The City of Edmonds recognizes that human activities are largely responsible for impacts to the natural environment and that there is a strong need to address environmental sustainability issues through its actions and initiatives. With the 2009 adoption of its Community Sustainability Element into the City’s Comprehensive Plan and the establishment of Environmental Principles and Policy (City Council Resolution 1170), Edmonds set in motion a commitment to addressing environmental, economic, and social issues in a coordinated and holistic way.

A result of this commitment emerged in 2010 with a series of actions intended to take a leadership role in addressing sustainability issues through policy, education, advocacy, and action.A key component of the City’s commitment has been to institutionalize sustainability within the organization. The City’s dedication to prioritizing sustainability was initiated in 2006 with the establishment of the Mayor’s Climate Protection Committee. This committee of citizens meets monthly with the Mayor and city staff to work towards addressing the future impacts of climate change, while also focusing on sustainability in general. The Committee has been integral in much of the progress the City has made over the past several years in addressing sustainability.

Two important planning documents resulted from the Climate Protection Committee’s work. First, the Community Sustainability Element was adopted into the Edmonds Comprehensive Plan in 2009. This element was intended to provide a framework tying the other Comprehensive Plan elements together, illustrating how the overall plan direction supports sustainability within the Edmonds community. Additionally, this element set the stage for the City’s actions and initiatives that strive towards enhanced environmental protections and reductions in energy usage. This was followed up by the development of a Climate Action Plan in 2010, which established a series of priorities to guide city action.

City staff has taken a proactive role in the City’s commitment to addressing sustainability issues by forming a “Green Team,” which includes employees representing most departments of the City. The “Green Team” meets regularly to discuss ideas for reducing energy use related to city functions. These ideas can range from seemingly smaller administrative actions, such as changes to photocopying procedures in order to reduce paper consumption, to larger projects, such as retrofitting building HVAC or lighting systems with energy-efficient systems. The “Green Team” affords staff an opportunity to bring new ideas to the table and to “borrow” energy savings ideas from methods that other departments and municipalities have successfully achieved. This has created a strong inter-departmental effort with one common goal: sustainability.