A Council-appointed Climate Action Plan Task Force is developing recommendations to achieve accelerated 100% renewable energy goals, in response to community support for more ambitious climate action. Achieving 100% renewable energy for both community and municipal energy will require everyone in the Bellingham community to take steps towards securing a clean and vibrant future. Whether you are just starting to make climate-minded choices, or you are a seasoned change maker, there are always new and effective ways to be involved, and many of them are no or low-cost changes.
In order, these are the top 3 actions you can personally take that will have the biggest impact on reducing Bellingham's emissions and protecting our future:
- Shift your transportation mode
- Use less energy inside
- Switch to renewable energy
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" … What step will you take for climate action?
Find resources in the sections below and take the “I'm In!" pledge to be entered in a prize drawing for a tool that will help you take your next step.
Shift your transportation mode
Did you know that the transportation sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Bellingham, accounting for nearly one-third of all community emissions? The majority of commuter and non-commuter trips are made in vehicles with only one person in them. These single-occupancy vehicle trips, when taken in non-electric vehicles, produce more emissions than alternative modes of transportation.
You can make a big difference anywhere you go by choosing to ride your bike, walk, take the bus, or carpool instead of taking trips alone in your car. These tools can help you make the shift:
Whatcom Smart Trips Program: Making the choice to drive your car less is not easy, but Smart Trips has resources to help. They are well-known for their monthly trip diary with prize incentives, but they also offer classes, tours, and information to help make biking, walking, riding the bus or carpooling easier.
Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA): With their 30 fixed bus routes operating 7 days a week, WTA makes it simple to get where you need to go in Whatcom County. Their online Trip Planner will help you find the quickest routes to your favorite local spots.
City of Bellingham Biking and Walking Information: Studies show that traveling by bike and on foot is associated with a lower risk of heart disease and other causes of early mortality (source). Not only does active commuting provide physical health benefits, but it also improves your mood and saves you money. There is an extensive network of walking trails and bike routes in Bellingham for you to explore!
Puget Sound Energy (PSE) Up & Go Electric: There are about 28,000 electric cars cruising the roads of Washington State and more are added every day. With dozens of makes and models now on the market, it's getting easier to choose an electric car for your next vehicle purchase. Electrify your ride! Find an electric vehicle charging station near you.
Use less energy inside
Energy efficiency – or using less energy to provide the same or better energy services – is one of the most cost-effective tools for addressing the challenges of high energy prices, energy independence and security, air pollution, and climate change.
Energy use in Bellingham homes is responsible for one-fifth of our community's greenhouse gas emissions. Increasing the energy efficiency of your home can reduce your home's environmental impact while saving you money on your energy bills, improving your comfort, and increasing your home's value. Saving energy is easier than ever with these local programs:
Community Energy Challenge (CEC): This program walks homeowners through the process of achieving energy efficiency in their homes, from start to finish. You will receive a low-cost full energy audit, a comprehensive report detailing cost-effective measures, recommendations on choosing a reliable contractor, rebates, and more by participating in this program. Check here to see if you qualify as moderate income to receive even more financial incentives through the CEC.
PSE Home Energy Assessment: If you are a PSE customer, then you may be eligible for a certified member of PSE's Energy Assessment team to provide you with a FREE overview of how your home uses energy, including on-the-spot installation of up to 30 LED light bulbs.
Cascade Natural Gas Conservation Incentive Program: If you are a Cascade Natural Gas customer, you can save money through their
residential rebates and
commercial/industrial rebates when you install energy-saving improvements, including new windows and insulation.
City of Bellingham Water Conservation Kits: As a City water customer, you are eligible to receive one free kit with energy- and water-saving fixtures – a low-flow showerhead, faucet aerators, and toilet leak detection tablets. Pick yours up today!
Switch to renewable energy
Solar power is on the rise in Bellingham. In April 2016, Bellingham was recognized by Governor Jay Inslee as a Northwest Solar Community for making it easier and cheaper for homeowners to install rooftop solar.
Purchase Solar Power
Switching to renewable energy does not require a big sunny roof, or a lot of money. Participating in the following programs gives you the opportunity to easily support the growth of regional renewable energy projects without having to install or maintain anything. It's as easy as signing up and paying as little as $4 extra on your monthly electricity bill:
PSE's Green Power Program: Your home or business can enroll to offset your energy use with renewable options made from naturally replenishing resources, like sunlight, wind, and flowing rivers.
PSE's Solar Choice Program: Let the sun in with Solar Choice, a way to match some or all of the power you use with clean solar energy. You won't have any solar panels on your home. Instead, solar energy generated at a separate location will be added to the power grid on your behalf.
Install Solar Power
Ready to take it to the next level? You can install solar panels on your residential or commercial property by working with a solar installation company. They will provide you with a consultation to see if your home is a good fit for solar power. Learn more about generating your own renewable power in Bellingham by visiting PSE's website. And don't forget to check out the current federal and
state solar incentives to save money!
ARE YOU IN? Start today!
Join other Bellingham community members who have taken the I'm In! pledge to tell us how you will help the community reach its climate action goals. Whatcom County residents who complete the pledge are eligible to enter a prize drawing for a tool that will help you reduce emissions.