Sustainable M.I.
Act Locally


What we're working on

Solarize Mercer Island Campaign

Project Champions

Kim Rice, MD,; Ross Freeman, Sustainability Manager for the City of Mercer Island,

Project Summary

Due to popular demand, the City of Mercer Island has launched its second Solarize Mercer Island campaign in four years. Solarize is an innovative group purchase program that helps residents and businesses tap into more affordable solar energy. Building on the success of the previous solar campaign in 2014, which led to almost 50 new installations, the City is partnering with the citizens' group Sustainable Mercer Island and the local non-profit Spark Northwest to work with a community-selected, qualified solar installer.

For residents who have been contemplating rooftop solar, or for those who missed out last time, now is the time to act:
• Solar is more cost-effective than ever before
• Receive a time-limited, group purchasing discount
• 30% federal tax credits are still in place, but begin to step down in 18 months
• Generous WA state incentives are expiring soon!

To learn more

The first step is to attend a free workshop to learn more and qualify for a free site assessment of your roof's potential. Workshop dates are as follows:
• Tues, June 26 -- 6:30-8:00pm
• Weds, July 18 -- 6:30-8:00pm
• Sat, Sept 15 -- 10:00-11:30am
• Tues, Oct 9 -- 6:00-7:30pm
In January 2018, the City of Mercer Island received national SolSmart Gold designation for meeting stringent and objective criteria targeting removal of obstacles to solar development and indicating that it is “open for solar business.” Gold status in particular indicates a lack of procedural obstacles such as long permitting waiting times or burdensome zoning regulations.
Mercer Island has a greenhouse gas (GHG) target of 80% reduction by 2050, and renewable energy is an important part of the suite of community actions that can help reach that goal. Most standard residential solar installations do not need a building permit, just a simple electrical permit which takes a few minutes to receive in person at City Hall.

register for a workshop

To register, go to

Educating for Sustainability in Our Schools

Project Champions

Peter Donaldson, Sustainability Ambassadors, Director; Yve Sharples, Sustainability Ambassadors, MIHS Class of 2019

Project Summary

The goal of this project is to develop a multi-year campaign to support the Mercer Island School District in educating for sustainability using the STAR Community Rating System as a dynamic living textbook for meeting academic standards in context of measurable improvements in sustainable community conditions. The K-12 public education system produces graduates who understand the interdependent nature of ecological systems, economic systems, and social equity and have the knowledge, skills and dispositions to advance a sustainable future.    


I understand sustainable systems in context of how well my community is performing on one or more of the STAR Community Rating System objectives.  


I can apply systems thinking and 21st Century skills to understand and work to improve STAR outcomes and actions in my community. (21st Century skills: critical thinking, creative problem solving, collaboration, communication)


I share my views, learn from others and take informed action on important issues within an ethic of stewardship and fairness.

Click here to download a pdf describing the project in more detail.

Reduce and Reuse Material Waste in Our Community Project

Project Champion

Erica Tripard

Project Summary

The goal of this waste minimization effort is to reduce our landfill tonnage by 100% by the year 2050. This carries a Star Community allocation of 6.5 points. Mercer Island already exceeds the Star Community goal of 40% overall diversion of solid waste, an allocation of 4 points.

The cost of landfill will, no doubt, increase in the coming years, with MSW (municipal solid waste) expected to double by 2025. While most of this increase is coming from developing countries, those same countries will be less likely to accept external waste, or charge a premium for it. Beijing notified the World Trade Organization earlier this year that China will soon ban the import of 24 kinds of waste, including many kinds of consumer plastic and unsorted paper. China also mandated the contamination level of recycling products allowed in be less than .3 percent, meaning no leftover tomato sauce or dirty food containers.

As of 2016, the vast majority (82%) of waste is derived from the single-family residents of Mercer Island. While commercial and multi-family sources of waste have the least diversion of MSW overall, our residential customers still contribute 68% of the total non-recycled garbage. 

Click here to download a pdf describing the project in more detail.

100% Clean Energy Mercer Island


Kim Rice, MD, and Maggie Tai Tucker


Mercer Island, Mayor Bruce Bassett, Sustainability Manager Ross Freeman, and our City Council are leading the rest of King County and Washington state to a 100% renewable energy economy. A brief overview:

  • 2011: Mercer Island joins 11 other cities to form King County Cities Climate Collaboration (K4C) to speed transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

  • 2013: EPA names Mercer Island "Green Power Community of the Year" for its commitment to local solar power generation from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

  • 2017 (May): Mercer Island announces it will buy 20 years of clean wind power to replace its municipal fossil fuel usage.

Now, Mercer Island residents are ready to support our community leaders in taking the next steps into Mercer Island's 100% Clean Energy Future. We are proposing that:

  • Mercer Island call on its utility, Puget Sound Energy (PSE), to transition off fossil fuels on an expedited timeline; and

  • All Mercer Island operations (not just municipal) be powered by 100% renewable electricity by 2035.

On November 29, 2017, the 100% Clean Energy-MI subcommittee joined together to discuss this proposal, how it would actually work (e.g., what kinds of things we can do to get residences and businesses onto renewable energy), and how we can build support for this important campaign.

Click here to get connected with our campaign.