More than 80 people gathered at Redmond City Hall Wednesday night to discuss how to incorporate sustainable practices into the city’s Comprehensive Plan and Transportation Master Plan.
The event, “Livable Redmond — A Community Conversation on Sustainability,” began with an open house with informational displays followed by a presentation by keynote speaker Andy Wappler, a former meteorologist for KIRO who now works for Puget Sound Energy. Attendees then gathered into eight groups facilitated by city employees for a discussion on different topics pertaining to the event’s main theme.
Wappler was very pleased with the city holding such an event as well as the event’s turnout.
“I think that says a lot about the city and the kind of people in the community,” he said.
During his presentation, the Novelty Hill resident discussed what sustainability is and how sustainable practices are implemented. Wappler also highlighted local examples of sustainable efforts.
He said a good way of approaching sustainability is looking at it as a benefit for the future in three different facets: good for the economy, good for the environment and good for all.
For example, Wappler said taking care of the local environment gives people more incentive to bring their businesses to Redmond, which is good for the community.
“We live in a beautiful area and we know taking care of it is good for the economy,” he said.
Wappler discussed wind power and how wheat farmers in Washington are now farming wind as well. The benefits of this form of power include clean energy (good for the environment), an extra income for the farmers (good for the economy) and another way to harness power for local communities (good for all).
Despite these benefits, Wappler said wind power may not work everywhere. Some areas may be more suited toward solar power or other methods, which is why sustainable practices differ from community to community.
“Getting together and coming up with unique community solutions makes sense,” he said regarding the “Livable Redmond” event.
Some local efforts Wappler mentioned in his presentation included a solar power project conducted by students at Redmond High School, PCC Natural Markets’ sustainable business practices and the City of Redmond’s Trip Resource and Incentive Program (R-TRIP).
Wappler said the simplest thing people can do at home in the name of sustainability is become more energy efficient — investing in energy efficient light bulbs and appliances. This will also save people money in the long run because their utility bills will be cut significantly, he added.
Redmond residents can also become PSE Green Power Program customers, Wappler said. This program guarantees electricity from renewable energy facilities is delivered to the regional power pool, reducing the need for non-renewable sources such as fossil fuels.
In his own home, Wappler and his family have cut their electricity use by 40 percent and natural gas use by 10 percent, which has saved them about $300 a year. The Wapplers also traded their trash can for a smaller model and bought a bigger recycling bin to encourage recycling.
Wappler said this is also a good way to get children involved because it shows how their actions do affect the bigger picture.