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Annual Sustainability Report

2013 Annual Report of King County's Climate Change, Energy, Green Building and Environmental Purchasing Programs (Published June 2014)

2013 King County Sustainability Report King County places a high priority on reducing the environmental footprint of County operations and supporting efforts in the broader community to improve environmental sustainability. The County is also committed to measuring environmental outcomes against established goals and targets, being transparent about results, and using this information to improve programs.

In 2012, the King County Executive and King County Council collaborated to develop and adopt a Strategic Climate Action Plan (SCAP). The SCAP synthesizes and focuses King County's most critical goals, objectives, and strategies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and prepare for the impacts of climate change. The County's overarching climate goal is to partner with its residents, businesses, local governments and other partners to reduce countywide GHG emissions by at least 80 percent below 2007 levels by 2050.

The SCAP reflects King County's long-standing commitment to environmental sustainability and economic prosperity. It builds upon diverse climate change and sustainability related commitments and is organized around five goal areas: transportation and land use, energy and green building, forests and agriculture, consumption and materials management, and preparing for climate change impacts.

Beginning with the 2012 Annual Report, progress was reported using the framework of the five major goal areas for the SCAP, and summarizing information by County operations and service to the broader community. Using this framework helps organize reporting on these diverse but related topics.

King County's leadership on sustainability touches on all aspects of our operations; a few of the specific accomplishments highlighted in the 2013 report include:

  • Transportation and Land Use: In 2013, King County Metro Transit had more than 122 million annual boardings on transit and vanpools, and ridership on all public transportation services in King County hit an all-time record high of 148.2 million boardings. Transit vehicle energy use per passenger capacity has improved by approximately 7 percent since 2007.
  • Energy and Green Building: As of this reports publication, the equivalent of 54.9 percent of King County government's total energy requirements are being met by the generation or consumption of renewable energy, exceeding the County's 50 percent renewable energy target.
  • Forests and Agriculture: In 2013, King County made continued progress in adding to conservation acreage through the Open Space and Forest Land current use taxation programs, agricultural land preservation, conservation easements, and forest planning and stewardship. Highlights included the purchase of the 200 acre Tall Chief property in the Snoqualmie Valley.
  • Consumption and Materials Management: King County residents and businesses continued to recycle or compost more than half of all waste, a significant achievement. It's estimated that this recycling reduced GHG emissions by more than 1.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, or the same as removing more than 200,000 passenger vehicles from the road.
  • Preparing for Climate Change Impacts: The County has developed programs and projects to help reduce the impacts of floods, support farm and forest owner action to address climate change impacts. 2013 highlights included completion of the largest in-river flood protection project since establishment of the King County Flood District in 2007.

These are just some of the recent highlights and numerous other accomplishments related to the County's environmental sustainability and climate change-related commitments are included in the report.

The work highlighted in the report furthers the Environmental Sustainability goals of the King County Strategic Plan by safeguarding and enhancing King County's natural resources and environment. In turn, these accomplishments support the Economic Growth and Built Environment goals of the Strategic Plan by supporting a growing and diverse King County economy and vibrant, thriving and sustainable communities.

Download the document

2013 Annual Report of King County's Climate Change, Energy, Green Building and Environmental Purchasing Programs (Published June 2014) – 1.6MB pdf

For questions about the King County Annual Sustainability Report, please contact Megan Smith, Environmental Policy Advisor, King County Executive Office.