quote from thurston climate action team overlaid on budd inlet photo
Tori Sloane
Washington city #4: Clean energy and climate progress by going all-electric

The Olympia City Council continues to lead the way as a trailblazer on clean energy and climate progress unanimously passing this resolution. The resolution addresses one of the fastest-growing sources of climate pollution: the pollution from our homes and buildings, mostly due to the use of fracked gas in furnaces, boilers, and water heaters. This is pollution that not only worsens climate change and stands in the way of meeting our city’s strong commitment to deep greenhouse gas emission reductions, but also worsens health problems like asthma, especially for children.

Transitioning away from the use of gas in all new buildings is a cost-effective and strategic place to start, ensuring that our newest homes and commercial buildings are powered by clean electricity.

You know what they say?  If you’re in trouble (think heat domes, wildfire smoke, floods, droughts) the worst thing you can do is to keep digging your hole deeper.  The more we continue to build out our gas infrastructure, the longer into the future we will use this fossil fuel. And that hole just keeps getting deeper and deeper.

The Olympia City Council laid out a plan to take this on:

  1. All new City buildings and those that receive more than $50,000 from the city will be all electric.  Work will be done to examine retrofitting all existing City building as well.
  2. The City will explore policy pathways by April 1, 2022, to electrify all new buildings in Olympia.
  3. The City will actively engage with other decision making bodies encouraging them to join in!

Myself and other Olympia residents are calling for action to electrify our buildings in Olympia and greater Thurston County.  Thank you to Thurston Climate Action Team, Climate Solutions and Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility for your tenacious work on this.

Olympia is not alone.

As momentum builds behind the nationwide building electrification movement, several more of these policies are in progress among local governments throughout Washington and Oregon. 

  • In November, Eugene became the first city in Oregon to support transitioning buildings to 100% clean electricity.
  • King County and Bellingham are both expected to follow the work of Seattle and Shoreline to transition to electric appliances for heating and hot water in new commercial developments and multifamily buildings that are four stories or taller. 
  • Other entities like the City of Tacoma and Seattle Public Schools have also made commitments to phasing out gas in buildings.

The Switch Is ON!  Make your voice heard.

Author Bio

Beth Doglio

Senior Fellow, Climate Solutions

Beth Doglio is a former State Representative, community organizer, climate justice leader, and mother of two.

Serving in the Legislature from 2017 - 2021, Beth was one of Washington’s foremost leaders on clean energy and climate, housing and issues facing working families. She helped lead the passage of groundbreaking legislation to empower workers through higher wages and improved protections; to make Washington a leader in the fight against climate change; and to provide more resources to address homelessness.

As Vice Chair of the Capital Budget committee, she helped secure millions in funding for infrastructure projects, land preservation and recreation, housing, and clean energy. She also served on Transportation, Energy and Environment, Labor and Workforce Standards and the Technology and Economic Development Committees.

She is currently serving as the Vice-Chair of Quixote Communities, a non-profit providing housing units with a focus on Veterans and is a current member and co-founder of Win With Women, dedicated to electing progressive women to the state legislature. She is the Board Chair of the PARC (Parks, Arts, Recreation and Culture) Foundation and a board member of her local YMCA.

After graduating from Indiana University with a degree in Political Science and Telecommunications, Beth moved to Washington state in 1987.

Beth’s environmental leadership in our state began three decades ago as the founding Executive Director of Washington Conservation Voters (WCV). Under Beth’s leadership, WCV became one of the state’s most prominent environmental organizations: developing 12 chapters, creating a robust voter education program, and playing a key role in shaping policy to protect Washington’s natural resources and environment.

Following her time at WCV, Beth worked in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, including at the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) and Audubon Washington, where she continued to fight for progressive, environmental, and community priorities.

Beth was a staff member at Climate Solutions from 2007-2020 working to pass federal, state and local climate policy and serving as the director of the Power Past Coal campaign. She currently serves as a consultant primarily on housing and climate issues. She enjoys backpacking, mountain biking, yoga, canoeing, and good food and laughter.