One of Mercer Island’s largest electricity and natural gas consumers is going green and joining thousands of Puget Sound Energy customers in reducing its carbon footprint.
Mercer Island Country Club, which is a swimming, fitness and tennis facility with 841 member families, has enrolled in the utility’s Green Power and Carbon Balance programs to lessen the club’s overall environmental impact.
The club’s emissions from electricity and gas average about 700 tons per year, or the equivalent of 50 average-sized homes on Mercer Island. Participation in the two PES programs will allow the club to offset almost all of its emissions related to electricity and gas. By purchasing green energy, the MICC’s emissions from electricity consumption will drop to near zero. Similarly, emissions from the use of gas will be offset by the purchase of the carbon footprint.
The campaign to enroll the MICC in PES programs began in early 2021, when club member Yogi Agrawal pitched the idea to the club’s board chairman and recruited other club members to champion the cause. . Agrawal determined that the programs were one of the fastest ways for the club to mitigate its environmental impact, and he helped enroll the club in coordination with PSE.
This is not the only step the club has taken to go green, according to Alex Banbury, chairman of the sustainability committee set up by the board in June 2021.
“Prior to signing up for PES programs, the board and committee prioritized sustainability changes at the MICC to directly reduce the club’s environmental impact,” Banbury said.
Over the past few months, General Manager Dorrinda Pierce, staff and the Board have made changes to club operations that should save energy and money. First, committee members Alex Banbury, Yogi Agrawal, Jonathan Harrington and Kathy Bremner analyzed the club’s electricity and gas bills over the past five years, keeping in mind the effects of the pandemic. on the use of the club.
The committee’s efforts have so far resulted in the club turning down the thermostats at night when the club is closed and installing LED lighting in the parking lot. Some elements already implemented are free or low-cost, such as encouraging online billing and more efficient composting of food waste.
According to Mike Gage, Chairman of the 2021 Board of Directors, signing on to both PES programs is the biggest greening step to date for the MICC. He noted that the club is far from alone.
More than 66,000 PSE residential and business customers currently participate in the 20-year-old Green Power program. The Carbon Balance program began in 2011 and has 24,000 participating customers. PSE has approximately 1.1 million electric customers and more than 900,000 gas customers in 10 Washington counties, according to Leslie Myers, PSE product manager for voluntary renewables.
“We look forward to continuing to find ways our club can help preserve our planet,” said Pierce. “We hope other facilities like the MICC will join us.”
For more information, please contact Dorrinda Pierce at 206-232-5600 or Kathy Bremner at 206-236-2326.