A greenhouse gas emissions report performed for the City of Bainbridge Island has revealed that consumption of electricity in our homes and commercial buildings accounts for 55% of the Bainbridge Island community's overall emissions and 66% of the City's emissions.
The City of Bainbridge Island worked with Cascadia Consulting Group to complete a comprehensive greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory as part of the City's commitment to reduce emissions and lead on climate action. Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases, trap heat in the atmosphere. The report, which used a wide variety of data compiled by City staff and analyzed by the consultants, quantifies the amount of climate pollution produced by an entity. As the City and Bainbridge Island community consider how to understand and reduce its GHG emissions, this information will help track progress and inform decisions.
The City Council launched the project to develop a Bainbridge Island GHG inventory in 2017, as part of a series of climate change initiatives that included the creation of a Climate Change Advisory Committee (CCAC) and the request for that committee to develop a Climate Action Plan (CAP), a City policy document that will guide the City's planning and analysis for future projects.
The GHG inventory found that from 2014 to 2018, building energy use had the highest greenhouse gas emissions for the overall community. Residential energy (37%) was responsible for the greatest proportion of community-wide emissions, followed by non-residential energy (14%), air travel (13%), and on-road vehicles (12%).
The 2018 emissions results showed a 9% overall increase over 2014 emissions, with a primary reason being changes in electricity fuel sources (e.g., proportion of coal in the utility fuel mix) and growth in population and employment. Improvements in vehicle fuel economy, reductions in the distance each person drives, and declining per-household and per-business energy consumption on Bainbridge Island softened the extent of those increases.
Emissions from the City of Bainbridge Island activities - which only make up about 1% of the total community emissions - increased 11% from 2014 to 2018. The emissions are largely from energy needed to power municipal buildings, equipment and vehicles. The City did see small reductions in streetlight and traffic signal use and fleet vehicle fuel economy. The City will consider actions for reducing emissions from increasing sources, such as transferring to a low-carbon electricity fuel mix and decreasing the amount of vehicle travel.
The City will use the report to focus climate action efforts. This will include the development of the CAP to establish goals for the City's municipal carbon emissions, or reductions, and provide input to other aspects of community leadership such as development regulations and planning for capital projects.
Cascadia Consulting Group will present the GHG inventory findings to City Council during the Dec. 3 study session.
In addition, the CCAC will host two workshops to provide the community an opportunity to learn about the climate impact study and to provide input on a draft CAP for the City. The workshops will be held:
- Saturday, Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at City Hall
- Wednesday Dec. 11 at Bainbridge High School from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the library reading room.
"This first report represents an important outcome of work started by the City Council, the City's Climate Change Advisory Committee, and City staff more than a year ago," said Deputy City Manager Ellen Schroer. "The report is a valuable tool to help engage the community in thinking about local climate change impacts."
Click here to read the full report (scroll down to the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory section).
Kristen Drew, Communications Coordinator