forested area point defiance park

Four focus areas of the Sustainability Plan

Sustainability is a complex goal. To track progress and evaluate performance, Metro Parks has identified four sustainable practice categories.

Engagement and Education

Employee engagement

  • Ensure that sustainability is a part of all new-hire training and that every current employee gets at least one annual training on the subject.
  • Increase the number of employees who say they are very familiar with the term sustainability from 74 percent to at least 90 percent by summer of 2018.
  • Increase the number of staff members who are familiar with MPT sustainability efforts. Increase the percentage of employees who said they were somewhat or very familiar with the Stewardship and Sustainability Policy from 61 percent to at least 90 percent who are familiar with this plan by summer 2018.
  • Increase the percentage of employees who say they take sustainability into consideration during their daily work from 88 percent to 95 percent by summer 2018.
  • Increase employees’ understanding of MPT’s environmental commitment. Currently, 70 percent say the commitment is clear. At the same time, 50 percent clearly understand the employee role in reaching sustainability goals. The goal is to reach at least 90 percent clear understanding of both the agency’s commitment and employee goals by summer 2018.
  • Reduce money spent on printer and copier paper and increase the percent of office products purchased with recycled content. Eliminate 75 percent of the desktop printers.


  • Provide monthly public updates and thorough annual reports about MPT sustainability efforts.
  • Showcase internal MPT measures on a sustainability webpage that links our targets to what the public can do to be more sustainable.
  • Be considered the most sustainable governmental organization in Pierce County by providing more environmentally oriented programs to educate and motivate the public.
  • Make sure all applicable events are certified for Green Excellence by the City of Tacoma’s Green events program1. Create MPT guidelines for smaller events. Improve sustainability education and opportunities for those who rent MPT facilities and parks.

Parks and Outdoor Areas

  • Metro Parks has a water use reduction goal of 3% annually, totaling 9% by the end of 2018. However, we used best management practices, reduced irrigation, boosted monitoring, installed Calsense irrigation systems, converted turf and planted drought-resistant vegetation and in 2016, water usage dropped by 9.5%, exceeding the target.
  • Position Metro Parks Tacoma as a leader in low-impact development in Tacoma through the use of green infrastructure at our facilities.
  • Limit irrigation and application of chemicals to the minimum possible while meeting maintenance and aesthetic standards.
  • Increase the number of pesticide-free parks from four in 2015 to eight in 2018.
  • Restore 30 acres of natural habitat, to protect wildlife and biodiversity, by the end of 2018.
  • Increase recycling opportunities for park visitors where appropriate. Continue to pilot recycling projects outdoors to determine whether recycling is a feasible option with limited contamination.
  • Also, continue to measure the impact of using solar- powered, compacting garbage bins to reduce trips, and determine if their use is warranted in more parks.
  • Continue to add at least 30 trees annually to the District’s urban forest inventory.

Facilities and Buildings

  • Reduce electricity consumption by 3 percent by December 2018 to 17.66 kilowatt hours (kWh) per square foot.
  • Reduce natural gas consumption by 5 percent by December 2018 to .646 therms per square foot.
  • Reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfi ll by cutting back on disposable items, such as paper, and recycling whenever possible. In 2016, establish a baseline and targets for waste reduction.
  • Ensure that recycling is always an option near every opportunity to throw away waste at MPT buildings and attractions, for both MPT visitors and employees.
  • Ensure that all new construction projects make sustainability a priority. All new buildings will be built to Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standard or its equivalent. (LEED has four levels of certifi cation; certifi cation, Silver, Gold and Platinum.)
  • Gather national benchmark information for every MPT building or facility by entering all utility information into the Environmental Protection Agency’s Portfolio Manager tool by the end of 2016.
  • Ensure all new buildings incorporate the MetaSys3 building management system, and consider expanding into existing buildings.

Transportation and Fuels

  • Increase percentage of hybrid and electric vehicles in the fl eet from 11 percent in 2015. Also boost the average fuel efficiency of fleet, from 19.2 mpg, also in 2015.
  • Reduce the number of miles reimbursed to employees while increasing the number of trips in pool vehicles. Reduce unnecessary driving whenever possible.
  • Reduce carbon footprint from employee commuting by encouraging employees to take alternative methods of transportation to work.
  • Decrease the percentage of MPT staff members who commute alone from 79 percent to 75 percent.
  • Increase the percentage that regularly or often choose an alternative option from 50 percent to 60 percent.
  • Increase the number of trips recorded into the Pierce Trips commute-trip reduction program from 2,286 to 2,500. Increase the number of employees who record trips from 42 to 60.