batteries or outdated electronics? Take a few minutes to check out Pierce County's comprehensive recycling menu at www.piercecountywa.org/recycle.

Thursday - Rethink: Green cleaners are available in stores, but it's much less expensive to make your own.

Friday - Re-energize: You may be a recycling pro, or know five different ways to reuse a tissue box. Think of a few new things you can do in order to keep yourself enthusiastic about reducing your waste.

To learn more about sustainability efforts in Pierce County, visit www.piercecountywa.org/sustainability. For more information about solid waste management in Pierce County, visit www.piercecountywa.org/solidwaste.

CONTACT:Sheryl Rhinehart, Public Works and Utilities outreach coordinator
(253) 798-4655srhineh@co.pierce.waRead on...

Posted on: April 4, 2012

Pierce County saves big on energy - you can too

Wednesday Apr 04 2012 12:38 PM

Pierce County is celebrating Energy Conservation Week by helping you conserve energy at work and home.

Here's what to expect this week:

Energy Conservation GiveawaysPierce County is partnering with Tacoma Public Utilities to provide free light bulbs and information about residential energy conservation rebates so you can start saving energy right away. Stop by to find out how Pierce County is working to reduce energy consumption and how Tacoma Public Utilities can help you save at home.

When: Thursday, April 5, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Where: County-City Building, 1st floor lobby (930 Tacoma Ave Tacoma, WA 98402)

3 hot tips for county employees to beat the heat and save energyEach season brings new opportunities for energy savings in your office, so find out what you can do this summer to stay cool, comfortable, and help us meet our 15 percent energy reduction goal.

MEDIA CONTACT:Jessica Ludwig
Energy Conservation Coordinator(253) 798-6611jludwig@co.pierce.waRead on...

Posted on: April 3, 2012

Pierce County's 'Biggest Losers' cut energy consumption

Pierce County has reduced energy use by 12.4 percent since 2009, saving taxpayers $858,000.

Staff in three Pierce County buildings have done exceptionally well with reducing energy and will receive the "Biggest Energy Loser" award for 2011.

The award comes from Pierce County Facilities Management's Resource Conservation program, which is highlighting best practices in recognition of Sustainability Month.

One of the buildings receiving the award is Pierce County's Main Jail, which replaced its 25-year-old HVAC system and updated inefficient lighting systems. These improvements reduced the building's energy use by 8 percent, which is saving $36,250 annually in energy costs. Three people will receive the award on behalf of staff: Bob Hamilton, maintenance supervisor; Steve Smith, maintenance foreman; and Deborah Anderson, construction project manager.

The other award winners are Pierce County's Environmental Services Building, which has reduced energy consumption by 10 percent, and the Meridian Habitat Community Center, which has cut energy use by 29 percent. Those successes are the result of energy-efficient capital improvements, operational changes by building operators and proactive staff efforts. Brian Ruda and Tom Cornwall will receive the award on behalf of the Environmental Services Building, and Derald Randall and John Howard will receive the award on behalf of the Meridian Habitat Community Center.

"This is a great example of how we can operate our government services more efficiently and reduce our impact on the environment," said Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. "Every member of the Pierce County staff is doing his or her part to save energy."

In 2009 Pierce County set the goal to reduce energy use by 15 percent by 2015, and has been working to reach that goal ahead of schedule. This initiated efforts to establish benchmarks for buildings.

The three "Biggest Energy Loser" buildings saved more than $43,000 in energy costs in 2011. This is just a portion of Pierce County's overall energy conservation savings, which is now totaling over $858,000 for the past two years.

"We hope that competitions like the 'Biggest Energy Loser' will promote energy conservation throughout Pierce County," said Energy Conservation Coordinator Jessica Ludwig. "This is a competition with a serious goal: to implement energy-saving best practices and operational changes."

CONTACT:
Jessica Ludwig, energy conservation coordinator253-798-6611jludwig@co.pierce.waRead on...