The City is renewing efforts now to conserve energy, especially fossil fuels. In 2010 McKinstry was hired to audit City facilities and identify cost effective upgrades. In 2011 a Resource Conservation Manager was hired to help the city facilities reduce their use of resources especially energy. There is also a City Energy Conservation Project. We share here the city energy use data for petroleum products and electricity and natural gas. In the community Avista and Sustainable Works are working to conserve residential and commercial power by providing energy audits and working with partners to make available low cost loans for energy saving upgrades. The SNAP program provides energy conservation services for qualifying homes.
We will provide here information about renewable energy. Currently Avista offers people the option of purchasing “green power”. The State of Washington has initiatives for Renewable Energy Systems. Inland Power customers can find information here on renewable energy.
We are at a time when it is important to emphasize the Reduce portion of the maxim “reduce, reuse, recycle”. It takes a great deal of energy to gather raw materials, manufacture a product, and then ship it to where it would be wanted. Then after it is purchased it takes energy to deal with the resulting packaging and final waste. A lot of energy can be saved by us being more reserved in our purchasing and only getting what we must have with a minimum of wrapping. The Spokane Regional Solid Waste System’s quarterly newsletter “One Man’s Trash” has articles on reducing and reusing materials. Here kids can learn more about reduce, reuse and recycling. In Spokane County you can join the EnviroKids’ Club.
The Spokane Regional Solid Waste System has information for reuse of construction, demolition and land clearing debris. The Go Green Directory also has information on recycled construction materials. Clothing, appliances and other household items can be reused. Thrift stores, Craig’s list and yard sales can be sources for reused items. The Go Green Directory above also has a listing of used clothing outlets.
The City of Spokane has curb side recycling. Besides curb side recycling, recyclables are collected at the regional transfer stations. The Spokane Regional Solid Waste System provides this list of local companies who buy back materials as well. The city also offers curb side collection of food scraps and yard debris which are commercially composted. There is always the option of composting food scraps and yard debris at home to create soil amendments.
In order that recycling be sustainable, products need to be produced and sold with recycled material content. As with other types of production it helps keep costs down when production is occurring near the source of the raw material (or in this case recycled) materials being used in the manufacturing process and near the source of the consumers who are using the recycled content products. so having local production of recycled content products that are of a quality and price popular locally could significantly improve recycling economics. The City of Spokane has an Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy which currently is focused on the purchase of reused, re-refined, and recycled content products. The 2011 and 2012 City of Spokane EPP reports are available for your information.
In 2006 the City of Spokane adopted a Water Stewardship plan. Here you can follow our water conservation efforts. The city also tracks its water use by department. For water saving tips and resources to educate both children and adults visit Water Use It Wisely. Check out EPA’s Watersense for water saving ideas, products and educational tools. If you are looking for water conservation tips for the home visit H20use. Spokane Smartscape offers regionally specific information on landscaping, irrigation and plant selection. For information on smart irrigation controls check out the Irrigation Associations list of tested products. The toilet has the most indoor water use for a typical single family home. Maximum Performance (MaP) has a database of over 1800 high efficiency toilets plus information on other ways to save water in the home.