Early Climate Actions

Line of City electric vehicles at charging stations

Olympia's Early Climate Actions

To build a foundation for climate action across City operations and prepare for implementation of the Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan, Olympia will take “early action” to address climate change concurrent with the mitigation planning effort.

Olympia's 35 early climate actions are organized under six themes:

  • Establish a framework for climate-focused decisions
  • Set the foundation for a solar and green building community
  • Create a City staff culture of climate awareness
  • Green City facilities and fleet
  • Build the foundation for climate friendly infrastructure
  • Build and leverage partnerships

Featured Actions

SolSmart is a program of the U.S. Department of Energy to recognize communities that have made it easy for residents and businesses to go solar. The program provides no-cost technical assistance and communities earn points and recognition for taking solar friendly steps thereby earning Bronze, Silver, or Gold designation. Several Washington Communities are recognized SolSmart communities. At a minimum, completing the following SolSmart criteria should be completed:

  • Consider residential "solar ready" building options, including options for encouraging and/or requiring. A method for tracking solar ready homes should be included as a component of this work item.
  • Review zoning requirements, ID restrictions that limit solar development and compile findings in a memo.
  • Review planning documents, identify new opportunities to integrate solar into planning goals and compile findings in a memo.
  • Review solar permit fees for residential and new commercial solar PV. Compile findings in a memo.

To build City-staff climate change awareness, form a City-wide volunteer Green Team. Tasks to be pursued by the Green Team include:

  • Develop a gamification strategy to get employees engaged in climate and offer fun incentives.
  • Develop "what the City is doing to address climate change" & "what you can do to assist" message for incorporation into new employee orientation training.
  • Develop a staff climate change/climate change action outreach program strategy.
  • Develop a City Staff "go green" pledge.
  • Sponsor a space heater campaign to request removal of space heaters during spring/summer.
  • Promote training opportunities for City staff on climate mitigation and adaptation.

Other ideas for the Green Team to consider include co-hosting Electric Vehicle training events for City employees, offering “Go Green" sweatshirts or blankets for sale in lieu of winter space heater use, marketing Commute Trip Reduction program activities and researching environmental impacts that could result from climate actions, such as impacts on birds from increased solar use.

Provide vehicle idling reports to supervisors. Develop vehicle idling reduction targets and provide fun incentives for meeting targets.

The City has been addressing climate change since 1991 (view timeline). While the City must continue to take action to both mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change, it is important to inform the community of the measures that have already been taken.

As a component of telling our story, consider including an overview of what zoning allows for solar under what conditions.

Continue participating in Puget Sound Energy's Green Direct program to ensure 100 percent of the City's electricity use comes from renewable energy sources. Continue to encourage Puget Sound Energy to move towards clean, renewable sources of energy to serve the community.

Continue to work with Olympia Community Solar to site a community solar project at the Hands-on Children’s Museum (and other sites as may be appropriate) and to advance a SolSmart Community designation.

At the successful conclusion of the Hands-on Children’s Museum solar installation, consider holding a community event to celebrate completion of the project and to market/show support for solar use.

Where possible community solar projects should include educational materials and signage.


Contact Susan Clark at 360.753.8321 or sclark@ci.olympia.wa.us