Healthy communities – 2010
Click on the indicator numbers below to read more about our performance related to this topic.
|EN 5: Internal Energy Efficiency
|EN 18: Initiatives to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
|WU 12: Source Water Protection Activities
|EN 22: Waste Management
|EN 23: Significant Spills
EWEB recognizes that it relies on sensitive natural resources – including the McKenzie River –
to support both our water and electric utility operations. We also know that the design, procurement,
and operation of buildings, vehicles, equipment and supplies are significant opportunities to manage
the life-cycle environmental, social and economic impacts associated with the operation of large public
works organizations like EWEB.
We are therefore committed to minimize and mitigate our impact on the healthy functioning of
important ecosystems and implementing practices that preserve natural resources, reduce waste,
prevent pollution and demonstrate leadership in building a healthy, sustainable community.
Looking at business, operational and resource management issues in terms of efficiency and
sustainability is consistent with EWEB's mission, vision and values. EWEB incorporates the
principles of environmental, social and economic sustainability across all aspects of our operations.
Sustainability policy and triple bottom line analysis
In November 2010, EWEB commissioners adopted a new Sustainability Policy, formally embracing a
decision-making framework that proactively considers environmental, social and economic impacts
and incorporates the risks, benefits, impacts and potential mitigation options of major project
and policy decisions. This new policy includes a decision support methodology that we refer to
as the triple bottom line (TBL) analysis framework. This framework is designed to help staff
consider in a systematic way the risks and opportunities as well as the impacts and potential
mitigation options of proposed projects or policy. Projects developed using the TBL framework
provide more comprehensive information to aid more holistic decision making.
The TBL analysis framework has already been applied to a range of projects of very different scale
including the potential relocation of customer service and administrative functions from EWEB's
downtown headquarters to EWEB's Roosevelt location in West Eugene, to the use of 100%
recycled content office paper, the conversion of woodstoves to ductless heat pumps and the
consideration of bill paying functions. The framework will also play an important role in the
evaluation of different power resources choices to be considered in the
2011 Integrated Electric
Measure and manage our greenhouse gas emissions
EWEB has completed its second annual greenhouse gas inventory looking at the greenhouse gas
emissions associated with both our operations and energy portfolio for 2010.
The large majority of these emissions were associated with EWEB's portfolio of owned, co-owned and
contracted electric power resources. In 2010, EWEB was directly and indirectly responsible
for nearly 397,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent* (MTCO2e) from our portfolio of
electric power resources. This increase of 70% above 2009 levels is primarily in contracted
and purchased power resources (scope 3). The higher emissions are related to an increased
volume of wholesale power purchases due to more hedge trading in 2010 compared to 2009 levels.
In 2010, the direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions associated with our operations and facilities
management activities – such as fleet and equipment use and the purchase of goods and services –
totaled more than 28,000 MTCO2e, compared to nearly 22,000 MTCO2e in 2009. This increase is largely
attributable to additional indirect GHG emissions in our supply chain associated with capital
infrastructure and building maintenance projects. Encouragingly, EWEB's direct operations
emissions decreased 13% from 2009 levels.
While these operational emissions are modest relative to our energy portfolio, they represent
some of the most readily available opportunities for climate mitigation action. To help focus
greenhouse gas reductions efforts EWEB adopted goals to reduce our operations emissions by 25%
below 2009 levels by 2020, reduce fossil fuel use 50% by 2030, and to achieve carbon neutrality
for our operations by 2050.
These goals were developed by EWEB's Sustainability Action Team, a cross-departmental team,
whose mission is to help the organization envision, plan and realize business practices that
foster environmental stewardship, social equity, and economic strength, now and in the long term.
During 2010, EWEB partnered with the City of Eugene in the development of the Eugene Community Climate
and Energy Action Plan. The Plan, approved for implementation by the Eugene City Council in September,
sets out community-wide greenhouse gas reduction goals and establishes objectives and priority
action items for six issue areas:
- Buildings and energy
- Food and agriculture
- Land use and transportation
- Consumption and waste
- Health and social services
- Urban natural resources
Many different community members, government and not for profit agencies, businesses and schools
will be involved in implementing the actions to help prepare for increasing climate variability
and fossil fuel price rises and availability fluctuations.
Water source protection
EWEB's water source protection program
seeks to systematically identify potential threats to the safety
and quality of the McKenzie River watershed and implement pollution prevention and resource conservation
programs. In 2010, EWEB investments in source protection activities totaled more than $610,000.
In addition $158,000 were leveraged from partner agencies including EPA, Oregon State University,
United States Geological Survey, Oregon Governors Fund and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.
Among accomplishments in 2010, EWEB in partnership with the Bonneville Power Administration helped fund
the acquisition by the McKenzie River Trust of a 92-acre parcel on the lower McKenzie near Walterville.
Two-thirds of the property will be restored and managed as riparian habitat for fish and wildlife,
while the other third will be used as a demonstration farm showcasing sustainable farming practices.
EWEB, the McKenzie River Trust and Cascade Pacific Conservation and Development jointly manage the property.
The property, known as the Berggren Watershed
Conservation Area, will provide opportunities for
conservation education and the development of low-impact land management approaches that encourage
long-term solutions for protecting the excellent water quality of the McKenzie River for future generations.
In 2010, EWEB received a $45,500 grant from the Oregon Governor's Fund for the Environment to continue
the Healthy Farms Clean Water program and partner with other local agencies and organizations
to assist farmers in reducing their agricultural runoff while increasing the economic vitality
of their farms. As part of this grant project, EWEB held an open house for farmers in the winter
of 2010 where they could learn about free services available to them from project partners.
Roosevelt Operations Center
In 2010, EWEB completed construction of its new $71 million Roosevelt Operations Center. The project
is located on a 52-acre site in West Eugene and includes three new buildings: an engineering and
operation building, a warehouse and a fleet services building. The project also includes a 260-space
employee and visitor vehicle parking lot and a 13-acre secure storage yard for equipment and staging.
The project, which is expected to receive LEED Gold certification, features a number of energy and
water sustainability features.
Renewable energy and energy efficiency features include:
- A 70-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system
- A solar hot water system
- Enhanced building insulation and passive solar design to reduce energy consumption for heating
- The extensive use of day lighting, high efficiency lighting fixtures and occupancy sensors to
reduce energy consumption
As a result of these and other features energy use is projected to be at least 35% less
than a similar project built to current minimum state standards.
Sustainable water features include:
Each year, EWEB spends tens of millions of dollars on purchased goods and services yet does not
systematically consider the sustainability impacts of these purchases or evaluate the social and
environmental performance of our suppliers. Moreover, EWEB does not have the systems in place to
analyze purchasing data and quantify the weight or volume of materials used, which in turn inhibits our
ability to evaluate the efficiency of our resource consumption.
Over the next decade, EWEB anticipates embarking on several major infrastructure projects, including
the Carmen Smith Improvement project
associated with re-licensing the facility, electric and water
meter upgrades and potentially a second water source and associated treatment and distribution capacity.
These are major projects and present a significant opportunity to incorporate life-cycle thinking in
design and construction. While green building practices have become accepted practice in commercial
and residential construction, it is not as common in major utility infrastructure projects.
These projects present EWEB the chance to lead and implement a wide range of best practices
from environmentally and socially responsible purchasing, to fleet and transportation management,
to waste minimization and recycling. Capitalizing on this opportunity will require a commitment of purpose
EWEB has taken important initial steps in acknowledging our contribution to climate change and
articulated a greenhouse gas reduction target for our operational GHG emissions with an action plan to
be developed in 2011. However, we still lack a strategy for reducing or offsetting the emissions
associated with our power resource portfolio. This issue will be considered in the development of the
Protecting drinking water quality over the long term requires our community to develop strategies
that address the risks associated with increased land-use development in sensitive riparian areas.
While the effort in 2010 by the Lane County Board of Commissioners to address some of these issues was
laudable, it was undermined by a lack of proactive public education and stakeholder engagement.
EWEB remains committed to working with McKenzie River residents and Lane County to develop an
approach that meets the community's needs.
In 2010, EWEB's Education Grant and Partners
in Education programs provided nearly $680,000 for water
and energy education activities at four area school districts, Lane Community College and community
nonprofit organizations. The grants fund programs that promote environmental awareness and an ethic
of efficiency around water and energy use. Recipients have used the grants to funds curriculum
materials such as science kits, hands-on experiments, field trips and the hiring of classroom aides
and science educators.
Since the Education Grant program began in 1995, EWEB has distributed more than $8.68 million to local
schools and educators.
*Different greenhouse gasses have different levels of potency, for example methane has 21 times
the heat trapping potential as carbon dioxide. Measurement in MTCO2e represents the global warming
potential of different greenhouse gasses expressed in terms of the global warming potential of one
unit of carbon dioxide. In other words one metric ton of methane is equivalent to 21 MTCO2e.