Overview

The Port of Olympia is committed to sustainably managing the natural resources we care for and impact. We appreciate that sustainability is a core value of the community within which we operate and take our responsibility to be good stewards of natural resources seriously. From seeking third-party sustainability certifications to investing in on-site renewable energy systems, the Port invests in sustainable development as we believe sustainability ought to be the new normal in business and are willing to lead by example.

It is the Port of Olympia’s aim to be recognized as an international leader in sustainability for mid-sized Port operations. We are actively working to define measurable goals that we can work toward to help us reach this goal.

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Green Marine

The Port of Olympia has joined the Green Marine environmental certification program, making it one of the first 40 Port Authorities to do so globally, and following the Ports of Seattle, Seaport Alliance and Longview, only the fourth regional Port.

Green Marine is a voluntary third party certification program that requires participating port authorities to establish baseline performance indicators in multiple facets of Marine Terminal operations, and then demonstrate tangible year-over-year improvements to maintain certification. The certification system evaluates six distinct operational areas, including:
  • Spill Prevention
  • Dry Bulk Handling and Storage
  • Community Impacts
  • Environmental Leadership
  • Waste Management
  • Greenhouse Gases

Clean Marina

Swantown Marina, Washington’s 7th largest marina, is a certified Clean Marina and has received a Leadership Award for its environmental practices. Its facilities protect both water and habitat. 

The Clean Marina program is funded by a Department of Ecology grant. You can learn more about the Clean Marina program by visiting their website.

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Clean Boating

Swantown Boatworks is a certified Clean Boatyard. The Clean Boating Foundation has a mission to create cleaner waters in Washington State. Incorporating boaters, boatyards, environmental groups, the Washington state Department of Ecology, and scientific experts. The Foundation is a voluntary, market-driven effort to improve Puget Sound and the rest of our waters. The Clean Boating Foundation works with Washington boatyards to go above and beyond their legal requirements and showcase those businesses that act as true stewards of the environment.

Marine Terminal Warehouse Solar Panels

The Port of Olympia recognizes that utilization of renewable energy will not only decrease our carbon footprint, it will also reduce our bottom line. Investing in renewable energy where and when it makes sense is a priority for the Port. To date, we have installed on-site renewable energy on several of our properties.

Solar Street Lighting at Cleanwater Centre

The Cleanwater redevelopment in Tumwater has implemented several sustainable features into the refurbished parking lot on site. All 22 of the parking lot lights run 100% on solar power; they are completely off-grid.  Each light has it’s own solar panel, sensors, controller and batteries. Light is provided by 5 LEDs. The panels and batteries are sized to provide enough power for 5 nights of operation. The lights come on full power at dusk for 7 hours, then dim to 50%, then go back to 100% light output for 2 hours before dawn. The maintenance free sealed batteries are recyclable and have an average life of 5 years. 

Solar Street Lighting at Cleanwater Centre

The Port of Olympia added 48 solar panels to the roof of its 76,000 sq. ft. Marine Terminal warehouse in 2011. This is a private investment rather than a community solar project, and uses components locally manufactured in Marysville, Washington. June 2013 marked the end of Puget Sound Energy’s fiscal year and the results of the Port’s energy investment are positive!

The solar power system generated a total return of $5,581 for the Port since July 2012. The Port more than met the design goal of maximizing Puget Sound Energy’s energy harvesting incentive of $5,000.  In addition, the panels generated 9,687 KWh of electricity, reducing the Port’s energy costs by $581. Combined, the earnings provide a 5.5% return on the Port’s investment.
 
When the Port planned to replace the roof of the then 25 year-old warehouse in 2010, alternatives that would decrease operating costs and increase environmental benefits were a high priority. Energy efficient lighting had already been installed. The Port selected the PVC roof and the stainless steel gutters to reduce the impact on stormwater run-off to Budd Inlet.

The Port selected solar panels with a goal of making the warehouse close to energy neutral. The southern face of the warehouse roof is nearly perfectly aligned with the sun for solar installations. The number of panels (48) provides the best return on the investment.

A testament to the significance of the renovated, solar-powered warehouse to the community was its selection by Northwest Eco Building Guild for the 2011 South Sound Solar Tour.

Light & Noise Pollution

Light Pollution Reduction

Marine Terminal Lighting

In 2009 the Port of Olympia marine terminal completed two lighting projects, both of which included a large emphasis on energy efficiency and glare reduction.

Cargo Yard

Nine 80′ tall cargo yard light towers were installed to allow for night time use of the terminal. Energy efficient metal halide lamps were installed rather than the more common high pressure sodium lamps. Each lamp was fitted with a glare shield and carefully aimed so as to light only the designated area with little or no reflected light. These are typically used during the winter months when the daylight hours are less than a full workday. They are equipped with a photo-sensor to ensure that they are off during the day when not needed.

Warehouse

Energy efficient T-8 fluorescent fixtures were added to the warehouse to replace the incandescent lamps previously installed. These lamps are on a zoned motion detector system so that only the areas with activity will remain lit. Along with a new roof, the Port has added solar panels to the south end of the warehouse to help offset the marine terminal energy bill. The goal of this is to maximize the energy harvesting incentives offered through Puget Sound Energy.

Noise Pollution Reduction

White Sound Backup Alarms

In 2009-2010, Port of Olympia became the first West Coast port to convert from back-up beepers on Marine Terminal equipment to Brigade “white sound” reverse alarms. These state-of-the-art alarms protect workers without disturbing neighbors.

All of our Marine Terminal tenants have converted to the new alarms and the Port will require future tenants to have the new “white sound” reverse alarms, as well.

The new alarms have a static electronic sound that alerts workers in the immediate area, but does not travel at the same distance and intensity as the traditional back-up beepers. This new technology is in full compliance with Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) standards.

Aircraft Noise Abatement

View information about the Noise Abatement Procedures for aircraft using the Olympia Regional Airport and the Swantown Marina float plane docks.

Climate Change

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Assessment

As part of its continuing focus on sustainability, the Port of Olympia has completed its 2017 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions report. The report is an inventory of emissions generated by Port activities at its downtown, Lacey and airport facilities. The inventory, compiled per the Washington State Department of Ecology protocol, shows the Port has reduced its Scope 1 and Scope 2 CO2e emissions since 2015, maintaining a relatively small carbon footprint. 

As of 2017, Port activities were estimated to generate approximately 583 metric tons of Scope 1 carbon dioxide (MT CO2e) per year, an amount equivalent to approximately 23 American families. Under the State Agencies Climate Leadership Act, Washington State only requires annual monitoring and reporting for entities generating in excess of 10,000 MT CO2e per year.  While our carbon footprint is relatively small, we are still compelled to identify opportunities for reduction.

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Sea Level Rise

Current trends in sea rise and weather patterns are concerning. The risk of widespread flooding in Downtown Olympia increases as sea levels rise and weather systems become increasingly volatile. The magnitude and timing of sea level rise is uncertain, but the risk is clear. Downtown Olympia, including the Port of Olympia peninsula, are vulnerable to flooding. Sea level rise will increase the likelihood of flooding. Without action, maintaining downtown public and private services will be challenging.

The Port of Olympia, City of Olympia and LOTT Clean Water Alliance are collaborating to develop a response plan for protecting the downtown area.

Planning Approach

  • Determine SLR scenarios based on best available science
  • Define SLR Plan purpose, goals and building principles

Comprehensive Understanding:

  • Financial 
  • Social 
  • Environmental

In Terms of:

  • Degree of damage
  • Duration of disruption
  • Economic costs

Constructed Projects:

  • Location 
  • Cost
  • Timeline

Governance:

  • Responsibilities
  • LT Management
  • Adaption

 

Effective and regular public involvement in the planning process is essential. To stay informed on upcoming public meetings related to Sea Level Rise, please sign up for updates on the City of Olympia’s website. You can email questions to searise@ci.olympia.wa.us.  All documents related to this effort will be uploaded to the City of Olympia’s Sea Level Rise website which will reflect the on-going work of this multi-agency team.