PO Box 13324, Olympia, WA 98508 info@thurstonclimateaction.org

The Zero Net Carbon Buildings Policy Toolkit

Chris van Daalen | Northwest EcoBuilding Guild

This new resource was published last month by the Shift Zero Alliance to help Cities craft and implement impactful green building incentivesand related policies. Myself and a team of green building leaders from around the state founded Shift Zero in 2017, and subsequently brought together our collective policy insight and market experience into this Toolkit, so we could make it available to you.  Find the Shift Zero cover letter and Policy Toolkit and attached.

I want to directly engage the Council and City Staff using this Toolkit to help develop early actions so Olympia can set the pace for climate mitigation in Thurston County and the State.  The RCMP is a comprehensive plan, but the building sector is the biggest part of our carbon problem and the potential solutions represent low-hanging fruit.  From local incentives and demonstration projects, to state-level policy and code changes needed to empower further local action – there is much we can and must do immediately while the RCMP Phase 2 Scope of Work unfolds. The Toolkit provides a menu of proven incentives, policies and code innovations, and guidance to tailor them to our unique community circumstances.

As someone involved both locally and regionally, I can be a bridge to bring practical policy solutions from other cities, states and organizations, as well as connections to expert problem-solvers and innovative thought leaders whose help we will need to equitably scale-up production of zero net carbon homes and buildings in Olympia between now and 2030.  Everyone should have a healthy, energy efficient home they can afford to live in.

Imagine a Capital City EcoDistrict
I’ve been telling the City for years – a Downtown EcoDistrict could be one of the single most effective ways to scale up the climate, health and economic benefits available from sustainability and resilience at a neighborhood scale.  Now I’m excited to be part of a project that could take a first step:  Faculty and students from The Evergreen State College environmental studies “Living Well” program are researching and will report on the EcoDistrict concept, using the Commons at Fertile Ground as a hypothetical neighborhood center to build out from.

An innovative thought leading organization – the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) based in Seattle, manages the most rigorous green building standard in the world, the Living Building Challenge. Alicia Daniels Uhlig is ILFI’s policy director.  She and her colleagues authored yet another important resource for exemplary green building leaders – the Toolkit for Policy Leadership – with templates for incentives and commitments designed for progressive cities that wish to pursue truly regenerative development.

I am proud to live in a City that has the political will to take bold action for community health and climate change.