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Sustainability Strategy


Sammamish’s vision is to become an environmentally and economically sustainable community by crafting and implementing an achievable, multi-faceted and measureable strategy that maximizes opportunity and efficiency while minimizing cost. Undertaking this work will help Sammamish contribute toward larger regional and global goals such as mitigating the effects of climate change and will make our community an even better place to live, work and play. ~ Sammamish City Council (October 9th, 2009 Study Session)

In late 2009 and early 2010, the City of Sammamish began the process to develop a sustainability plan for stewarding our community’s resources so that they endure for future generations. The process for developing the Strategy involved our Sammamish community inside and beyond City Hall.

In spring 2010, City staff participated in conversations, a survey, workshops and a sustainability idea contest, all intended to inform and help start the process of identifying sustainability goals and priorities inside City Hall.

At the same time, to reach beyond City Hall, this project web page was launched, offering project information and updates, definitions, resource information, and a community survey link to solicit citizen input. During spring and summer 2010, over 850 Sammamish residents and businesses provided direction on sustainability goals and priorities via surveys on the City’s website, at project information booths held at the weekly farmer’s market and other community events such as summer concerts and the 4th of July celebration.

In fall 2010, a community workshop was held to discuss the top five sustainability goals resulting from all community outreach activities, and to work alongside local experts to identify avenues for pursuing selected goals. Based on this input, the following top 5 sustainability goals were established:

Goal 1: Reduce, Re-use, Recycle
To reduce, reuse, and recycle means to minimize the amount of waste created; to look for new uses before recycling or tossing an item; and, if reducing or reusing is not an option, to create something new from what was once considered waste. 71% of community survey respondents and City staff ranked this as a top goal to pursue. It is a core goal that many communities have adopted and promote. It is also a natural extension of the City’s current waste management and minimization efforts. Reducing waste and reusing materials means reduced need for energy and natural resources to produce new products and less waste hauling costs. It makes environmental and economic sense.
Goal 2: Create and Protect Natural Habitats
Sammamish community members value natural aesthetics and urban wildlife. Citizens want to protect and create natural habitat by maintaining and improving green space, as well as fish and wildlife habitat. Habitat protection focuses on preserving high quality habitat within the City. Natural habitat creation seeks to replace lost natural habitat function through expansion, restoration, or enhancement activities. 67% of community survey respondents and City staff ranked this goal as a priority. Protecting and creating natural habitat improves landscape-scale connections in our watershed and supports regional efforts to enrich Puget Sound’s ecosystem health. By preserving natural habitat we can maintain natural resource function and wildlife diversity. This could reduce long term infrastructure costs related to stormwater drainage and flood control.
Goal 3: Conserve Energy
Reducing energy consumption starts with conservation and increased efficiency. Conservation focuses on identifying and reducing wasted energy from behavior and technologies. The next step is exploring and developing alternative energy options. 55% of community survey respondents and City staff ranked this goal as a priority. Many community respondents noted easy steps such as turning off power strips and lights when equipment and rooms are not in use and using daylight or task lighting instead of overhead lighting. By reducing energy consumption, we may eliminate the need for additional power plants or other energy generation capacity in the future. This can have an enormous financial benefit for our region, and helps our pocketbooks by keeping rates low. Conservation also translates to direct environmental benefit through reduced carbon emissions and related climate change concerns.
Goal 4: Conserve Water
Water conservation focuses on using water-efficient strategies and equipment, and substituting non-potable water for potable (drinking) water where possible and appropriate. Safe and clean drinking water is critic al for human and ecological health. 48% of community survey respondents and City staff ranked this goal as a priority. Water r conservation makes sense for our City because we use a lot of it for irrigation and to supply household, commercial, and municipal water needs. Water conservation pays back in three ways: savings on water you don’t use; savings on sewage you don’t produce; and since a significant proportion of the water we use is heated, savings on water you don’t heat.
Goal 5: Foster Healthy Neighborhoods
Strong, healthy neighborhoods have many components: a clean and safe environment for families; knowing your neighbors and working together towards common goals; balanced development and environmental protection to accommodate growth while respecting open space/habitat; a range of housing options; robust transportation choices including walking, bicycling, transit and driving; and diverse neighborhood services and community amenities. 47% of community survey respondents and City staff ranked this goal as a priority. Fostering healthy neighborhoods also fits right in with national initiatives led by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Department of Transportation’s (DOT) “Partnership for Sustainable Communities.” By selecting this goal, Sammamish links to a much larger effort and many resources. This goal builds off of one of Sammamish’s finest assets: great neighborhoods. It’s also a goal that has direct and very personal benefits for individuals and families in the community.


The Strategy

The Sustainability Strategy and associated 2011 action plan are now available for public review and comment. Related support documents are also available for review upon request.

Please provide any questions or comments to the project manager by email at Sustainable@sammamish.us and/or by telephone at 425-295-0527 and please join us at upcoming events to relay your ideas for envisioning a more sustainable Sammamish.



Updates

The Sustainability Strategy was introduced to the Planning Commission on March 3, 2011 and was discussed at a joint City Council and Planning Commission meeting on March 21, 2011. Please check back for further updates.



Community Events

Please check back for updates.

Resources

These links are provided for informational purposes only. The City of Sammamish does not ensure that the information regarding or provided by the following sites is complete or accurate. This library will be expanded as the project progresses.




Definitions

Carbon Neutral
Carbon neutrality, or having a net zero carbon footprint, refers to achieving net zero carbon emissions by balancing a measured amount of carbon released with an equivalent amount sequestered or offset, or buying enough carbon credits to make up the difference. Best practice for organizations and individuals seeking carbon neutral status entails reducing and/or avoiding carbon emissions first so that only unavoidable emissions are offset.

Modified from Wikipedia Definition Carbon Neutrality

Climate Change
Climate change is a change in weather and atmospheric conditions over a period of time. Current usage places the term mostly in the context of environmental policy, with climate change data referring to changes in the past 50 years, and the cause linked to human activity. Contributions to climate change include: increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases; changes to land surface, such as deforestation; and increasing atmospheric concentrations of aerosols.

Modified from Wikipedia Definition Climate Change

Energy Independence
Energy independence is a state in which a place (often a city, state, or country) does not rely on or is not impacted by foreign nations or fluctuations of the market in meeting its energy needs. In a sustainable economy, the goal of energy independence is also coupled with the goals of reducing energy consumption and using renewable sources of energy to meet energy needs.
Green Economy / Local Economy
A green economy is locally based, self-reliant, and diverse, which by nature make it both resilient and strong. The definition of ‘local’ varies, as some use mileage radius (400- 500 miles typically) while others use watershed or geo-political boundaries, but it generally speaks to the goal of reducing transportation impacts from goods and services and supporting businesses as near to the community as possible.

Modified from the Kirkland Economic Sustainability Assessment

Healthy Neighborhoods & Habitat
Habitat is the place where a population (humans, animals, or plants) lives, both built and natural. Healthy neighborhoods provide these populations with a clean environment that protects, air quality and critical habitat. A healthy neighborhood balances development and environmental protection, and has a diverse range of housing options and transportation choices that give inhabitants the option to walk, ride a bike, take transit, or drive.

Modified from Smart Growth and Green Building Residential Appraising Handbook

Social Equity
Social equity is a state of affairs in which all people within a specific society have the same access to opportunities. Social equity includes equal rights under the law and access to education, health care and other social services. Sustainability addresses social equity through environmental justice and access to public transportation, affordable housing, a mix of housing types, and essential community services.

Modified from Wikipedia Definition Social Equity

Sustainable Community
In a sustainable community, resource consumption is balanced by resources assimilated by the ecosystem. The sustainability of a community is determined by the availability of resources and by the ability of natural systems to process its wastes. A community is unsustainable if it consumes resources faster than they can be renewed, produces more wastes than natural systems can process or relies upon distant sources for its basic needs.

Modified from definition provided by the South Puget Sound Sustainable Community Round Table

Sustainable Sammamish
Sustainable development was defined by the World Commission on Environment and Development (the Brundtland Commission) as ‘meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’

Sammamish’s vision is to become an environmentally and economically sustainable community by crafting and implementing an achievable, multi-faceted and measureable strategy that maximizes opportunity and efficiency while minimizing cost. Undertaking this work will help Sammamish contribute toward larger regional and global goals such as mitigating the effects of climate change and will make our community an even better place to live, work and play.

Sustainable Sammamish Preliminary Vision Statement

Zero Waste Community
A zero waste community is a community that has implemented strategies to eliminate nearly all discharges to land, water, or air, and reuses all products used within the community without waste or environmental damage, similar to the way that resources are reused in nature. Zero waste means designing and managing products and processes to dramatically reduce the volume and eliminate the toxicity of waste, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them.