Announcing the Tacoma Program Center Net-Zero Energy Project

The Mountaineers Carbon Footprint Reduction Committee is excited to announce the Tacoma Program Center Net-Zero Energy Project. Learn more about this project and how you can help reduce our organization’s impact on the environment.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
June 22, 2021
Announcing the Tacoma Program Center Net-Zero Energy Project

The Mountaineers made a commitment to reduce our organization’s carbon footprint as part of Vision 2022. Since 2018, we have made significant progress in reducing the carbon footprint of Mountaineers buildings, including installing a solar panel system at our Seattle Program Center and replacing over 500 lightbulbs in four buildings with LED retrofits. Now, The Mountaineers Carbon Footprint Reduction Committee is excited to announce the Tacoma Program Center Net-Zero Energy Project. 

Why are we taking on this ambitious goal? As Mountaineers, our quests to reach mountain peaks and island shorelines may be sparked by a love of the outdoors, but they come at an environmental cost. Although we practice Leave No Trace principles, we still drive long distances to trailheads, shop at outfitters for the latest gear, and utilize other resources that increase our carbon footprint.

We also rely on our local Tacoma Program Center as a home base. Even as individual members are interacting with The Mountaineers online during the pandemic, operations are ongoing at the TPC, and that means lighting, heating, and cooling the building, among other utilities. The Carbon Footprint Reduction Committee, tasked with exploring energy alternatives for our organization, spearheaded a three-phase Net-Zero Energy Project that will improve our Tacoma clubhouse and give members exciting ideas for their own homes and offices.



Funded by member donations and a possible development grant, the Tacoma Program Center Net-Zero Energy Project is already underway. Volunteers replaced conventional lighting with LEDs in early 2020, completing Phase 1 of the plan. As an added bonus, the Great Hall lighting was reconfigured to be more compatible with projector use. The indoor climbing wall now boasts a permanently-mounted LED floodlight. Phase 2 will remove the natural gas-powered furnaces and water heaters and replace them with energy efficient electric heat pumps. Phase 3, contingent on fundraising and a grant from Tacoma Public Utilities, will be the installation of a 28Kw solar PV system on the TPC roof, powering all of the Phase 2 upgrades. At the end of the three phases of the project, it is projected that the Tacoma Program Center will be a Net-Zero Energy building. 

200117_001.jpgmountaineers volunteers (left to right) Dan Ritter, Dave Shultz, Bruce Durham, and Tom Carroll retrofitting the tpc with led lights. photo courtesy of charlie michel. 

IMG_3936.JPGLED spotlight for the tpc climbing wall. photo by charlie michel.

Mountaineers members can support the Net-Zero Energy Project in several ways. To get started, Tacoma Public Utilities customers can sign up for the Utility’s Evergreen Options program, which enables members to invest in renewable energy to power their homes by adding a small contribution ($3 per month and up) to their utility bill. Once Mountaineers members join Evergreen Options, they gain the opportunity to vote on community grant proposals - including The Mountaineers Net-Zero Energy Project. To partially fund Phase 3, The Mountaineers is seeking one of the two Evergreen Options $50,000 grants.

If you are planning lots of trips this summer to earn that coveted Mount Rainier Lakes or Waterfall Chaser badge, you may be wondering how you might partially offset your travel. Members who donate $250 to $500 towards The Mountaineers TPC Net-Zero Energy Project will be honored with an engraved paver, displayed among previous donors’ pavers just outside our 30th Street location. Contribute towards this ambitious project to improve the TPC and help offset your adventures - it’s a win-win!


PXL_20210618_191840240.jpgengraved pavers at the tpc entryway - your name could be here! photo courtesy of Sarah Holt.