In 2009, Snohomish County was awarded $4.8 million from the Department of Energy for an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG). The county completed 13 different energy efficiency projects under this grant. Learn more about Snohomish County’s EECBG projects by location below.
Energy and Sustainability Office
As part of the EECBG grant award, the County opened a new Office of Energy and Sustainability with a full-time staff person dedicated to resource conservation, energy efficiency and best practices in sustainability. The Office of Sustainability works in collaboration with county government, residents, businesses, agencies, and local groups to support sustainable, energy efficient and livable communities. The new Office is committed to providing education, outreach and partnerships that foster sustainable action both in and outside of county government.
Energy Efficiency Improvements for Leachate Pretreatment Plant
The county’s Solid Waste Division operates a leachate pretreatment plant for wastewater at the Cathcart municipal landfill. The pretreatment facility manages leachate from the closed landfill, wastewater from the vactor grit de-watering facility, leachate from the solid waste transfer station, and pretreatment facility domestic wastewater. The water is aerated hourly to keep the sediments in solution, which is an energy intensive process. The county worked in conjunction with Snohomish County Public Utility District (PUD) on the following four energy efficiency measures:
- Installation of high efficiency T-5 lights in the shop, office and outdoor fixtures - including occupancy sensors.
- Installation of programmable thermostats in the occupied spaces and in the equipment shop to minimize heat loss.
- Identification of ways to run the aeration pumps and equipment more efficiently to reduce demand and revolutions per minute (RPMs).
- Identification and installation of other energy efficiency measures to create the lowest possible energy footprint at this facility.
Nearly 100 solar panels were installed on the roof of the Administration West Building which will help to off-set the electricity used by the County's 16 electrical charging stations that were installed in Level B of the county campus parking garage. The solar system covers approximately 80 percent of the roof and generates roughly 16,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. This project is among the largest solar systems in Snohomish County and will prevent about 21,000 pounds of C02 from reaching the atmosphere each year. A second solar 4.2 kw solar array was installed on the roof the Fleet Management building at Cathcart and will off-set the electricity used by the four accompanying electrical charging stations in an adjacent parking lot.
The County's Fleet Division purchased five new Nissan Leaf electric vehicles, which were partially funded through grant monies and partially through county funds. As mentioned above, the County also installed 16 electric vehicle charging stations at the County Campus parking garage, and four electric vehicle charging stations at the County's Cathcart Public Works Facility. This project also included enhanced training for local technical students as interns to learn about the maintenance and repair of PHEV and hybrid equipment and vehicles using biodiesel.
Energy Efficiency Retrofits to County Facilities
The County conducted energy efficiency and conservation retrofits to approximately 20 County facilities through EECBG funding and bond funding. Examples of these energy efficiency projects include: new energy efficient lighting fixtures, HVAC optimization and system controls engineering, and energy efficiency equipment upgrades. These retrofits are a cost-effective way to save taxpayers money and reduce the county’s energy consumption.
Evergreen State Fairgrounds Energy Efficiency Projects
Evergreen State Fairgrounds buildings were retrofitted for a variety of energy improvements, including replacement of outdated lighting and heating systems, installation of occupancy and daylight sensors and timers, addition of “smart” meters to buildings that are more heavily utilized, and installation of a central control system for remote operation of energy-driven systems.
Puget Park LED Street Lamp Pilot Project
This pilot project replaced 37 high-pressure sodium lamps on Puget Park Drive with LED lamps, which are approximately 30 percent more energy efficient and last three times longer than the existing street light lamps.
High Efficiency Lighting Upgrades at Solid Waste Transfer Stations
This project replaced existing T-5 fluorescent and metal halide lamp fixtures with new lamps and technology at the following recycling and transfer stations: Airport Road, Cathcart Way, and Southwest. LED lighting was installed at the Airport Road station to measure savings, effectiveness of LED lighting and ease of maintenance.
The County expanded its existing transportation demand management (TDM) program with grant funds from EECBG. The County's existing TDM program focuses on reducing congestion and vehicle trips and increasing mobility along arterial corridors by providing transportation alternatives to residents and employers.Through the use of incentives and transportation information, this program promotes transportation alternatives to driving alone during the peak commute periods. The TDM program targets residents and employers that are open to using commute alternatives where other viable transportation options exist. Through EECBG grant funds, the County was able to target new congestion areas in multi-family residences such as apartment buildings, condominiums and townhouses within the entire 164th, 128th, and 20th street traffic sheds where transit is a viable option for commuting.
Employee Commute Trip Reduction Program
In 2011, the county expanded its existing Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) program by offering free transit passes to all county employees.
Energy Assessment and Conservation Education Program
This project provided approximately 600 energy assessments for residential and small commercial buildings through partnerships with Snohomish County PUD’s Community Power Program and nonprofit Sustainable Works. Home energy assessments included a written summary of findings and recommendations for homeowners, with cost-effective weatherization and energy efficiency measures. Homeowners and energy assessment participants were given information on how to finance energy efficiency projects and retrofits, including low-interest loans provided through the County’s new Energy Smart Loan Program, as well as incentives and rebates offered through Snohomish County PUD.
Loan and Grant Program for Energy Efficiency and Conservation
The County developed a residential Energy Smart loan program that provides long-term, low-interest loans to homeowners to conduct energy efficiency and conservation retrofits. The county partnered with a financial institution to develop a loan program that uses a loan loss reserve (LLR) model. Under the LLR model, the county is able to leverage the amount of grant money available for loans at ratios of 10:1-20:1, and therefore can offer loans to more homeowners. This program helps homeowners achieve cost-effective energy savings.
The grant portion of this activity included EECBG subawards to six recipients at the end of 2010. Local jurisdictions, nonprofits and other agencies were given the opportunity to submit an application for EECBG subaward projects, and the county was able to award funding to all of the applicants.