CLimate Solutions

The 2017 Community Greenhouse Gas Inventory was commissioned to determine Edmonds’ sources

of local and imported greenhouse gas emissions to inform the development of a climate action plan. So far, the City of Edmonds has focused on transportation, waste, and energy as the top three priority sectors to reduce emissions.

So far there are 10 proposed strategies for a new Climate Action Plan to address both local and imported emissions described below.

Buildings
& Energy
  1. Replace fossil fuels with renewable energy resources for energy that is supplied to the community

    • ​Increase amount of electricity generation by solar power

  2. Improve efficiency of existing buildings and infrastructure​

    • ​Reduce electricity consumption and energy intensity of existing buildings by sector

    • Improve efficiency of wastewater treatment plant

  3. Improve efficiency of new buildings​

transportation

4. Reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) through more sustainable land use patterns (transit-oriented development, local efficiency)

5. Reduce VMT by improving transit systems

6. Reduce VMT by promoting active transportation

7. Promote carpooling and vehicle sharing

8. Promote electric vehicles and other low-carbon vehicles

WASTE & Natural Resources

9. Increase carbon sequestration

10. Reduce material consumption, waste generation, and resource depletion

Local Emissions

The largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions were:

  1. Energy use from residential and commercial Buildings (52% of the total emissions)

    • Stationary energy use by residential, commercial, and industrial buildings and facilities represents a large source of community emissions. These emissions come from “smokestack” during combustion of natural gas and fuels for water and building heat, and to generate electricity for use in Edmonds.

  2. Transportation (40% of the total emissions)

    • Transportation energy, and particularly on-road vehicle transportation, of passengers and freight also represents a large fraction of community emissions. Like stationary energy, transportation emissions are generated at the tailpipe as well as upstream during production of fuels.

  3. Refrigerant loss in buildings and shipping vehicles (6% of the total emissions)

    • ​Process emissions and product use (refrigerant loss) of refrigerants are lost from transportation and building cooling systems. Refrigerants are powerful global warming gases. Therefore, relatively small losses have a large climate impact. Likewise, a fraction of natural gas is lost during local distribution.​

  4. Waste in landfills and in our wastewater treatment system (2% of the total emissions)

    • ​Waste disposal in landfills and wastewater treatment produces methane, most of which is collected and used for energy, but a fraction leaks out to the atmosphere having a negative climate impact.​

Figure 1: Edmonds 2017 Local Emissions

The Edmonds local emissions shown in Figure 1 are sorted out by “sectors” and are measured in CO2e, or carbon dioxide equivalent (a standard unit for measuring carbon footprints). In total, these emissions are equivalent to 65,000 gasoline-powered cars driving for 1 year.

Figure 2: Comparison of Local to Imported Emissions

Imported Emissions

Shopping by Edmonds households, or imported emissions, contribute to the emissions in our community. These emissions are generated outside of Edmonds to produce the goods, food and services imported and consumed in Edmonds.

Our city generates more imported emissions (the magenta bar in Figure 2) than local emissions (the green bar in Figure 2).

The largest sources of imported emissions include those from:

  • the production of goods such as furniture, clothing, and building materials

  • food, especially the resources that it takes to make meat products

  • creating fuel, such as gasoline for our cars

  • air travel, or airplane flights