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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


'Green Community Initiative' goal: Boost sustainability projects in King County

Summary

Community groups, nonprofit organizations and businesses would find easier access to low-interest financing for projects that conserve energy, water, and promote environmental sustainability, under legislation proposed today by King County Executive Dow Constantine for the first Green Communities Initiative in the state.

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Community groups, nonprofit organizations and businesses would find easier access to low-interest financing for projects that conserve energy, water, and promote environmental sustainability, under legislation proposed today by King County Executive Dow Constantine for the first Green Communities Initiative in the state.

“The Green Community Initiative is about getting helpful financing tools into the hands of groups and businesses in King County that want to make serious strides in energy efficiency, investing in renewable energy or reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Executive Constantine.

Under the proposal sent to the King County Council, the County would promote and help groups and businesses access below-market-rate interest financing tools offered by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission for energy conservation and other environmentally-beneficial projects in the region.

“Creating green jobs, lowering energy bills, and promoting cleaner air are the objectives of the Green Community Initiative,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips, Chair of the Transportation, Economy, and Environment Committee. “This program is an innovative way to make it possible for people and small businesses to invest in clean energy—imperative for our future.”

“Helping local businesses and residents better afford projects that promote sustainability is good for the environment and the economy,” said Councilmember Bob Ferguson. “This partnership makes it easier to finance energy conservation projects in our region and continues King County’s commitment to leading the way in environmental stewardship.”

“Our partnership with King County for Washington’s first Green Community Initiative enables us to lower the cost of valuable investments in energy efficiency, resource conservation and renewable energy across all sectors of the economy without risking the taxpayers’ money,” said Kim Herman, Executive Director of the Housing Finance Commission. “We look forward to shared success with King County as we help local organizations save money and lower their resource footprint while planning for future growth.”

Project examples could include things like a commercial office building bundling a number of conservation projects that realize dramatic energy savings, or a community group interested in borrowing money to construct a community-wide solar energy project.

If adopted, the measure would enable King County to assist the Housing Finance Commission in soliciting and evaluating projects in King County that will qualify for the Commission’s loan programs, including Federal Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds. Other than providing some staff time to promote the financing programs and evaluate projects, there is no cost to the County.

The initiative is supported by the Seattle 2030 District, a public-private collaborative in downtown Seattle whose members have pledged to make dramatic reductions in their building energy use, water use, and transportation emissions through the year 2030.

"King County's Green Community Initiative will create additional financing tools for 2030 District building owners as they work to create a more sustainable downtown," said Brian Geller, Executive Director of the 2030 District.

The initiative would also enable county residents and businesses to access lower-cost financing for sustainable projects that conserve energy, water, and promote environmental sustainability. These could include energy and water efficiency projects that reduce use by 10 percent or more within a facility, community scale renewable energy projects, and greenhouse gas emission reduction efforts.

By promoting these and other projects to enhance environmental sustainability and protection, the proposed initiative furthers the economic growth, built environment, and environmental sustainability goals of the King County Strategic Plan.



King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

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