Sustainability Tips for Summer
Lower your impact this summer by taking advantage of these green tips and tricks:
Grilling – use propane instead of wood or charcoal – it can burn up to 50% cleaner!
Air conditioning – turn up your thermostat a few degrees so that you are still cool, but you can save some cash and lower your carbon footprint (see below for definition)!
Farmer’s markets – Buy local and take advantage of the farmer’s markets in your area! Beaverton has a farmer’s market every Saturday from May-September from 8a.m. – 1:30p.m. at SW Hall Blvd. between 3rd and 5th streets.
Gardening tips to keep the mosquitos away – use garlic, rosemary, rose geranium, citronella grass, catmint, basil, lemon balm, marigolds or lavender to ward off mosquitos and other critters from your garden!
Timed showers – there are many devices out there to help you monitor your showering time. Five minutes in the shower uses the same amount of water needed to grow one pound of tomatoes! Try cutting your shower down to save resources and money.
Assess your carbon footprint – what is a carbon footprint? A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases emitted due to the consumption of fossils fuels by a particular person or group. In other words, it measures your environmental impact based on the purchasing choices you make, such as whether you travel by bike or by car, how much electricity you use or if you properly sort your garbage and recycling.
Calculate your carbon footprint by using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s free carbon footprint calculator: www3. epa.gov/carbon-footprint-calculator
What is renewable energy?
Renewable energy is energy generated from sources that naturally replenish themselves. Such sources include solar, wind, rain, tides, geothermal heat and some forms of biomass. Nonrenewable energy or fossil fuel energy, is energy created from sources that cannot be renewed or created again. Once they are gone, scientists say that fossil fuels can take millions of years to create.
Due to the time it takes for fossil fuels to regenerate, renewable energy is an increasingly popular clean form of energy that Beaverton residents and businesses have readily available to them. For example, in just one day, the sunlight that shines on the surface of the Earth contains more than twice the energy the entire nation consumes in one year. Not only is the sun a renewable energy that is clean-burning, meaning it does not emit pollutants in the atmosphere such as greenhouse gases, it is also a reliable source of energy.
Since research on renewable energy has increased tremendously in the past few decades, prices for renewable energy have declined significantly. Did you know that the City of Beaverton has sourced one hundred percent renewable energy for its city operations since 2014?
If you're interested in switching to renewables at your home or office, reach out to your local utility to ask about the costs and benefits of switching to renewable energy!
COP21: A Recap of the Climate Conference in Paris
Updated February 2016
Over the past few months there has been a great deal of media coverage on the COP21 conference which concluded with the creation of a new international climate agreement. COP21 is a United Nations conference on climate change that stands for Conference of the Parties (COP). The number signifies the 21st year of the annual conferences. The purpose of the conference was to come up with a response to the warming of the planet, which will increase the incidence of extreme climate events and impact living conditions around the globe. Scientists have now unanimously agreed that the earth’s atmosphere is warming due to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions generated from human activity – emissions primarily from agriculture and industry post industrial revolution.
The outcome of the COP21 conference is an agreement with 186 countries to limit the world’s temperature rise to “well below 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius,” according to the final agreement
Why 2 degrees Celsius?
Climate scientists have agreed that a rise in temperature greater than 2 degrees is very dangerous to human and environmental health. If countries take no action and continue “business as usual,” the average warming is projected to rise to 4.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels by 2100.
Although the agreement is not perfect, it is a step in the right direction towards taking responsibility for our actions and our emissions and coming to a global agreement to act. Want to take action in your own community? Contact the city’s Sustainability Program at 503-526-2430 or via email at green@BeavertonOregon.gov.
Join the new Sustainability Advisory Board
Updated January 2016
Do you care about the health and welfare of your city? Do you want to lend your voice to ensure our choices reflect our values? Do you want to have a direct line to sharing your ideas with the Mayor and other city leaders? Then, you may want to consider applying for the city’s new Sustainability Advisory Board (SAB).
The Beaverton Community Vision encouraged broader city-wide efforts for sustainability, including the creation of a Sustainability Advisory Board and a sustainability plan. The city seeks to create a community that balances a healthy en¬vironment, social equity and economic growth to create a more resilient and sustainable place for all residents. To do so, we need the direct involvement of people who are willing to volunteer their time and expertise to help craft a community-wide sustainability plan.
The new sustainability plan will use baseline data to inform new goals and actions for the community to ensure our city is livable now and for generations to come. Help us shape the future of sustainability in Beaverton!
The SAB is seeking sustainability enthusiasts from a variety of backgrounds. Members are appointed by the city to serve one, two or three-year terms. Terms will begin in 2016 (exact date to be determined). Don’t miss out on this opportunity to help make Beaverton a more livable community!
Apply today at www.BeavertonOregon.gov/boards
Questions? Call Rachel Bigby at 503-526-2430.
Meeting date and time to be determined. City residents preferred.
Solar Incentives Can Cover the Majority of Solar Electric Installation Costs for Your Home or Business!
July 2015 (Updated January 2016)
Have you considered solar for your Beaverton-area home or business? The City of Beaverton has learned that there are many incentives available at the local, state and federal level that can help you install solar for a fraction of the cost. Solar Oregon, a local solar advocacy organization, estimates that with all of the incentives, homeowners can get roughly 80-90 percent of the costs covered! If you’re a Portland General Electric customer, the following incentives apply to you:
- Energy Trust Incentives: $.70/watt (up to $7,000)
- State Tax Credit: $1.70/watt (up to $6,000) Starting January 1st, 2016 the State Tax Credit will reduce to $1.50/watt (up to $6,000)
- Federal Tax Credit: 30% of amount owed to contractor (only available until December of 2016!)
There are two options for solar installation—leasing or buying. Leasing is a great option if you don’t want to pay any upfront costs. In order to pay off the lease, the property owner of the solar electric array sells the electricity back to the solar energy provider to pay off the system.
If you’re interested in more information about how to install solar on your home or business, visit Solar Oregon’s website at www.solaroregon.org or attend one of the upcoming “Basics of Going Solar” workshops in the Southwest Portland/Beaverton area. See full information below.
Basics of Residential Solar Workshop (January)
Date: Saturday, January 23, 2016
Time: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Where: Portland's January Fix-It-Fair; Ron Russel Middle School; 3955 SE 112th Ave, Portland, OR 97266
Basics of Residential Solar Workshop (February)
||Date:||Wednesday, February 10, 2016|
||Time:||7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.|
||Where:||Tigard Public Library
13500 SW Hall Blvd
Tigard, OR 97223
Basics of Residential Solar Workshop (February)
||Date:||Saturday, February 20, 2016|
||Time:||9:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.|
||Where:||George Middle School
10000 N Burr Ave
Portland, OR 97203
Beaverton Turns to Alternative Fuels for City Car Fleet
One of the goals of the City of Beaverton is to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and two goals of the Fleet Program are to lower dependence on foreign oil and reduce fuel costs. To meet these goals, the Mayor’s proposed fiscal year 2015-2016 budget requests funding to establish an alternative fuel pilot project to convert four fleet vehicles to propane autogas. Propane, also known as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), is a high-energy, clean-burning alternative fuel byproduct of natural gas. Propane is almost entirely domestically produced and is safer and cheaper than gasoline. It is estimated that the city will reduce its gasoline usage by over 7,000 gallons just with the conversion of these four fleet vehicles.
The city Fleet Manager, Mike Sterle, is an advocate for alternative fuel use and has made significant strides in terms of greenhouse gas reduction and alternative fuel use in his fleet. The fleet already consists of seven hybrid sedans, one hybrid traffic aerial truck and one all-electric vehicle. With the success of this pilot project, the city hopes to continue to expand alternative fuel use in its city operations.
The City of Beaverton Is Assessing & Rating Its Community Livability
In a continued effort to improve the city and care for community members, the City of Beaverton is pursuing a national accreditation program called STAR Community Certification. STAR stands for Sustainability Tools for Assessing and Rating Communities and is the first program of its kind that helps set a baseline to compare and recognize livable communities.
The Rating System encompasses economic, environmental, and social performance measures for both local governments and the broader community. Through the use of cutting-edge tools, STAR will help Beaverton gauge its performance and tailor its future actions on a number of important livability topics such as transportation access, job-readiness, access to healthful foods, climate change, and much more.
The program began in September 2014 and is a year-long process of data collection and analysis, which will serve as a baseline and identify areas where the city is doing well and where there is room for improvement.
“Pursuing STAR certification is a way to use local data to better understand Beaverton’s livability. It will tell us how we’re doing, whether our policies and plans are working, and suggest new actions for the city to become more sustainable in the future. We look forward to sharing Beaverton’s certification results in late 2015!” said Mayor Doyle.
Tips for Reducing Your Waste This Holiday Season!
Shopping & Gift Giving
- Think local: Shop at a local craft fair, consignment shop or antique store for a one of a kind gift.
- Bring reusable shopping bags: or consolidate purchases rather than getting a new bag at each store.
- Give the gift of experience: such as concert tickets, movie tickets, or a dinner for two, rather than purchasing gifts that create waste.
Handmade Gifts & Gift Wrapping
- Make a terrarium: Go on a hike and collect moss, wood pieces, pine cones and other found objects to make your own terrarium.
- Make your own wrapping paper: Use old paper grocery bags or old maps as wrapping paper. Dry out some leaves or flowers to add to the top instead of using a plastic bow!
- Make your own gift wrap décor: With a warm iron, press dried flowers or foliage between two sheets of waxed paper. Glue on a box or use several sheets together for wrapping.
- Reuse & Recycle: Reuse old boxes and gift bags and make sure to recycle them once you are done using them.
- Conserve energy: Use LED lights when decorating your home.
- Make your own arrangements: Use natural or edible arrangements when decorating the house—they are both compostable!
- Make your own holiday wreath: Use neighborhood pine trees and cones to make a holiday wreath to decorate your home and make it smell like the holidays!
Milestone 4 Award: Beaverton wins yet another award for its sustainability efforts
**ICLEI USA is the leading membership association of
cities & counties committed to climate action,
clean energy, and sustainability.
In a continued effort to make sustainability a key focus for the City of Beaverton, the city is currently participating in the Five Milestones for Sustainability process lead by. Beaverton is proud to share that they have achieved four out of the five milestones and have now created and implemented actions from a climate action plan. The Beaverton climate action plan is embedded within the Sustainable Beaverton Strategy. With the Northwest experiencing changes related to climate changes such as the timing of streamflows related to changing snowmelt, increasing wildfires, insect outbreaks, and tree diseases, Beaverton is taking preventive actions to ensure a safe and livable community for current and future generations.
Check back soon for more stories and updates on all things sustainability in Beaverton!
Better Building Challenge 2014
Beaverton’s sustainability work is at the forefront of the Better Buildings Challenge, a program initiated by the Department of Energy.
See the recent article at Today's Facility Manager.
The President is challenging CEOs, University Presidents, state and local government leaders, building owners, and multifamily organizations to commit their organizations to lead in saving energy, saving money, and showcasing the best energy saving strategies and their results. Partners commit to an energy savings pledge, a showcase building, and to share their progress. See Beaverton’s showcase project.
President's 2014 Climate Assessment
See the recent announcement from The President of the 2014 Climate Assessment report, produced by more than 300 experts, which summarizes the effects of climate change on the United States, now and in the future.
Beaverton Supports Green Power
January 2014As Oregonians, we are committed to being stewards of the environment. By making a commitment to renewable power, we are joining more than 99,000 households and businesses who are already demonstrating their environmental stewardship. Together, we are supporting the development of more new renewable sources of electricity, and over time changing the way that power is generated.
We are proud of doing our part. We are the first city to buy 100 percent of our electricity from the PGE Renewable Power Program. Read the full press release.
If you’d like to join us or just learn more about what you can do in your home, visit www.GreenPowerOregon.com
Check out the video with a PGE tech climbing 262 feet into the air, showing you the view from the top of a wind turbine.
Learn more at:
Beaverton opts to purchase all city energy through PGE Renewable Power Program
Beaverton becomes first Oregon city powered entirely by renewable energy offsets
Energy Map and Carbon Wedge Analysis by New Energy Cities
City of Beaverton collaborated with New Energy Cities to calculate what it would take to reach an 80 percent greenhouse gas reduction goal below current levels by 2050. To analyze this New Cities created what’s called an Energy Map, depicting the community’s sources and uses of energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, based on utility and transportation data. The map is a great communication tool showing a complicated energy system on a single page.
A Carbon Wedge Analysis was also developed, which estimated the GHG reduction potential associated with important existing laws outside of the city’s control, such as the federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard, the state renewable portfolio standard, and a state clean fuel standard. The Carbon Wedge also calculates approximate GHG reduction potential associated with different scenarios of community action. Check out their blog on this project with links to the visuals.
Beaverton is a Green Power Leader
Beaverton is recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as an elite Green Power Partner who demonstrates exemplary environmental leadership, by supporting renewable energy. Beaverton was awarded membership to the 2012 Green Power Leadership Club by the U.S. EPA, because the City purchases green power offsets for 100% of its city building's energy use. The City of Beaverton is the only local government in Oregon to receive this designation. For more information on the Green Power Leadership Club see EPA Green Power Partnership.
The City of Beaverton is affiliated with the following organizations: