What the City is Doing
The City of Bellevue is taking steps to reduce its production of greenhouse gas emissions.
Georgetown University Energy Prize
Bellevue is a semifinalist for the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a $5 million prize awarded to the small- or medium-sized community that develops and implements creative, sustainable and replicable strategies to save energy.
Our commitment to environmental sustainability, economic development and innovative ideas has put us in the running against leading small- and medium-sized communities across the county.
From 2015-2017, Bellevue will work with Puget Sound Energy, local schools and youth programs, and residents to implement our energy-saving plan that will not only deliver financial benefits to residents, but will also help ensure the long-term sustainability of our community. Most importantly, we will develop new approaches that other communities can replicate—so that we can all do our part to secure our nation’s energy future.
Bellevue’s strategy for winning the prize includes an increased commitment to promoting the many valuable resources available to residents through Puget Sound Energy, such as their Energy Advisor Hotline, Multi-Family “Direct Install” program, and free HomePrint service, which provides Bellevue customers with a free overview of their home’s energy use and on-the-spot installation of up to twenty high-efficiency LED light bulbs.
In addition, the city will ramp up offerings to local schools and youth programs by creating the Eastside Energy Corps – a program that will provide students with valuable career skills in communications, campaign organizing and energy management while problem solving local environmental issues.
For progress updates and more opportunities to get involved, visit www.GreenWA.org, the official homepage for our community effort.
“Solarize Bellevue,” a community campaign to reduce the cost of solar electricity for Bellevue residents and businesses, is offering new workshops this summer. Last summer, over 300 residents attended workshops, taking the opportunity to learn about the costs, incentives, benefits and requirements for putting solar power on their homes. By the end of last year’s campaign, 50 new solar arrays were installed across town, increasing Bellevue’s solar production by 45 percent!
What is everybody so excited about? Subsidies, incentives and the dropping price of solar technology can now provide a return on your solar investment in less than five years through the Solarize program. Low-interest financing options also exist, removing even more barriers to going solar.
Solarize Bellevue helps residents and businesses install solar energy systems by educating interested buyers, reducing costs about 10 percent below market rates and streamlining the purchasing and permitting processes. This year’s program is aiming to match last year’s performance, with as a goal of installing 50 new systems.
Four workshops will take place at different city facilities this summer and fall. Residents are asked to find out more details and register online at www.GreenWA.org.
As part of a federal Department of Energy grant, Bellevue and other grant partners (Seattle, Edmonds and Ellensburg) have developed a streamlined process for the permitting of small-scale solar installations for single-family residential customers. Bellevue Development Services staff familiar with solar installations are available to help. Find out more at www.ci.bellevue.wa.us/solar_photovoltaic_systems_permitting.htm.
Greenhouse Gas Inventory
The city now updates its greenhouse gas inventory yearly. As of 2013, municipal emissions from city operations have been reduced 21 percent compared to the year of 2007. However, emissions remained virtually equal to 2007 levels across the whole community in 2012. The city therefore has not reached its Mayors Climate Protection Agreement target (Resolution 7517) to reduce emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.
City staff are working to implement components of a five year Environmental Stewardship Strategic Plan (2013-2018), which includes adopting new greenhouse gas reduction targets.
Energy Efficiency and Conservation Projects
With a $1.2 million Energy Efficiency and Conservation block grant funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the city pursued six natural resource conservation projects:
- Electric vehicle charging stations;
- Replacement of 90 gas vehicles in the city fleet with hybrids;
- Traffic demand management services for Bellevue businesses and residents;
- Recreation facility lighting fixture retrofits;
- Home energy reports for residents, in partnership with Puget Sound Energy and the C-7 New Energy Partnership; and
- Sustainability Web portal, an information and education tool for all those living and working in Bellevue (www.GreenWA.org and www.SustainableEastside.org)
Reducing Municipal Water and Electricity Usage
In partnership with Puget Sound Energy, Bellevue hired a resource conservation manager to help reduce municipal water and electricity usage. If you have any questions or comments related to energy and water usage at city facilities, please contact Emma Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-452-5246).
Electric Vehicle Infrastructure
City of Bellevue owns and operates 22 electric vehicle charging stations throughout the city, 16 of which are available for public use. These stations, and over 75 others at commercial locations across Bellevue, are helping to significantly reduce oil consumption, greenhouse gas and other harmful emissions while saving residents money. Watch the short video Driving the EVolution to learn more about how the city is promoting this technology.
Steady expansion of the Carbon Yeti Conservation Campaign, targeting youth and encouraging citizens to reduce their carbon footprint.
Traffic Signal Lighting
By replacing incandescent light bulbs with light emitting diodes (LEDs) in most of Bellevue's traffic signals, the Transportation Department has cut annual energy costs by over $188,000 and carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 1,000 metric tons in 2010. All traffic signals were converted by 2013, but environmental and cost savings are set to increase as LED street lighting projects are becoming more prevalent and technology is rapidly improving.