Buildings as Climate Action #2

Buildings as Climate Action #2:  Email Olympia LUEC

March 12, 2020

The Olympia City Council is in the best position to take early action to lead implementation of the Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan.  For those of you who live in Olympia or care to weigh in, email the following Olympia City Council Members:

Clark Gilman, Chair; and Dani Madrone, Jessica Bateman

Cut and Paste into your email TO: and CC: boxes


Cc: to –

ACTION #2:  Write an email to Olympia Land Use and Environment Committee urging them to take bold steps on “Buildings as Climate Action”.

Your email may adapt the template language below, or elaborate on the topic in your own words. See the next pages for a series of talking points on Green Building which you can use for ideas to write your own message.

Email Template Language:

Subject:  Buildings as Climate Action

Dear Chair Gilman and Olympia Land Use and Environment Committee Members,

I urge your continued support for, and early action on, the Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan, especially the Buildings and Energy section which represents ½ of our greenhouse gas emissions in Thurston County.  We cannot meet the adopted targets without slashing building emissions to near-zero by 2050. We need strong requirements and incentives for new buildings and retrofits that meet rigorous efficiency, health and affordability standards.  It’s an opportunity to invest in good jobs and quality affordable housing that will benefit our whole community for decades. Don’t wait for the Plan to be published. You know what we need to do. Start preparing and taking bold action now, for the sake of future generations.

TCAT and NWEBG Advocacy: Green Building Talking Points

As part of the ongoing advocacy effort to push cities to support and implement the Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan, during the month of March, our advocacy will focus on green buildings.

Here are some talking points you can use to highlight what the Cities and County should consider.  You won’t have time to cover all these points, so take time to prepare.  We recommend focusing on just one group of talking points below (Groups 1-4), and tailoring your testimony to your own knowledge and passion.

1. Act Early on the Climate Mitigation Plan

  • Thank you for supporting the Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan (all 3 Cities and County commissioned and paid for it), and for adopting the ambitious target to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions 45% less by 2030 (compared to 2015), and 85% less by 2050.
    • Meeting these targets is the only way we can limit global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius or less and protect our childrens’ future.
    • Eliminating the carbon emissions from buildings is the only way we can meet these targets.
  • The Greenhouse Gas Inventory on which the TCMP is based, shows buildings represent ½ of Thurston County’s carbon emissions, and half of those are from residential buildings.
  • As the largest source of emissions, reducing carbon emissions from buildings is one of two strategies weighted as most important in the Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan (TCMP).
    • The plan won’t be finished for several more months. I urge you to get moving now on the things we already know will be in the plan: Hire and training staff, develop green building incentives, and lead by example are all actions the City should take now.

2, We can do it.

  • The Thurston Climate Action Plan (TCMP) which this Council supports, emphasizes the importance of transforming our commercial and residential buildings to zero-net carbon by 2050.
  • The good news is that zero-net carbon building practices are now technically feasible for all building types and increasingly cost-effective.
  • Converting our buildings to zero-net carbon will also create hundreds of jobs in the local building and remodeling industry, save consumers thousands each year in energy costs, and support a healthy community for all residents.
  • Cities should consider adopting incentives such as reducing permitting time and fees, granting density bonuses and providing technical assistance for buildings that meet high green building standards. See the Shift Zero Policy Toolkit for more on this.
  • Start preparing now so you can hit the ground running when TCMP is finished
  • Cities should join with TCAT, EcoBuilders and the construction industry to create high-profile demonstration projects that show the community how healthy efficient zero-net carbon buildings can be built affordably.
  • Too many low-income renters and people of color suffer with high energy bills and poor housing.
  • Green building should go hand-in-hand with efforts to create more affordable housing so everyone can live in a healthy, energy efficient home they can afford.

3. Highlight a TCMP Action Item:

There are a number of building-related actions that will be prioritized in the TCMP which the City should begin considering now (pick one or two to highlight and tell them something about it from your own knowledge or from the Shift Zero Polilcy Toolkit):

  • Upgrade energy efficiency and add renewable energy to new and existing municipal buildings.
  • Hire a green building advocate in the planning and permitting department, or share the cost of a consultant with other cities.
  • Streamline permitting, lower fees and provide other incentives for projects that meet rigorous green building standards.
  • Provide developers with height, density, footprint bonus incentives for zero-net carbon buildings
  • Require or incentivize buildings to use electric only systems or ban new natural gas connections.
  • Improve energy efficiency in rental housing through education, incentives and requirements for new and existing units.
  • Provide technical assistance and enforcement of the new 2018 State Energy Code (goes into effect July 2020) as a step to preparing for net-zero by the 2031 code cycle.

4. Other Talking Points

  • Share a personal story about how a green building improved your life or someone you know.
  • Share data or examples from the Climate Toolbox, developed by Thad Curtz