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Annual Sustainability Report
2012 Pierce County Sustainability Report

Overview

Air
Quality

Energy
Efficiency

Employee
Sustainability

Green Purchasing
& Recycling

Transportation

Water Quality
& Quantity

Sustainability Report
2012 Sustainability Overview

Pierce County government continues to operate more efficiently and cost effectively. Over three years, Pierce County employees have helped save more than $1.65 million by using fewer natural resources in our daily operations.

The work of creating a more efficient government continues with all county departments playing a crucial role in creating a sustainable Pierce County.


Learn more about the sustainability office.

Pierce County 2012 Sustainability Index2012 Sustainability Index

The Pierce County Sustainability Index tracks twenty four sustainability indicators across Pierce County Government. The 2012 Sustainability Index provides a clear picture of how the County has reduced our use of energy, water, gasoline and other natural resources.
Executive Pat McCarthyLooking Ahead...

Pierce County Executive
Pat McCarthy


In 2013, we hope to continue to make progress towards our 2015 sustainability goals. Every county employee has a role to play in making Pierce County a better place to work, live and play.

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Overview

Air
Quality

Energy
Efficiency

Employee
Sustainability

Green Purchasing
& Recycling

Transportation

Water Quality
& Quantity

airquality.jpg

The Benefits of Improved Air Quality


Pierce County enjoys excellent air quality most of the year, thanks to our propensity for wind and rain. Pierce County is committed to improving our wintertime air quality to improve human health and make it easier for companies to locate in our industrial areas. Our air quality problem happens from November to February during the wood heating season. Wood smoke from houses accounts for more than half of our wintertime air pollution.   


Air Quality 2012

Pierce County had its third consecutive year of improved air quality in 2013. The efforts of local governments and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency are raising awareness of the health and economic issues brought on by our wood smoke problem.
           
Pierce County has partnered with the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency to provide wood smoke resources for the community.
The site www.AirSafePierceCounty.org is a one-stop shop for information about Pierce County’s wood smoke problem, including financial incentives, education and burn ban information.  
Air Safe Pierce County

Air Violations and Burn Bans

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency calls burn bans so that we do not exceed the federal government’s daily Particulate Matter 2.5 standard. Burn bans were crucial to limiting our extremely bad air quality days in 2012. Burning wood illegally during burn bans can result in a major fine.

PSCAA called five burn bans in Pierce County in 2012. We exceeded the daily PM2.5 standard (35 micrograms/cubic meter) at the Tacoma South L monitor four times.
 

  • Jan. 20,  2012         43.5 micrograms/cubic meter (ice storm/massive power outage – no burn ban called)
  • Jan. 13,  2012         40.9 micrograms/cubic meter (stage 1 burn ban in place)
  • Jan. 28,  2012         40.5 micrograms/cubic meter (stage 1 burn ban in place)
  • Nov. 10, 2012         40.4 micrograms/cubic meter (no burn ban in place)





Overview

Air
Quality

Energy
Efficiency

Employee
Sustainability

Green Purchasing
& Recycling

Transportation

Water Quality
& Quantity

Energy Effeciency


Energy Costs Reduction

Pierce County has Reduced Energy Use by 13% since 2009

Pierce County continues to decrease energy use in our buildings saving money and reducing the negative impacts of energy creation. In 2012 Pierce County spent $2,097,339.57 on electricity and natural gas at our owned buildings, which is significantly less than previous years. This is a result of retrofitting older facilities and Pierce County employee's using best energy practices.

Pierce County has also worked to do energy audits of our buildings to figure out where lighting and window projects will make the biggest difference. In 2012 Pierce County worked with local utilties to receive $39,204 in rebates for energy and lighting projects.


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Sprinker is the Biggest Energy Loser

In 2012 the Sprinker Recreation Center used 49.8% less energy than it did back in 2009. In 2012 the Sprinker Recreation Center saved over $98,000 in energy, water and sewer costs.
 
This energy reduction is a great example of how we can retrofit our older buildings, saving money and making the facility much more functional for Pierce County citizens.

Energy Policy

New Energy Conservation Policy Introduced

Pierce County has adopted a policy that establishes guidelines for county employees to reduce energy costs and benefit the environment. This policy is critical to us moving towards our goal of reducing energy use by 15% by 2015. The Energy Conservation Policy helped guide employee best practices that improve energy efficiency in our buildings.

  • Efficient Lighting: Making sure the lights in our buildings are turned off when we leave our offices.
  • Unplugging Personal Appliances: Limiting the use of personal appliances that are not critical to our work day.
  • Heating and Cooling: Making sure windows and large doors are not opened unnecessarily in our buildings.
  • Office Equipment: Making sure all electronic equipment is set to energy saver modes.





Overview

Air
Quality

Energy
Efficiency

Employee
Sustainability

Green Purchasing
& Recycling

Transportation

Water Quality
& Quantity

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Department Sustainability Training Score

In 2012, the Office of Sustainability made Sustainability Training available to all departments. Overall the County improved to a B+ on the 2012 Sustainability Survey from a B- in 2011. 87% of Pierce County employees now consider sustainability in their jobs just 3% shy of our 2015 goal of 90%.

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As employee understanding of sustainability improves, we have seen improved employee actions that save money and improve the health of the people in Pierce County. Pierce County employees can become sustainability stewards living in the local community.
Department 2012 Grade 2011 Grade Received Training
Risk Management A+ A-/B+ Yes
County Executive A+ A- Yes
Information Technology A+ A-/B+ Yes
Economic Development A+ A- Yes
Medical Examiner A+ C/C+ Yes
Assigned Counsel A+ C+ Yes
Family Justice Center A C Yes
Budget & Finance A B Yes
Parks and Recreation A B+ Yes
Facilities A A- Yes
Human Resources A B+ No
Planning and Land Services A- B+ Yes
Emergency Management B+ B+ Yes
County Council B+ B No
Communications B B- No
Auditor B B- Yes
Community Connections B B- Yes
Juvenile Court B- B- Yes
Public Works & Utilities B- B+ No
Superior Court B- B No
Veteran's Bureau B- NA No
District Court B- B No
Prosecuting Attorney B- C+ No
Superior Court Clerk B- B No
Sheriff's Department C+ C- No
Assessor-Treasurer C C- No
Pierce County Overall B+ B-





Overview

Air
Quality

Energy
Efficiency

Employee
Sustainability

Green Purchasing
& Recycling

Transportation

Water Quality
& Quantity

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Green Purchasing

Pierce County set a goal of having 50% of our purchased office products have recycled content by 2015. In 2012 Pierce County only reached 26% recycled content on our purchased office supplies. On Earth day 2013 Pierce County announced that departments will now purchase a minimum of 30% recycled paper and black remanufactured toner cartridges. This new county policy should push us to meet our recycled content goal as soon as 2014.


Paper UsePaper Use

Pierce County has reduced our printer paper use by 20.8% since 2009, meeting our 2015 Sustainability goal. This reduction in paper use saved us $44,604 over what we were spending on paper in 2009. Improved printing decisions, going electronic and double-sided printing are the main drivers of this improvement.
RecyclingRecycling

Pierce County employees have increased recycling by 47.8% in our County buildings, since 2009. In 2012 we recycled 27.8 lbs per employee per month up from 18.8 lbs in 2009. We have met our 2015 goal of increasing recycling by 35%.

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Overview

Air
Quality

Energy
Efficiency

Employee
Sustainability

Green Purchasing
& Recycling

Transportation

Water Quality
& Quantity

Sustainable Transportation.jpg
In 2012 Pierce County’s vehicles and ferry’s combined to burn 1,072,639 gallons of unleaded and diesel fuel, 31,761 fewer gallons than in 2011. Our various fleets and ferry have reduced fuel use by 3.6% since 2009.
Electric Vehicles at CCBHybrid/EV's

Since 2009, Pierce County has increased our hybrids from 15.3% to 25% of the non law enforcement fleet, a 63% increase. Pierce County employees took 525 electric vehicle trips in 2012. As we slowly move older cars out of the fleet, hybrids and electric vehicles will continue to be integrated into the fleet.
Gas PumpMPG

The car and light truck fleet decreased to 16.9mpg from 17mpg in 2011. Since 2009 the fleet has improved by 2.8mpg a 19.8% increase in fuel efficiency.  
ORCAOrca

In 2012 Pierce County employees used their ORCA cards for 29,313 trips an increase of 25.8% over 2011. Employees are now allowed to use the ORCA card for personal use to improve air quality and reduce traffic in Pierce County.
Commute Trip Reduction MethodsOther Commute Trip Reduction Methods

Pierce County employees also tracked 26,003 other trips including carpool, vanpool, walking and riding to work. Pierce County employees’ logged 59,316 CTR trips total in 2012 or 19.1 trips per employee.





Overview

Air
Quality

Energy
Efficiency

Employee
Sustainability

Green Purchasing
& Recycling

Transportation

Water Quality
& Quantity

Water Quality & Quantity
Rain GardenWater Quality

Pierce County monitors water quality in local streams, and assigns a letter grade based on specific parameters that indicate certain problems. The average grade for Pierce County’s streams is a C+. Pierce County also monitors public and private stormwater facilities to ensure they are functioning properly and retrofits public facilities to reduce the amount of polluted runoff entering local streams.

In 2012, Pierce County implemented the Raise the Grade program. This program targets four streams in the county with water quality problems for improvements. These improvements may be achieved through retrofits of existing stormwater facilities, public education, and restoration of natural areas. The streams being targeted in the Raise the Grade area are Spanaway Creek, Swan Creek, Minter Creek, and Horn Creek. Since 2008, significant noncompliance has been reduced by over 50% as a result of this help. To learn more go to www.piercecountywa.org/raisethegrade

faucet.pngWater Quantity

Pierce County is committed to reducing our water use by 10% by 2015. In 2012 Pierce County government used more water than we had in 2010 and 2011, but we still have reduced water use by 3.6% since 2009.

A few major water leaks at Pierce County buildings are primarily responsible for this increase. We are hopeful that in 2013 we will get closer to our goal of a 10% reduction.





Sustainability Update
Sustainability is like a team sport. You need great leadership, clear vision and the players to get the job done. The leadership of Pierce County is committed to sustainability as a way to limit waste, save money and improve the health of the environment for the citizens of Pierce County. The large majority of Pierce County workers are on board and doing their best to limit waste and try new ways of providing critical public services. As the sustainability manager you don’t actually get to turn off all the lights or maintain HVAC systems or improve stream health, but you do get to measure and highlight the success of others. The 2012 Sustainability Report is that annual opportunity to reflect on the sustainable actions we have taken and consider what we can do to improve in 2013. Please click here to read the County's 2015 Sustainability Goals.

recoveryact.pngThe creation of the Office of Sustainability was largely possible because of the Department of Energy’s EECBG grant that Pierce County received back in 2009. While that grant has come to a successful finish the impact of those funds will continue to bare fruit throughout Pierce County for years to come.

Learn more about the recovery act
Contact Us

Ryan Dicks
Pierce County Sustainability Manager
(253) 798-8603

Jessica Ludwig
Resource Conservation Program Coordinator
(253) 798-6611





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