Sustainable Path

FINAL Reports from Impact Circle-3 Grantees

Climate Solutions: New Energy Cities

With Sustainable Path’s grant, Climate Solutions provided New Energy Cities technical assistance to the City of Tukwila. Deliverables from this grant period include:

1) The completion of an energy map and carbon wedge analysis for Tukwila.

2) Climate Solutions presented energy and carbon wedge findings to city staff, including the Mayor’s staff on economic development, the director and lead staff of the Department of Community Development, the director and lead staff of the Department of Public Works, and the lead of the City’s transportation strategies.

3) Climate Solutions briefed and educated lead City staff on promising opportunities for carbon reduction, and facilitated two work sessions with Tukwila staff to prioritize carbon reduction strategies.

4) Climate Solutions developed a memo for Tukwila and the K4C clean energy subcommittee on clean energy provisions that the staff could advocate to include in the City’s franchise agreement (contract) with Puget Sound Energy (PSE). New Energy Cities leveraged this work for the K4C’s broader clean energy transition planning effort, and in developing a memo to the K4C elected officials on utility engagement opportunities. The fact that Tukwila was willing to have a conversation with PSE about this, as a result of our advice, was a significant breakthrough for the K4C.

5) Several Climate Solutions staff members traveled to Olympia with K4C city staff, including a Tukwila planner, to testify at the State Building Code Council in support of energy and building code changes that are essential to helping the K4C cities achieve their goal of carbon neutrality in all new buildings by 2030.

Tukwila’s progress during the grant period is encouraging. The city’s leadership and staff are now eager to make deep carbon reductions in their community and willing to engage Puget Sound Energy in a dialogue about removing coal from its portfolio, a critical step in reducing carbon emissions from their electricity, and contributes to the chorus of King County cities calling upon the utility to divest completely from coal.

Emerald Cities -Seattle

The RENEW Program expands energy and water conservation for affordable multi-family housing to benefit of the building owners and tenants. By combining the Sustainable Path grant  with the Line of Credit from Impact Capital, they were able to offer Bellwether Housing a lower-risk, cash-free way to start on their retrofit projects immediately. The response and support from the Affordable Housing community has been overwhelmingly positive and supportive, laying the foundation for future growth.  Emerald Cities-Seattle completed a retrofit at Plymouth Housing’s St. Charles Hotel in March 2016 that included improvements to heating controls, a lighting retrofit and water savings measures.  In addition we helped to implement a tenant engagement program to educate tenants about energy and water use throughout the year.  The results have been promising to date as can be seen in the data here.

The RENEW program and use of grant funds is proceeding as expected other than a significant timing delays in its progress due in part to start-up challenges but primarily due to outside impacts.  As has been Emerald Cities’ plan from the start, they will continue to “revolve” the Sustainable Path funds for projects in the future, leveraging their impact many times over.  Director Steve Gelb noted that: “The RENEW program is headed towards long-term sustainability and the Sustainable Path funding is an important part of this effort.”

International Living Futures Institute (ILFI) – Net Zero Energy Buildings

Sustainable Path’s grant has enabled ILFI staff to ramp up assisting Net Zero Energy projects in the Puget Sound region. Projects included: the Riverton shelter, Ballard Net Zero Energy House, and other single family homes; Z Home Phase II (multi-family housing); 1257 King office building and the Edmonds Senior and Community Center.

Funds from this award were used to:

  • Identified and assisted 25 building projects in the Puget Sound region to evaluate/certify net zero energy performance;
  • Provided technical assistance to four project teams of buildings that fall short of expectations, assisting them to successfully complete certification requirements;
  • Worked with 6 project teams on new buildings to ensure that net zero energy requirements are successfully implemented;
  • Delivered ongoing, targeted net zero energy education programs to building owners, design professionals and community. In the grant period, Institute staff have presented at XX conferences and public presentations.
  • Documented 16 case studies online and in publications.

A project certified with Sustainable Path Foundation funding was the Common Ground Community. Three units of this 11 home affordable housing complex in Lopez Island are seeking certification under the energy Petal of the Living Building Challenge, ensuring that the three are Net Zero Energy Certified. Upon project completion, one Common Ground resident said, “Common Ground is about reinventing the American Dream. In the years ahead, Americans will be compelled to shed some deeply ingrained habits of material consumption…I believe this transformation is fundamentally about discovering what it means to be truly human, not as ‘consumers’ but citizens, neighbors, friends, co-creators of a compelling new story that embraces social justice and a healthy planet. It’s about smaller footprints and larger lives.”

Nisqually Land Trust (NLT)

Nisqually Land Trust’s first strategy was to complete a forest carbon offset project on 520 acres under California’s Compliance Offset Protocol for U.S. Forests in order to have high-quality, nationally recognized offset credits to sell to finance acquisition of the land and provide for its long-¬term stewardship.

NLT made history. In November 2015, the Climate Action Reserve certified credits for 37,860 metric tons of carbon on our property and submitted its report to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for final approval and acceptance of the credits. In March 2016, CARB certified our project, making it the first certified carbon-offset project ever completed in the Pacific Northwest and one of only 38 completed nationwide. Read the Seattle Times article hereMicrosoft had been purchasing carbon credits internationally as part of its internal voluntary program but had never had an opportunity to purchase them at home.

Joe Kane, Executive Director of NLT, believes this project has set a benchmark for corporate performance in Washington and that there will soon be many more such projects. To that end, the NLT and Washington Environmental Council have been in discussions with Natural Capital Partners about how to develop further projects in the Pacific Northwest.

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