Climate Protection

The City of Kirkland seeks to protect its natural environment and conserve its natural resources and has formalized this commitment by signing onto the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement and to the King County-Cities Climate Collaboration (K4C). Consistent with the Mayors Agreement, the City Council approved Greenhouse Emissions Reduction Targets for the City of Kirkland (as a municipal government) and the community and has begun development of an action plan to meet these targets.

Greenhouse Emissions Targets

10% reduction of 2005 levels by 2012

20% reduction from 2005 levels by 2020

80% reduction from 2005 levels by 2050

Kirkland's Progress on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

chart of greenhouse gas emissions goals compared with 2005 baseline

The City Council approved the City’s participation in the Green Power Partnership to obtain wind-powered energy. The Partnership is administered by Puget Sound Energy and provides for the purchase of renewable energy to its customers through the Green Direct Program. Learn more about Kirkland's energy supply and emissions goals, and how the existing building stock, future buildings, and infrastructure can reduce emissions. 

To further achieve its climate protection efforts, the City has a strong commitment to creating a safe and pedestrian-friendly community. In compliance with the State Commute Trip Reduction Act (RCW 70.94.521), the City enacted its Commute Trip Reduction Ordinance in 1993. The purpose of the Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) law is to reduce air pollution, traffic congestion and fuel consumption by encouraging commuters to bus, carpool, vanpool, bicycle, walk, or work compressed work weeks or flexible work schedules instead of driving alone to work everyday. The law requires major employers to provide employee transportation programs to encourage this shift. City zoning codes require that a Transportation Management Program (TMP) be implemented for office building space in excess of 50,000 square feet of floor area. Learn more about Kirkland's land use and transportation goals.

To learn about the City’s progress, view the following reports and plans:

Recommendations for Meeting 2020, 2030 and 2050 Greenhouse Gas Emission Goals

Recommendations from 2018 Greenhouse Gas Emission Report(PDF, 5MB).

Community-Wide Emissions

For Municipal Operations Emissions

  • Procure renewable electricity through PSE’s Green Direct program for all municipal operations such as City operated street lights
  • Establish a fleet policy and implement purchase of all electric vehicles (unless not feasible for Fire, Police and Public Works heavy duty vehicles) starting in 2019 with a schedule to achieve all electric vehicles by 2030 or sooner
  • Audit all City buildings for energy use reductions with a priority on older facilities and especially those that use natural gas for heating, utilizing EPA’s Portfolio Manager software or similar software
  • Implement measures to eliminate emissions from natural gas or other fossil fuels and reduce energy use for electricity to a minimum required for safety and comfort of occupants
  • Update Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) ordinance to encourage carpool, vanpool, transit use, bicycling, walking to work and working from home to help reduce congestion, fuel consumption and air pollution

Kirkland's Climate Commitments

Signing the King County-Cities Climate Collaboration Pledge means:

  • City of Kirkland will join the County and a group of like-minded Cities to work together to directly respond to climate change and reduce global and local sources of climate pollution. Specifically, members of the initiative agreed to collaborate regionally to develop and coordinate climate change reduction strategies, engage in joint outreach efforts, develop policy solutions, and search for funding and resources to support the effort.
  • King County-Cities Climate Collaboration (K4C) cities will focus on “practical, near-term, collaborative opportunities between cities and King County” to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and collectively build a more sustainable future.
  • Kirkland pledges to support the shared regional vision that these principles and actions represent.
  • Kirkland will actively pursue GHG reduction strategies and catalytic actions focusing on where our jurisdictions can make the most impact given our size, location, and development patterns.
  • Specific commitments will be in the following areas: Shared Goals, Climate Policy, Transportation and Land Use, Energy Supply, Green Building and Energy Efficiency, Consumption and Materials Management, Forests and Farming, Government Operations and Continued Collaboration with the King County-Cities Climate Collaboration

Participating cities in the Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement support:

  • Urging the federal government and state governments to enact policies and programs to meet or beat the target of reducing global warming pollution levels to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012, including efforts to: reduce the United States’ dependence on fossil fuels and accelerate the development of clean, economical energy resources and fuel-efficient technologies such as conservation, methane recovery for energy generation, waste to energy, wind and solar energy, fuel cells, efficient motor vehicles, and biofuels;
  • Urging the U.S. Congress to pass bipartisan greenhouse gas reduction legislation that includes 1) clear timetables and emissions limits and 2) a flexible, market-based system of tradable allowances among emitting industries; and
  • Striving to meet or exceed Kyoto Protocol targets for reducing global warming pollution (reduce greenhouse gases to 7% below 1990 levels) by taking actions in our own operations and communities.

By signing the Mayors Agreement, the City of Kirkland pledged to achieve its own goals:

  • Inventory global warming emissions in City operations and in the community, set reduction targets and create an action plan.
  • Adopt and enforce land-use policies that reduce sprawl, preserve open space, and create compact, walkable urban communities.
  • Promote transportation options such as bicycle trails, commute trip reduction programs, incentives for car pooling, and public transit.
  • Increase the use of clean, alternative energy by, for example, investing in “green tags”, advocating for the development of renewable energy resources, recovering landfill methane for energy production, and supporting the use of waste to energy technology.
  • Make energy efficiency a priority through building code improvements, retrofitting city facilities with energy efficient lighting and urging employees to conserve energy and save money
  • Purchase only Energy Star equipment and appliances for City use.
  • Practice and promote sustainable building practices using the U. S. Green Building Council’s LEED program or a similar system.
  • Increase the average fuel efficiency of municipal fleet vehicles; reduce the number of vehicles; launch an employee education program including anti-idling messages; convert diesel vehicles to bio-diesel.
  • Evaluate opportunities to increase pump efficiency in water and wastewater systems; recover wastewater treatment methane for energy production.
  • Increase recycling rates in City operations and in the community.
  • Maintain healthy urban forests; promote tree planting to increase shading and to absorb carbon dioxide.
  • Help educate the public, schools, other jurisdictions, professional associations, business and industry about reducing global warming pollution.