Spring 2015
Newsletter for Spring 2015

Updated, Easier-To-Use Site with Events Calendar

If you haven't browsed around the City's new website yet, you should. The City of Edmonds launched its new and improved city website, www.edmondswa.gov, on Monday, March 23rd. The new site has a fresh look and feel, with a more user-friendly interface and functionality.The updated website comes on the heels of the new tourism website, www.visitedmonds.com, which launched last Thanksgiving, as well as the City’s Facebook page released in mid-January.

The new City website, Facebook page and tourism website will hopefully provide the community with easier access to important and interesting information about the City, community, events and activities. A key feature of both the City and tourism sites is an easy-to-use and informative arts and culture calendar that informs both residents and visitors alike of the full array of arts, cultural and performance events in town.

The public is encouraged to visit the new website at www.edmondswa.gov and offer any comments or helpful remarks, especially in these early days when final touches are still being made. Comments may be offered via a dedicated feedback form found at the bottom of the front page entitled “Website Feedback.”

city website

Memorial Day 2015The Edmonds Cemetery Board invites you to join them on Monday, May 25, 2015 at 11 am for the 33rd Annual Memorial Day Ceremony. The ceremony will take place at the Edmonds Memorial Cemetery and Columbarium located at 820 15th Street SW, Edmonds.
(On January 27th, Mike Nelson and Jim Stevens, two members of the Mayor’s Climate Protection Committee of Edmonds interviewed Jeremy Davis, an employee of Landau Associates, to learn the firm’s success story with increasing its energy efficiency and reducing its greenhouse gas production. The company is an environmental engineering and remediation, geotechnical engineering, permitting, and compliance services firm located in Edmonds at 120 2nd Ave. S. The following article describes the employee and company motivations, efforts, and results achieved.)

LandauJeremy Davis, an Associate Engineer with Landau Associates, has no difficulties in sharing the many important things done at his firm to increase sustainability. Clearly, he himself has been an active participant in developing and justifying proposals for senior management. Being an engineering firm, Landau’s employees agreed the first step in moving to more sustainable operations was gathering detailed operational data to calculate the carbon emissions the company produced.  In 2007, they started using a software tool produced by the Seattle Climate Partnership. It took into account the items they purchase (including furniture, paper, etc.), fleet vehicle use, building energy consumption, waste production, and even the effects of employee commuting. The resulting product was a very thorough and helpful analysis of what Landau produces in the course of operating as a business. They still use this calculator biennially.

From this ecarbon emission analysis, Landau developed a set of measures that initially focused on low-hanging fruit, that is, the things that offered the biggest returns.   Computer management was an easy target. Jeremy said Landau has approximately 80 employees among its office locations, and leaving computers constantly energized proved to be a significant inefficiency. The company purchased a product called Kill A Watt, which can be used anywhere to collect real-time energy consumption and cost data for equipment. Providing employees with this data and projecting how the cost over a year of operation was useful in changing habits.  Office lighting was scrubbed of anything still remaining that was incandescent in favor of fluorescent. Office paper was changed to high-recycled content, and they began a composting program. Fleet vehicles came under scrutiny to ensure the right choice was matched to the requirements of the job. As the need to replace vehicles has arisen, going to hybrids or acquiring new vehicles with improved gas mileage has been the norm.

Probably the biggest single piece of carbon production was found embedded in employee commuting habits. Jeremy admitted that making improvements here was also a tough challenge because of individual preferences and needs. To enable change, Landau offers employees a subsidy for public transit costs. The same subsidy is also provided to those who carpool or ride a bike. Quarterly, the company sponsors an ‘anything-goes’ commuter contest. Employees participating in this contest have walked, run, ridden bikes or motorcycles, carpooled, bussed, taken the train, and even kayaked as part or all of their commute to work. 

As a firm practicing earth sciences and engineering, Landau has a large number of employees who are committed to making a tangible difference to our environment. The company actively encourages new ideas from employees to increase sustainability. There is a committee of 10 or so that meets quarterly to improve the results they have already achieved. Clearly, they understand sustainability is more like a journey than a destination. Jeremy quickly says that they are far from done with making changes and moving the company farther down the road of doing the right thing. The committee also produces tips for employees to help green up their activities at work and at home. In both Edmonds and Shoreline, they have participated in projects to plant trees and remove invasive vegetation.

Jeremy does profess that it likely is easier bringing these kinds of changes to the culture of a company if its workforce is composed of scientists and engineers who understand the issues. He also acknowledges that not all their proposals have been approved, but many have, often because sustainability measures also provide returns in the long run. In recent years, Landau has pursued an exciting option to address carbon reductions not achievable in-house. Through a broker, the firm purchases carbon offset credits and renewable energy certificates. One pathway Jeremy related works with smaller landfills to capture and reduce methane emissions. This reduction in emissions would not otherwise be economical or required by regulation. Dollars used to purchase these carbon offset credits provide direct reductions of greenhouse gasses.  Renewable energy certificates invest, through a broker firm, in the production of energy through alternative sources, such as solar and wind-generated energy and landfill-gas-to-energy projects. Between making significant reductions and purchasing credits/certificates, Landau is proud to operate carbon-neutral.

Although not every Edmonds business has the technical expertise of Landau Associates in-house, Jeremy recommends any firm can take an important first step to sustainability by calculating its own carbon production. Simplified and comprehensive carbon calculators are available on-line for both organizations and individuals to understand their biggest contributions to carbon production. This is a key lesson from Jeremy: it is easier to find the correct path when one first is well oriented on where (s)he currently stands.

Website for more information on a firm offering carbon offset credits and renewable energy certificates:

http://oneenergyrenewables.com/

Free simplified carbon calculator: http://www.nature.org/greenliving/carboncalculator/

Manufacturer of Kill A Watt and other energy monitoring/saving devices: http://www.p3international.com/products/energy-savers.html

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