Pierce County saved more than $1.3 million in 2010 and 2011 by reducing its use of energy, water, fuel and office supplies, according to its second Annual Sustainability Index.
The report, issued April 19 by the Pierce County Office of Sustainability, shows the county made significant progress during the second year of its five-year effort to meet ambitious goals in its Sustainability Plan.
"Making our county government operations more sustainable is a high priority for me because it saves taxpayers' money and it protects the environment," said Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. "We have measurable data to show the progress we're making in reducing energy and fuel usage, and also where we need to focus on further improvements. I'm proud of our employees' efforts. Even the little things add up when everybody contributes."
Highlights from the report show that Pierce County:
• Reduced energy use by 12.4 percent, saving $941,839 in energy and rebates since Jan. 1, 2010.
• Increased recycling by 40 percent at Pierce County buildings, surpassing the 2015 Sustainability Goal of 35 percent.
• Increased the percentage of office supplies that contain recycled content to 37.3 percent, while saving $314,580 by purchasing fewer office supplies since Jan. 1, 2010.
• Purchased more hybrid and electric vehicles, which now make up 22.5 percent of the general-use fleet.
• Cut the amount of unleaded fuel consumed by 32,360 gallons below 2010 levels.
• Made other progress as measured by 23 indicators on the Pierce County Sustainability Index.
"We are working on reducing waste in all its forms. The prices of fuel, water and energy are rising and we will have to keep reducing our use if we want to stay even," said Ryan Dicks, Pierce County sustainability manager.
The reduction in energy usage stems in part from a Resource Conservation Strategy by the Facilities Management Department. The strategy includes tracking energy use in the EPA EnergyStar program, which promotes energy-efficient practices and products. The Facilities department also is working with local utilities to do energy audits on all buildings owned by Pierce County.
The Pierce County Annual Sustainability Index, timed for release in conjunction with Earth Day, is available online at www.piercecountywa.org/sustainability.