Greenhouse Gas Inventory of Thurston County Operations
Thurston County’s greenhouse gas inventory of government operations is a
product of the
Climate and Sustainability Program. Completed in May 2010, this
inventory is a complete inventory of 2009 emissions.
Thurston County operations were responsible for over 17,000 Metric Tons
of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (MTCDE) in 2009.
Detailed Emissions Reports
Intro to Greenhouse Gas Emissions
A brief introduction to terms and ideas
related to climate science. Learn when the term “greenhouse
effect” was coined and what a “MTCDE” is.
2009 Thurston County Operations Emissions
A detailed presentation of the greenhouse gas
inventory; the same information given to the Planning
Commission and the Board of County Commissioners.
Thurston County works with The Climate
Registry, a nonprofit that sets consistent and transparent
standards to calculate, verify and publicly report
greenhouse gas emissions. This CRIS report is a complete
detailed report of 2009 Thurston County emissions inventory.
The largest sources of emissions for this inventory were:
- Electricity – The northwest is home to many hydropower
dams, giving us some of the lowest per-kilowatt emissions in the
country. However, we are home to one major coal-fired power plant,
in Centralia, Washington - which provides 35% of the energy in our
grid. The greatest energy user, by far, in County operations is the
Courthouse Complex, which used 4.45 million kilowatt-hours in 2009.
- Landfill Decomposition –
The Waste and Recovery Center on Hogum Bay Road is the home to
nearly 100 years worth of Thurston County’s garbage. Although these
landfills are capped and covered, their continued decomposition
generate large amounts of methane.
- Employee Commuting – Commuting by County employees was
estimated by WSDOT in conjunction with WSU Extension, based on
state-mandated annual commuting surveys called
- County Fleet Vehicles – The County-owned vehicles used
nearly 540,000 gallons of fuel in 2009. This includes everything
from Sheriff’s vehicles to maintenance trucks to construction
vehicles. Passenger vehicles used the majority of fuel during 2009
- Natural Gas and Refrigerants – Although natural gas and
refrigeration is the smallest source of Thurston County’s emissions,
it is a significant sum. Again, the largest source of both natural
gas and refrigeration consumption in 2009 was the County Courthouse
Complex, using 43% of total natural gas and the vast majority of
What is being done to reduce Thurston County’s carbon footprint?
The County has only begun to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. It is
now County policy to use greenhouse gas emissions as the ultimate
measure of progress in climate action planning, and to work toward
reducing annual emissions to zero. There are multiple projects happening
now to address organizational sustainability at the County:
A Pathway to Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions - This resolution
describes major goals for greenhouse gas reduction and details four
main areas which the County wishes to address:
- Greenhouse gas measurement and reporting: You can’t manage
what you don’t measure. By maintaining up-to-date, accurate
measurements of energy use and emissions the County can be clear
about which strategies are most effective in reducing emissions.
The goal is to integrate greenhouse gas data into all major
- Energy conservation and efficiency of county facilities:
Energy efficiency is the most cost-effective strategy for
emissions reductions available today. Energy use by County
facilities accounts for thousands of tons of emissions and a
hefty bill to go with it. Every opportunity to be more efficient
should be pursued.
- County fleet vehicles: Emissions reductions can be achieved
through participation in the
Evergreen Fleets Program, addition of low- or no-emissions
vehicles and reduction of miles traveled.
- County employee commuting: Thurston County is home to
award-winning transit agency, Intercity Transit, and County
employees have only begun to take advantage of telecommuting and
alternative commuting methods. By improving commuting patterns
everybody wins: happier commutes, lower transportation costs and
Energy efficiency and lighting retrofit programs - The County is
currently in the progress of
lighting retrofits of County facilities to achieve
cost-effective energy savings.
Sustainability Policy - Thurston County's sustainability policy
includes guidelines for environmentally preferable purchasing and
the efficient use of energy in county operations. County departments
also participate in a comprehensive in-house recycling program.
Sustainability Report - The county produces extensive annual
sustainability reports that covering many topics, from purchasing to
energy use and more.