Seattle Allocates $6.5 Million Toward Energy, Climate Initiatives


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Seattle has signed into law nearly $6.5 million of financing that will go toward making buildings energy efficient, establishing “resilience hubs,” and increasing the use of data to address climate and sustainability issues across the city.

Mayor Bruce Harrel signed the 2022 Green New Deal Opportunity Fund into law, which is the first set of investments recommended by an oversight board for the city’s climate and energy effort. The board also recommended $2.6 million in rebates and incentives to the 2023 budget to help underserved areas of the city make energy-efficient transitions.

As part of the financing that Harrel approved, $2.4 million will go toward what the city calls resilience hubs. The city says the hubs are an innovative approach to make sure communities can prepare, respond, and recover from situations like extreme heat and wildfire impacts. Harrel also proposed $2 million in the parks district budget to go toward the resilience hub effort.

Making sure energy grids stay connected has been a concern this year in several areas, as the state of Texas more than once has asked for conservation measures due to heat. California has long faced resilience worries due to natural events, and earlier in September 2022 faced a week of record-breaking temperatures and grid emergencies.

Seattle also is putting $2.3 million to get all city-owned buildings off and fossil fuels by 2035. The city wants to decarbonize its 650 buildings, and also says many of its facilities, such as its 27 public libraries, are increasingly used during emergencies, making energy efficiency and resiliency more important at those locations. Investments include improving heating and cooling systems, which the city says can improve efficiency as well as provide buffers from extreme temperatures and poor air quality from wildfire impacts.

Buildings are intensive energy users, especially from elements such as heating and cooling systems, and produce nearly 40% of the world’s emissions. New York, Las Vegas, and Denver are among the US cities tackling building efficiency and emissions through programs, advanced technologies, and policy.

The green deal funding is also adding $400,000 toward programs to increase infrastructure to track Seattle’s sustainability progress. The data will be used to help improve areas such as transportation systems, as well as develop targets and programs over the next 20 years.

Additionally, $2 million is allocated to provide increased energy efficiency and reduce the reliance on fossil fuels in city-owned affordable housing. Community-based energy projects are also becoming more common across the country, and this year California passed a law establishing a community renewable energy program.

The Seattle Times reports that the Green New Deal Oversight Board has proposed more than $28 million in investments for city budgets through 2023. Seattle passed its Green New Deal in 2019.



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