Pierce County saved more than $565,000 in 2010 by reducing its use of energy, water, fuel and office supplies, according to its first Annual Sustainability Report.
The report, issued April 21 by the Pierce County Office of Sustainability, shows the county made significant progress during the first year of its five-year effort to meet ambitious goals in its Sustainability Plan.
“This report gives us good, measurable data to show how our efforts protect the environment and save money,” said Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. “These results are terrific. Employees can see that factoring sustainability into their decisions and practices really pays off.”
Highlights from the report show that Pierce County:
• Reduced energy use by 10.1 percent, saving $265,000.
• Increased the percentage of office supplies that contain recycled content to 27.6 percent, even as departments purchase fewer supplies, including a 9 percent drop in the use of paper.
• Purchased more hybrid vehicles, which now make up 18.4 percent of the general-use fleet.
• Decreased the amount of fuel consumed by 26,451 gallons below 2009 levels.
• Made other progress as measured by 24 indicators on the new Pierce County Sustainability Index.
“As gas prices rise, the county goal of having hybrid and electric vehicles make up 50 percent of the general-use fleet by 2015 makes more sense every day. In 2011, we expect to use less fuel but pay a lot more for it.” said Ryan Dicks, Pierce County sustainability manager.
The reduction in energy usage stems in part from a Facilities Management Department strategic plan to retrofit some buildings and move employees out of underperforming buildings. Two other departments – Parks and Recreation, and Public Works and Utilities – also have dramatically reduced energy use in their managed buildings.
“The success in reducing energy use is contagious, and we hope to continue to make wise investments in county-owned buildings,” said Bret Carlstad, Facilities Management director. “Since we had such quick success in meeting our energy reduction goal of reducing usage by 10 percent, we are going to raise the 2015 target to 15 percent.”
That is one of two enhancements to the goals in Pierce County’s Sustainability Plan. The other change is to add goals about water: to reduce water use in county-owned buildings by 10 percent, and to improve stream health to a grade of B- or better based on a scientific grading system.
The 6-page Annual Sustainability Report, timed for release in conjunction with Earth Day, is available online at www.piercecountywa.org/sustainability.