Energy & Green Building
The Energy and Green Building Program creates a healthy built environment for people and the planet. We are working to facilitate a local economy powered by the efficient use of clean, renewable, and secure energy and buildings that live lightly on, or are even restorative to, our environment. Programs such as the Community Energy Challenge provide expert assistance to businesses and homes making energy upgrades, while events like the Green Building Slam bring community together to envision a better future. Sustainable Connections is blazing a trail and helping make our region a leader in clean energy and buildings.
Looking for the Community Energy Challenge? Visit the Community Energy Challenge website to learn how to save energy in your home or business.
Decarbonization Tech Talks
Join the Energy and Green Building Team during our six-part series on building decarbonization technologies. Starting on October 27th, we will be hosting weekly lunch and learns catered towards industry folks such as contractors, builders, architects, and other industry professionals.
Green Building Slam
After a two-year, in-person hiatus, the Green Building Slam is back! A community favorite, the Slam is known for its fast-paced, presentation style and incredible networking opportunities with local green building experts and enthusiasts. Did we mention fun? Thank you to all who attended, a recording of the event is now available.
Energize the San Juans
ACT NOW! The Community Energy Challenge makes achieving energy efficiency as easy as possible. We know that San Juan businesses have unique needs, and that’s why we are teaming up with OPALCO to help Energize businesses in San Juan County. We’re bringing together energy-saving expertise and generous rebates and grants for energy efficiency and solar projects to maximize savings.
Discounted Energy Audits for Businesses on Tribal Land
Act Now! The Community Energy Challenge, Northwest Indian College, and Spark Northwest have teamed up to offer discounted energy assessments to businesses located on tribal lands. Businesses are eligible for up to 50% of energy efficient project costs including solar until July 2024.
What We Do
If you are interested in energy efficiency improvements for your existing building or looking for resources to make your construction project more sustainable, we have programs, toolkits, and resources to support you every step of the way.
Events and Trainings
Want to geek out with other energy efficiency and green building enthusiasts? Want to stay up to date on opportunities to learn about local efforts in these sectors? Click here to check out our regular networking events and upcoming trainings, tours, and talks!
Meet like-minded folks and energy efficiency experts to learn about local resources to help you save energy at work, empower you to get buy-in from coworkers and management for your energy-saving efforts, and share energy-saving best practices and success stories with each other.
Climate Action Book Club
Sustainable Connections is making Climate Action Book Club a regular thing, so mark your calendars for the third Thursday in February, June, and October! Join the discussion via Zoom 8:00 am – 9:00 am.
Green Building Nerds
Green Building Nerds is an informal meeting held the third Monday of every other month where peers in the green building industry discuss, troubleshoot, share, and have fun nerding out over a beer. Topics, locations, and attendance vary, but nerding out is always encouraged.
Energy Efficiency Highlights
Bellingham Energy Prize
The Bellingham Energy Prize made it even easy to access expert help and take simple steps to save energy right meow! Sustainable Connections was part of a collaborative team that competed with 50 other cities nationally for the Georgetown University Energy Prize. During the competition, Bellingham saved almost 50 billion BTUs of energy, and reduced carbon emissions by 11,977 metric tons. Bellingham tied for third place in the national competition and was noted as the most creative and inclusive city by engaging residents broadly and targeting harder-to-reach sectors of the population, including renters and multi-family units. Kilowatt Kitty, Bellingham’s energy efficiency mascot, was used to champion the campaign.
Solarize Whatcom helped residents and business owners easily navigate solar installation by providing free workshops and site assessments, brokering low interest rates, and assisting with every step of the contract and installation process. In the end, 47 contracts were completed, over $1,200,000 was invested in solar, and a total of 311.15 kW will be saved every year! Thanks to Solarize program partners, for every solar installation contract that was signed, a panel and installation was donated to the Bellingham Food Bank, resulting in a 47 panel array. This means more resources to help end hunger in Whatcom County, as every $10 saved by the Food Bank provides another 100 lbs. of food to individuals.
Toward Net Zero Energy
A few lucky high-performance home builders and homeowners interested in deep energy savings took part in this pilot program that offered funding, technical assistance and marketing support to help achieve better home performance. The program helped identify the most cost-effective ways to achieve maximum energy savings in residential retrofit construction.
Why Save Energy at your Business?
Saving energy in your business can significantly reduce your operating costs and your impact on the environment. You’ll be cutting carbon emissions, reducing costs, and improving the comfort of your employees.
We’re helping local businesses save $122K annually in energy costs.
Generating $700K for our local economy through energy saving projects.
Over 670 businesses have received energy assessments
“The ability to keep the temperature constant and work under non-flickering LED lights set to a warm temperature creates a comfortable daily environment for our staff. These upgrades dramatically lower our energy consumption and reduce costs.”
– Travis Chun, MGM Solutions