Looking for ways that civic leaders could lead by example in taking tangible steps to reduce their carbon footprint, the Green Ribbon Commission announced the City Council had won the "22 Ways Carbon Challenge" at a joint meeting between the Mercer Island School District and City Council.
Green Ribbon Commission member Elliot Newman lauded both elected bodies of the city for their 100 percent participation and said their committment to sustainability shows that it can be done.
"Going forward we hope it's something that becomes broadly reecognized in the community," said Green Ribbon Commisson and Councilmember Bruce Bassett.
Out of the 22 steps that members could take, 15 of the 16 representatives from the respective bodies are using programable thermostat, 13 eliminated a car trip by developing a more efficient plan and four signed up with their home energy provider for green energy. A total of 195 actions under the challenge were taken, from which points were awarded. No score was reported, but Newman said the difference between the School Board and City Council was a mere five points.
"An awful lot of things were done that seem simple but make a big difference in the long run," Newman said.
Before the meeting was held, the city's police department and a local electric vehicle company displayed electric cars and vehicles to the school board, City Council and members of the public.
The 22 ways offered in the challenge to reduce carbon emissions on the go and at home include:
- Ride the bus rather than drive
- Walk someplace you normally would drive
- Ride a bike someplace you normally would drive
- Work from Home
- Decline a flight
- Test drive a higher MPG vehicle
- Improve your car’s MPG
- Make car trips more efficient
- Eliminate a car trip
- Measure your transportation footprint
- Use a programmable thermostat…and program it.
- Set water heater to 120ºF
- Install a low flow shower head or faucet
- Replace 5+ incandescent bulbs
- Sign up for green power
- Eliminate or replace an older appliance
- Sign up for an Energy Audit
- Do laundry more efficiently
- Use a kill-a-watt meter to measure and understand your electricity usage
- Reduce office power consumption
- Measure your home footprint
The Green Ribbon Commission is a quasi-governmental body that advises the city on ways to be a more sustainable, environmentally friendly organization.