The Bothell City Council voted June 10 to combat climate change by launching a new program called Bothell CO2OL.
The initiative calls for a phased approach to reducing carbon emissions and fostering energy independence throughout the civic and private sectors.
City officials are hailing the move as potential boost for the local economy.
“There’s a lot of opportunity in terms of ‘green’ dollars,” said Bothell Economic Development Manager Terrie Battuello. “Anything related to environmental architecture and engineering is of great interest to our local economy.”
City Manager Bob Stowe added in a press statement that Bothell is “widely recognized as a center of education and of scientific research. It is a natural leap for the (city) to accept the carbon-reduction challenge as a value by which the city will do business.”
City Council will consider its first set of potential carbon-reduction measures in September.
“We’ve been trying to educate everyone about this for the past year,” Battuello said. “One thing the city manager decided is that he doesn’t want to pass a rule or law unless we know how to enforce it and measure the impacts.”
Bothell’s carbon-reduction measures could include incentives that promote the use of sustainable materials and operating systems in new construction.
City Council will consider a point system that encourages private-sector developments to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.
Bothell’s new initiative includes an agreement to work with the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) in creating an inventory of city-wide carbon emissions.
“We’ll have a good idea of how much we use for street lights, diesel and all that,” Battuello said.
City Council will review annual reports related to Bothell’s carbon emissions and eventually set targets for both reduction and energy savings.
Bothell councilmembers must first decide whether to adopt the U.S. Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement from 2005, which entails a commitment to certain Kyoto Protocal benchmarks.
More than 815 other jurisdictions are currently working with the ICLEI to inventory carbon emissions.
The CO2OL initiative calls for the city to reduce its own output from municipal facilities and fleets.
That means all new civic buildings will have to meet LEED standards, and all additional vehicles will have to be environmentally friendly.
The city plans to create an interdepartmental Energy Action Team that would be responsible for implementing carbon-reduction programs.
Upfront costs for the Bothell CO2OL initiative are around $1,000. That money paid for the ICLEI software.
An unpaid intern from the University of Washington is currently helping to conduct the inventory of Bothell’s carbon emissions.
The city plans to begin a public outreach program in the future that will educate residents on how they can reduce their individual footprints.
“We really need more people to understand their contribution to the solution,” Battuello said.