As a company that values taking care of the environment, we are thrilled to hear when local cities are committed to this as well. One of our host cities, Spokane, has recently taken significant steps in sustainable development. With multiple upcoming and completed projects, here are some of the city's latest updates!
For the past few years, the City of Spokane has planned to develop an area near downtown to be the "South Landing Eco-District." Avista's then-CEO Scott Morris championed this idea with the vision to create "the five smartest blocks in the world." Currently, this strategic development has begun with the Catalyst building. Completed in September of last year, this zero-energy building was designed, built, and funded by Avista Utilities, McKinstry, Katerra, and Michael Green Architecture. With five floors, the facility's primary tenant is Eastern Washington University. The university plans to host several departments in the space, including computer science, electrical engineering, and more.
Sustainable design of the catalyst building includes solar panels on the roof, a terrace garden, and LED motion-sensor lights. The building's location (situated east to west), numerous windows, and an advanced renewable energy system work together to regulate the facility's heating and cooling efficiently. In addition to the low energy use, the Catalyst is zero-carbon by incorporating locally sourced mass timber instead of steel and concrete. You can read more about the new Eco-District and Catalyst building at www.catalystspokane.com.
Although electric scooters and e-bikes have been around for a while, Lime's e-scooter ride-sharing program is relatively new. The electric scooters, stationed in various places around Spokane since 2018, allow commuters to rent the scooters to travel around the city simply by downloading the Lime app. Convenient and environmentally friendly, the scooters have been a huge hit for residents of all ages. In 2020, Lime acquired Jump e-bikes and said that in 2021 it plans to release an upgraded version of these bikes. As the current bikes' popularity increases, Spokane may receive up to 200 soon, with the new bikes coming later this year.
Sources say that Avista is planning on installing several electric vehicle charging stations around the city. The agreement between the utility company and the city has yet to be signed. Still, having received a grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce, Avista is anxious to make Spokane electric vehicle-friendly! Read more here.
Last year, the parks department completed the Mirror Pond restoration project in Manito Park. The project included implementing natural filters and conserving water through rainwater harvesting. The department is spending this spring and early summer improving the park's Nishinomiya Japanese Garden. The goal is to upgrade and replace the pond's pumps and filters to create a more efficient system that will conserve up to 18 million gallons of water per year! The koi will receive health checks before being returned to the pond after completion this July. You can learn more about the project here.
Were you one of the 17,000 Spokane residents that was a part of the Recycling Education study last summer? The Spokane County Regional Solid Waste System and Waste Management SMaRT Center partnered to help educate homeowners on recyclable material by leaving an "Oops" flyer on a recycling bin that contained any contaminants. The results, released in January, showed a 12% decrease in recycled pollutants at the end of the program! You can find more details on the steps of the study and the final report here.
There is no doubt that Spokane makes an effort to conserve resources and improve the environment. We are thrilled to be one of the many businesses that encourages sustainable living and helps people enjoy the nature around them!
If you are interested in an eco-friendly backyard resort of your own, check out some of our work!