Update on Edmonds
Newsletter for Winter 2014

Edmonds Charging Station Milestone

In late 2011, the City of Edmonds completed the installation of six public electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. These stations were obtained at no cost to the City because of a federal grant provided to Coulomb Industries through the provisions of the ARRA. As a condition of the grant, Coulomb gave these stations to qualified organizations which then installed and activated them.

As demonstrated by the accompanying chart, the energy provided by these EV charging stations since their launch passed a significant milestone during this year. In August, the cumulative avoided production of greenhouse gases attributable to the use of these six stations surpassed a metric ton (2204.6 lbs). The City expects the savings of emissions to continue growth as electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids become more common. Edmonds remains committed to its role in providing the infrastructure to enable this transition to cleaner driving.
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2013 United Way Campaign

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The 2013 City of Edmonds United Campaign wrapped-up on December 4th. As part of the campaign city employees volunteered for "Days of Caring" events as well as pledged a total of $7,263 for United Way programs in 2014.

Days of Caring is an annual United Way event that brings together volunteers who are committed to creating positive change in the lives of children, families and seniors. Volunteer teams, organized primarily by local companies, complete projects for local nonprofit agencies that often lack the necessary resources to tackle such important initiatives themselves. 2013 marked the 20th annual Days of Caring and an estimated 859 people volunteered 3,746 hours benefitting 41 projects at Snohomish County nonprofits.

City of Edmonds employees volunteered at Cocoon House in Everett where they weeded and planted flower beds and a community vegetable garden.

(Pictured left to right are: Larry LaFave, Facilities Maintenance, Carolyn LaFave, Mayor's Office, Diane Cunningham, Planning Department, Dayna Young, Cocoon House, and Dave Rohde, IT Department. PS... Dave Rohde's son Campbell was born the day after this picture was taken! You can see Dave, his wife Adrienne and their son Campbell in the "City Employees Welcome New Little Ones" update located later in this newsletter.)

The GREEN Team

(On July 2, 2013, Cynthia Pruitt and Jim Stevens, two members of the Mayor’s Climate Protection Committee of Edmonds interviewed Carolyn Chapel and Gayla Shoemake, members of the Green Team at the Edmonds United Methodist Church to learn this group’s success story with increasing energy efficiency and sustainability at the church. The following article describes their motivation, efforts, and results.)

Green Team compSometimes energy efficiency proves contagious. About 8 years ago, Carolyn Chapel of the Edmonds United Methodist Church included a notice into the church bulletin asking for interest in starting a green team to address climate change. This group today numbers 12 members. One of the keys they found along the way is the value of leading by example. Because this group is now viewed as a touchstone for greening the church and its operations, members of the green team note that others now contact them for advice on making their events or interests more sustainable.

First, the team looked at the use of Styrofoam cups at the church and the cradle-to-grave impacts of that material. Because they knew some folks already used only washable cups for their functions, they also knew it was doable for all functions. They responded successfully to concerns voiced about the energy, soap, and water consumed by dishwashers with the numbers showing Styrofoam’s impact. To paraphrase Carolyn, it didn’t save the world, but it gave them a great and visible starting point for the rest of the things that we wanted to accomplish. Gayla Shoemake, one of the original team members and now its chair, said that Dave Walters, the individual who manages maintenance at the church, became not just a believer, but a willing advocate, when he saw them washing cups themselves and sorting refuse for recycling.

One of the biggest things this group tackled was the replacement of the church’s heating system. The old furnace was the focus of a two-year project that began with researching existing conditions, examining options, and field trips to installations. It concluded when the new system was financed and installed. Gayla describes it as really cool because of the digital controls that allow it to be adjusted remotely. It is also zoned so that it works to heat only those areas being used. Because of the heightened energy efficiency of the new system, the church was also able to leverage utility rebates for choosing it. In the first year alone savings in heating costs amounted to $6000.

The green team has worked on a number of other ideas and programs, including Earth Day events, bicycle advocacy, and water conservation. Working with the congregation has given them a unique perspective on what produces the best results with larger groups. They recommend starting small with something that makes a difference, walking the talk, recognizing that change takes time and not being discouraged, doing something different to help gain a foothold, using other organizations (utilities, community groups, governmental entities) to assist, and involving the larger group whenever possible to find optimal solutions.

Carolyn looks to the future to explain her motivation in starting this committee. She sees what climate change is on track to do to the world owned by her children and grandchildren, and she believes there is a moral issue that needs addressing. Gayla points first to the past and her mother’s influence. She also notes as a child she grew up in a small town in Kansas that had been so dry that her area became the subject of an article in Life magazine. Clearly both demonstrate a firm commitment to the cause of sustainability, and it is obvious their team’s efforts are enhanced by their enthusiasm and energy that have proven downright infectious within their faith community.

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