Mayor declares 2016 “Energy Year” in the City of Bellingham

Celebration kicks off on Feb. 3 at City Hall

January 26, 2016 - by Vanessa Blackburn, City Communications Director

​In recognition of major initiatives to save energy, enhance renewable energy, and respond to the challenges of climate change, Mayor Kelli Linville and the City of Bellingham will declare 2016 as “Energy Year” in the City of Bellingham.

Mayor Linville will officially announce 2016 as the “Energy Year” at an event to be held from 3 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday February 3 at City Hall. The Bellingham Energy Prize, a culminating project between 9 community partners, will also kick off at the event. The project is a group effort that brings energy saving resources together to make it easy to access expert help and take simple steps to save energy.

2016 will be an important year in energy for the Bellingham community:

  • We’ll be working with community partners to go full-scale in promoting the Bellingham Energy Prize, our local effort to win the national 50-city Georgetown University Energy Prize competition.
  • We’ll be supporting a Green Power Challenge to retain and strengthen Bellingham’s role as a state and national leader in making the conversion to clean power sources.
  • We are supporting a Solarize Whatcom campaign to strengthen Bellingham’s position as the Washington City with the most solar installations per capita — and helping residents save energy.
  • Bellingham will release its revised Climate Action Plan in 2016 that will update energy and conservation measures and strengthen our resiliency for the future.

“As affirmed by the recent United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris, cities have a critical role in addressing the challenges of climate change, and Bellingham is committed to stepping up to the challenge,” said Mayor Kelli Linville. “Conservation and support of renewable energy is win-win-win for the city, its residents, and the climate. City residents contribute to the fight against climate change, reduce local energy costs, improve their homes, and create a more resilient local energy system.”

The City of Bellingham has been a national leader in energy and the environment since being named the EPA’s Number 1 Green Power Community in 2007 and has invested more than $15 million in energy efficiency upgrades.  The City recently completed its installation of 3,600 LED street lights, an investment that will annually save 2,204,210 kWh of electricity and 1,814,956 pounds of CO2.

These energy efforts bring together a wide range of partners including Puget Sound Energy, the Opportunity Council, Cascade Natural Gas, RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, the Bellingham School District, Western Washington University, Sustainable Connections, Sanitary Service Corp., The Northwest Clean Air Agency and the City of Bellingham to provide energy conservation education and deliver energy efficiency and renewable energy services to residents of the City.  With Energy Year 2016, we expect to further develop Bellingham’s position as a national leader in renewable energy and conservation.

The Bellingham Energy Prize

The City of Bellingham is currently ranked number 8 in a national competition to win the Georgetown University Energy Prize. Whichever community reduces their energy use most and sets a good example for others to follow will win a jackpot of $5 million.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our community, and if Bellingham wins, the winning funds will be used on local projects to help our community save in bigger ways that benefit all of us,” said Bellingham City Council President Pinky Vargas.

The Bellingham Energy Prize group has created a new website ( for individuals to obtain monthly updates showing actual energy savings, personalized advice and tips for homes, comparisons on how energy use stacks up against similar homes, special rebates and incentives available, guides and articles about saving energy and more. Participants can even join a group — and challenge others to see who can save the most energy!

“The best way to get started helping Bellingham win the national prize and $5 million is to go to for a one-stop-shop experience getting connected with a wide range of energy solutions from simple steps to expert help,” said Derek Long, Executive Director of Sustainable Connections.

Bellingham Energy Prize hopes residents will look for more ways to save by visiting and joining the growing number of community members who are doing their part to make Bellingham number 1.

Media Contact

​Mark Gardner
Senior Legislative Policy Analyst
Bellingham City Council
(360) 778-8204

Amy Vergillo
Communications Manager
Sustainable Connections
(360) 647-7093 x105

More City News >>

Subscribe to City News