Sustainable Clackamas County

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Sustainability means using, developing and protecting resources at a rate and in a manner that allows people to meet their current needs while ensuring that future generations will be able to meet their own needs.

Sustainability in Action

Sustainability tips: Ways you can live more sustainably

You can make our community and world a better place every day by choosing sustainable options that offer a long-term quality of life.


Every time we drive, fly, turn on an appliance, discard waste, and cool or heat our homes we emit greenhouse gases into the air. Some greenhouse gases are required to keep the earth at a livable temperature. But, in excess they have a negative impact by trapping too much heat in the atmosphere which warms the planet and changes our climate. An eco footprint is a measurement of how much your lifestyle impacts the earth in terms of the resources needed and the waste produced. You can also measure your impact by counting greenhouse gas emissions, measured in units of carbon dioxide (CO2). Household Carbon Footprint Calculator from EPA

Easy steps to shrink your eco footprint

  1. Reduce your number of car trips — carpool, bike, walk, take the bus. You will save 1 pound of carbon for every mile you don't drive.
  2. Adjust your thermostat up 2 degrees in the summer and down 2 degrees in the winter. By adjusting your thermostat 2 degrees you could save 2,000 pound of carbon dioxide per year.
  3. Unplug chargers and turnoff appliances, including computers, when not in use. Even if they are turned off, electronics consume energy when they are plugged in. By pulling the plug when something is not in use you could save 1,000 pound of carbon dioxide a year.
  4. Change to energy efficient light bulbs. By switching out 3 lights with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) you could save 300 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. CFLs seem more expensive than regular bulbs, but since their life is 10 times longer they save you money over time.
  5. Bring re-usable bags to the store. Using your own bag instead of plastic or paper bags reduces waste and requires no additional energy to make.
  6. Reduce your water usage — turn off the water when brushing your teeth or shorten your shower. Showers use 2.5 gallons of water per minute, and each gallon uses three ounces of carbon dioxide. If you shorten your shower by 2 minutes a day, you can save 342 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.
  7. Purchase energy efficient appliances. By updating your old refrigerator to an Energy Star certified appliance you could save 500 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
  8. Choose a re-usable coffee mug and water bottle. One plastic mug, used twice a day, every day instead of disposable cups, can save 135 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per person per year.
  9. Always recycle. Every time you recycle one pound of waste, you reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by one pound.

Spread the word to your family and friends.


The Energy Trust of Oregon offers incentives and rebates to help you make energy-saving upgrades at home or work, and tools to find qualified contractors. Consider working with Enhabit, a statewide non-profit that can help you pursue a whole-home retrofit for energy efficiency and earthquake readiness, with access to financing.


Energy performance at #ClackCo

On Feb. 4, 2016, the Board of County Commissioners adopted an energy policy that commits the county to reducing energy use by 5% from 2014 levels by the year 2020. This program provides a framework for large organizations such as ours to reduce electricity and natural gas use. It looks at every aspect of energy use, from adding solar arrays or upgrading HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems, all the way down to individual employee habits. Board of County Commissioners Resolution Reaffirming Clackamas County's Commitment to Combat Climate Change, July 6, 2017

Real-time energy production: A solar array was built on the roof of the Development Services Building in 2011.


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