Go To Search
Click to Home
Find a Department
Sustainability 2020
Newsletter.pngNewsletter Signup blog6.pngSustainability Blog tips.pngTrainings & Policies thumbs.pngBe Great Poster contact6.png Contact Us
Sustainability 2020

The Office of Sustainability is Proposing Fifteen New Goals to be Met by the End of 2020.

These goals and associated work plans are crucial to our goal of delivering services in a lean and strategic manner. We have already proven that we can save millions of dollars by using less energy, gasoline and paper in our operations. This plan expands those efforts and pushes Pierce County employees to find more efficient ways of doing our work.

A more sustainable county government makes Pierce County a healthier place to live, work & play.
The Office of Sustainability's Core Values
Protect the
Human Health

Air Quality Energy Human Health Purchasing Recycling
Resource Lands Climate Change Resilience Education Transportation Water Quality

Air Quality
Past Highlights

As of February, 2015 Pierce County is no longer violating the federal Clean Air Act for (wood smoke) particulate matter 2.5. Working with many local partners we have dramatically cleaned the air improving human health for Pierce County residents.
Sustainability Goals
Pierce County is committed to staying in attainment for PM2.5 and attaining the PSCAA daily health goal by 2020.
  • A partnership between Pierce County, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, the City of Tacoma and the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department will be crucial to meeting this ambitious goal. Pierce County will support the wood stove removal program, continued wintertime burn ban education and enforcement is critical to reaching the daily health goal.
What You Can Do To Help

Past Highlights                        

Pierce County has reduced energy use by 22.3% saving $1,679,306 dollars since 2010.
Sustainability Goals 2
Reduce the energy use intensity
(kBtu/sq ft) in County-owned buildings by 30% over 2009 levels. Reduce natural gas used in all County operations by 50% over 2009 levels.
  • Implement building occupant and operational guidelines that restrict inefficient appliances and implements standards for building operations.
  • Parks, Public Works and Facilities will input their utility information into Pierce County’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager Account.
  • Implement cost-effective building system upgrades and integrate energy efficiency improvements into all applicable capital improvement projects.
  • Evaluate natural gas and methane use and practices at the Chambers Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant. Limit biogas flaring to 5% or less by 2020. Analyze and implement strategies to increase methane reuse for vehicle fuel, heating buildings or for other beneficial purposes.
  • New buildings over 5,000 sq ft will be built and certified LEED Gold or better. Buildings under 5,000 sq. ft. will be built to the same standard but may not be certified. Prebuilt bathroom structures are exempt from this requirement.
  • Green building construction/renovation policy.
  • Two solar/renewable energy projects will be completed by 2020.
  • Energy efficiency standards will be built into new leases for leased space.  ENERGY STAR scores and energy consumption will be disclosed to the County for all leased space prior to renewing or signing new lease agreements.* RCW 19.27A.170 requires.
What You Can Do To Help

New Focus

Pierce County is focused on making the county a great place to live, work and play.

Sustainability Goal 3
Incentivize Pierce County employees to create a personal health plan with wellness goals.
  • Reduced health care deductible/premium and or YMCA/gym reduced cost of membership for employees with personal health plans.
  • Employee workout areas in new campuses with over 200 employees.
  • Create an indoor environmental quality plan for Pierce County owned buildings.
  • Healthier choices in vending machines.
  • Water bottle filling at Pierce County facilities.
  • Promote Fresh Food Program opportunities to employees.
  • Incorporate movement into your workday.
Improve the health of Pierce County residents.
  • Complete the majority of the Pierce County Rails to Trails trail system by 2020.
  • Support programs or activities that facilitate increased physical activity and active modes of transportation.
  • Two new farmer’s markets/food hub/community gardens located at a Pierce County facility.
  • All Pierce County buildings, parks, vehicles smoke free by 2020.
What You Can Do To Help

Past Highlights

In 2014, 36% of Pierce County purchases had recycled content in them.  Pierce County has reduced money spent on paper by 22% or $46,150 annually while simultaneously moving to 100% recycled paper.

squadgoals5.png Reduce office supply purchases by 20% (volume of top 150 purchased items baseline year 2014). Workplan.png
  • Move as many departments as possible to paperless.
  • Increase recycled content to 50% of purchases.
  • Create a new sustainable purchasing policy. (Include evaluation criteria for sustainable practices from office supply vendors)
  • Limit choices to sustainable products and limit vendors.
  • Reduce delivery trips by office supply companies by streamlining purchasing.
  • Annual sustainable purchasing meeting with county purchasers (internal/external).
What You Can Do To Help
  • Buy Less Stuff
  • Buy Recycled Products
  • Clean Out Your Desk
  • Go Paperless
  • Use Reusable Items

Past Highlights

Pierce County has increased recycling by over 48% in our owned buildings since 2009.  By moving to solar powered compactors Pierce County offered recycling outside our buildings while reducing maintenance time.

squadgoals6.png Reducing tonnage of landfill waste by 30% over 2010 baseline from Pierce County facilities. Tracking to the best of our ability waste and recycling at county owned facilities. Workplan.png
  • New green surplus policy to make it easier to divest used products.
  • Reduce single use products at work, real silverware, glasses etc.
  • Green event policy internal and external (no bottled water, catering preferences).
  • Employees not allowed to put recyclables in the trash.
  • Make recycling available at every Pierce County built out park and facility. 
  • Optimize recycling and reuse of process waste. (Public Works, Facilities, Parks).
Reduce household waste to 3lbs disposed per person per day by 2020. (Solid Waste Plan) Tonnage divided by people served.
  • Annual waste characterization study to better understand what is in the garbage going to the landfill from Pierce County residents and businesses.
What You Can Do To Help

Past Highlights

Since 2010 Pierce County has helped conserve several farms and hundreds of acres of farmable land.  Pierce County has greatly increased our resources for local farmers including hosting two major Farm Forums in the last two years.

Pierce County will work to grow the agricultural economy by 10% making sure the agriculture resource is economically viable for future generations.
  • Pierce County will study agriculture resource lands (ARL) land use classification to more closely match the USDA producer’s survey of farmable acres.
  • Pierce County will work with partners to conserve over 10 farms or 1,000 acres of farmland by purchasing or transferring development rights.
  • Pierce County will develop at least three tangible incentives that help farmers prosper.
  • Average Pierce County farmer’s age goes down resulting in new farmers on the land.
  • Pierce County will provide local food delivery services to all available campuses with over 50 employees. (Fresh Food Program).
  • Pierce County will maintain staff resources and programs that assist farmers.
Pierce County will hire or contract for a County stewardship forester to create a unified management plan and oversee the stewardship of Pierce County owned forestland. This person could also be a much needed resource for local forest landowners.
  • Pierce County will track how many trees it plants and removes at our facilities and along our roads and trails.
  • When choosing tree species for replanting Pierce County will consider native trees and trees that are drought tolerant.
  • Pierce County will create a landscaping policy for our facilities that considers options for using native vegetation, firewise/waterwise landscaping and rain gardens.
What You Can Do To Help

New Focus

Unfortunately Climate Change is happening and we can expect to experience more of the severe weather we experienced in the summer of 2015.

Have a completed Climate Change Resilience Strategy for Pierce County. This strategy will develop recommendations with priority action steps.
  • Create resilience elements for other County plans and documents.
  • Continue to partner with cities, local Tribes, and the agricultural community to compete for State Floodplains by Design dollars.
  • Reduce flood risk to 20 at risk buildings by raising or removing them from the floodplain.
  • Create strategies to help vulnerable communities deal with Climate Change.
What You Can Do To Help

Sustainability Education
Past Highlights

When surveyed 96% of Pierce County employees say they consider sustainability at work.  88% of Pierce County employees read the Sustainability newsletter monthly. 82% of employees say the sustainability lessons learned at work have saved them $ at home.

Educate Pierce County employees and residents about how to save money, limit waste, protect the environment and protect human health.
  • Every County employee receives new sustainability training every year.
  • Integrate sustainability education into new hire training (Sustainability 2020 Poster).
  • 2,000 employees respond to the annual Sustainability Survey.
  • Work with jury duty to promote money saving sustainability opportunities for Pierce County residents.                 
  • Speak to outside groups about Sustainability a minimum of twelve times a year.
  • Promote Pierce County sustainability programs run by PALS, Public Works and Parks through the monthly sustainability newsletter.
  • Work with local schools and nonprofits to increase green school programs in Pierce County.
What You Can Do To Help

Past Highlights

Since 2009 Pierce County has reduced fossil fuel use in our vehicles and ferries by 6% saving over 62,740 gallons of fuel annually.

Reduce fossil fuel use by 20% by 2020 in Pierce County Fleet/Ferry.
  • Reduce vehicle fleet by 15% (dependent on consolidation of departments).
  • Reconsider take home vehicle policy to save fuel/money. (Sheriff exempt)
  • Employee green driver training for all drivers, anti-idling/best practices.
  • 10% of light duty fleet (non-sheriff) will be electric or electric/hybrid or other fossil fuel free vehicles. (20 vehicles)
  • Implement a minimum of B10 Biodiesel in diesel fleet.
  • Reduce fossil fuel use per hour by 10% on the Pierce County ferry over 2014 fuel use. (LED lighting on ferry, Biofuel opportunities)
  • All new vehicles purchased by the county will have fuel saving technology (including anti-idling technology) by 2017.
  • A minimum of ten publicly available electric vehicle charging locations spread geographically throughout Pierce County.
  • Teleconferencing/video conferencing/Facetime/Smart board to eliminate vehicle trips.
35% of employees use a commute trip reduction mode to commute to work.
  • End fully tax payer subsidized free parking at Tacoma campuses.
  • Carpoolers and transit users will continue to get free parking and ORCA cards.
  • Departments will consider and implement compressed work weeks when possible.
  • Bicycle infrastructure (covered bike racks, shower) available at all campuses over 100 employees where biking is viable.
  • Electric vehicle charging stations at every owned campus with over 50 employees.
  • Free electric vehicle charging for County employees as available at Pierce County facilities.
  • Car share/bike share at owned campuses over 200 employees so transit users have travel options during lunch or in case of an emergency. 
What You Can Do To Help

Past Highlights

Since 2009 Pierce County has reduced our water use by 19.6% at county-owned facilities, which is saving over 15.4 million gallons of water each year.

Increase stream quality to a reported grade of B in at least one watershed by 2020, with all others reaching a minimum of C+.
  • Pierce County will be a leader in Low-Impact Development (LID) in our permitting and using green infrastructure at our roads and facilities.
  • At least 50% of County customers and 90% of employees understand that most stormwater is untreated before it enters streams.
  • 70% of all stormwater facilities meet or exceed the requirements that they were vested to.
Reduce water use by 30% in our owned facilities.
  • Implement low flow technology in all appropriate facilities.
  • Reduce amount of grass at facilities and parks.
  • Summer irrigation at county facilities will be timed for early morning or late in the evening to limit evaporation.
What You Can Do To Help