Green Neighbors Program

The Clark County Green Neighbors Program was developed and is maintained by Clark County Solid Waste and Environmental Outreach to assist citizens with developing more sustainable lifestyles and building a strong environmental community in Clark County. Solid waste regional planning and programs are a cooperative effort of Battle Ground, Camas, Clark County, La Center, Ridgefield, Vancouver, Washougal, and Yacolt. Funding for this project provided by a grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology.

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Contact Details

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Rain garden

  • Interactive House

    Welcome to our Green House! There are a lot of small actions you can take around your home that will make a big difference. Clicking on the plus icons will reveal simple suggestions for a greener lifestyle. Make sure to navigate to all the rooms of the house!

    Solar Panel

    Despite the Northwest’s gray and drizzly weather, homeowners still may find rewards from investing in a solar energy collection system. The best return comes from solar-heated water for indoor use or an outdoor swimming pool.

    Water heating accounts for about 15 to 25 percent of home energy costs—about $450 per year for a family of four. Using solar can help reduce those costs, say experts at Clark Public Utilities. When choosing a system, make sure the design is “climate specific,” said Bob West, an energy counselor at the utility.

    For more information, contact Clark Public Utilities Energy Conservation Counselors at 360-992-3355.

    Heat Pump

    Consider a heat pump, which can save up to 50% on home heating bills. With a process similar to refrigeration, the heat pump picks up heat from the air and either puts it inside the home or outside, depending on the season.

    Consider also a ductless heat pump, which is available to homeowners who heat their home with cable ceiling heat, baseboard or wall heaters. Check out Clark PUD’s website for more information. Clark Public Utilities also offers a great Heating Comparison Calculator.

    Car

    Washing your car or changing its oil in your driveway will leave harmful chemicals in the path of the storm drains. These chemicals don’t just “go away”—they instead wash into your storm drains, entering the local waterways and harming the flora and fauna. Choose eco-friendly soaps and oil cleaners to get the job done, or go to a professional carwash or auto shop where they have all the means to dispose of your auto’s essentials.

    Permeable Driveway and Sidewalk

    Let water seep in instead of running awry! Your hard surfaces outside can be replaced with permeable materials, allowing rain water to seep in to your soil. It’s a great way to control your runoff’s pollutants and contribute to your local ecosystem.

    Garbage and Recycling Bins

    Don’t let it go to waste. In Clark County, the amount of waste landfilled per person per day in 2008 was 3.29 pounds. We sent a total of 254,468 tons of recyclable garbage to the landfill that year, avoiding many of the benefits of recycling and waste reduction.

    Recycling is important because, when compared with the production of new materials, it saves a lot of energy and resources. Clark County did recycle 96,646 tons in 2008, but it can do much more than recycle. Remember the Four R’s of the Waste Heirarchy: refuse, reduce, reuse, and recycle. Start by refusing any unnecessary products in your life, then work your way down. Only use the trash when absolutely necessary.

    Landscaping with Native Plants

    Consider using more native plants in your landscape. They are adapted to our NW climate, are more disease-resistant, often provide food for wildlife, attract native insects and require less water.

    Rain Garden

    As rain pours off our lawns and onto impervious surfaces, it carries pollutants such as fertilizer, oil, pesticides, and pet waste to our local waterways. Runoff directed toward rain gardens helps to keep these pollutants from leaving our yards. Not to mention, the rain gardens also boast beautiful and beneficial plants to our properties.

    Rain Barrel

    All that water that comes off your roof—it could be yours! Make a rain barrel not only to reduce storm water runoff, but also to collect clean water for gardening or landscaping. Making one is very easy. You can make one on your own or attend one of the many rain barrel workshops around Clark County to get a feel for others’ barrels.

    • Solar Panel

      Despite the Northwest’s gray and drizzly weather, homeowners still may find rewards from investing in a solar energy collection system. The best return comes from solar-heated water for indoor use or an outdoor swimming pool.

      Water heating accounts for about 15 to 25 percent of home energy costs—about $450 per year for a family of four. Using solar can help reduce those costs, say experts at Clark Public Utilities. When choosing a system, make sure the design is “climate specific,” said Bob West, an energy counselor at the utility.

      For more information, contact Clark Public Utilities Energy Conservation Counselors at 360-992-3355.

    • Heat Pump

      Consider a heat pump, which can save up to 50% on home heating bills. With a process similar to refrigeration, the heat pump picks up heat from the air and either puts it inside the home or outside, depending on the season.

      Consider also a ductless heat pump, which is available to homeowners who heat their home with cable ceiling heat, baseboard or wall heaters. Check out Clark PUD’s website for more information. Clark Public Utilities also offers a great Heating Comparison Calculator.

    • Car

      Washing your car or changing its oil in your driveway will leave harmful chemicals in the path of the storm drains. These chemicals don’t just “go away”—they instead wash into your storm drains, entering the local waterways and harming the flora and fauna. Choose eco-friendly soaps and oil cleaners to get the job done, or go to a professional carwash or auto shop where they have all the means to dispose of your auto’s essentials.

    • Permeable Driveway and Sidewalk

      Let water seep in instead of running awry! Your hard surfaces outside can be replaced with permeable materials, allowing rain water to seep in to your soil. It’s a great way to control your runoff’s pollutants and contribute to your local ecosystem.

    • Garbage and Recycling Bins

      Don’t let it go to waste. In Clark County, the amount of waste landfilled per person per day in 2008 was 3.29 pounds. We sent a total of 254,468 tons of recyclable garbage to the landfill that year, avoiding many of the benefits of recycling and waste reduction.

      Recycling is important because, when compared with the production of new materials, it saves a lot of energy and resources. Clark County did recycle 96,646 tons in 2008, but it can do much more than recycle. Remember the Four R’s of the Waste Heirarchy: refuse, reduce, reuse, and recycle. Start by refusing any unnecessary products in your life, then work your way down. Only use the trash when absolutely necessary.

    • Landscaping with Native Plants

      Consider using more native plants in your landscape. They are adapted to our NW climate, are more disease-resistant, often provide food for wildlife, attract native insects and require less water.

    • Rain Garden

      As rain pours off our lawns and onto impervious surfaces, it carries pollutants such as fertilizer, oil, pesticides, and pet waste to our local waterways. Runoff directed toward rain gardens helps to keep these pollutants from leaving our yards. Not to mention, the rain gardens also boast beautiful and beneficial plants to our properties.

    • Rain Barrel

      All that water that comes off your roof—it could be yours! Make a rain barrel not only to reduce storm water runoff, but also to collect clean water for gardening or landscaping. Making one is very easy. You can make one on your own or attend one of the many rain barrel workshops around Clark County to get a feel for others’ barrels.

    • Rainwater

       

      Rain that falls in our community either soaks into the ground or runs off a hard surface to be collected in a feature, such as a drain or stormwater facility. Collected runoff may evaporate back into the air, but most of it continues its journey to our local creeks, streams and rivers. As rainwater runs across surfaces, it can pick up dirt, oil, grease, trash and other contaminants.

      Clark County has regulations in place that help engineers, planners, and builders collect rainwater and treat it to remove contaminants and allow the water to soak back into the ground. Many of these features are called Low Impact Development (LID). LID features include rain gardens, bioretention, green roofs, pervious pavement and design layouts that protect natural areas and vegetation.

      Learn more about LID in our community

    • Water use & management

      Water, Water Everywhere

      More than 70% of the earth’s surface is covered by water but only 3% is considered fresh water. And of the available fresh water on the earth’s surface, only 3/10 of 1% is readily available for consumption. Because water is not something that we can produce, it is important to protect the quantity and quality of our existing supply. How we manage water in our yards is important to the future for our health, our children, and the planet.

      Read more

      nbb conserving water article

      Ways to conserve water:

      Reduce Traditional Lawn

      If you must have lawn, choose a drought tolerant type such as Rhizomatous Tall Fescue (RTF) or Rough & Ready or Fleur de Lawn (see all of ProTime’s eco lawns) to name just a few. Read more about lawn alternatives and lawn care in our Information Archive.

      Plant Trees & Shrubs

      Both trees and shrubs require significantly less water than do perennials and turf grass.

      Use Rain Garden Plants

      If you want to really conserve, choose rain garden plants. These can be trees, shrubs or perennials. Because they are riparian plants, they thrive in rain gardens.They well-tolerate periods of both excessive wetness and also excessive dryness. Check out the Rain Garden section of the Water Use & Management Information Archive for plant lists that are included in the how-to documents.

      Ways to manage stormwater run-off:

      Install Rain Gardens

      They are a really great way of keeping stormwater run-off on your property so it can be absorbed into the soil there. Benefit one is that it waters your plants. Benefit two is that is keeps the stormwater out of the storm system where it quite often results in erosion and pollution of waterways.

      Plant Densely

      In most forests there is very little erosion because the forest is covered almost completely with plants. The roots of all those plants pierce the soil and provide holes for rainwater to flow into to be absorbed by the soil. The rain water can either be held by the soil, or used by plants immediately, or it can continue flowing through the soil into an underground stream or aquifer. One way or another, the flow is slowed, and this gives the ecosystem a chance to use the water rather than the water running off into the streams or sewer systems.

      Use Terracing

      This is a method of slowing down the flow of water on a slope. The angle slope is transformed into a sort of stair steps; flat then drop then flat then drop. Terracing is a good choice when the slope is too steep for plants to grow on it.