In pursuit of Washoe County’s Mission Statement, “Working together regionally to provide and sustain a safe, secure, and healthy community,” the County launched our Sustainability Program in 2022 with the commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to Net-Zero (removing as much as we produce) by 2050. These goals are highlighted in the County’s Fiscal Year 2024 Strategic Plan with Goal 2: Support a Thriving Community: NET ZERO: Plan interim steps to Net-Zero by 2050 in both County operations and community-wide. 

What is Sustainability?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency: “Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. To pursue sustainability is to create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations.” We measure our success by the “triple bottom line” – ensuring our work benefits people, our economy and the environment.  Sustainability also refers to the continuity and quality of County services and infrastructure, and the wise stewardship of taxpayer dollars in serving everyone in Washoe County. 

Greenhouse Gas Inventories and Climate Action

Greenhouse Gas Inventories and Climate Action

Burning fossil fuels to power our vehicles and heat our buildings makes air pollution worse in our communities, and it contributes to a warming global climate. Washoe County is working to improve outcomes for both. Since 2021, the County’s partner nZero has tracked the County’s energy use and emissions from more than 100 buildings and our fleet of more than 600 vehicles. The County’s Sustainability staff are working with nZero to plan interim steps to our net-zero goal. (Draft recommendations expected June 2024, link to come).

The County is also developing a Fleet Sustainability Plan to guide our transition to zero-emissions fleet operations (also due June 2024, link to come).

Visit nZero's Public Portal Now

Community Climate Action

Community Climate Action

Washoe County is building its first-ever Community Climate Action Plan, and we need your feedback. Click here to learn more. 

The County is working with local and regional jurisdictions, agencies, and community organizations to advance sustainability best practices across the following sectors:

  • Buildings
  • Transportation
  • Community Forests
  • Local Food/Community Gardens
  • Waste and Recycling
  • Air quality
  • Water availability and quality
  • Parks and Open Space


Too many people in Washoe County are over-burdened with high energy bills, dangerous streets and air pollution (and pollution-related chronic illnesses like asthma and other cardiovascular diseases). And too many lack sufficient access to locally grown healthy food, parks, clean air and the economic or political power to improve these challenges. Washoe County supports solutions to heal these inequalities in ways that improve the quality of life for everyone who lives in or visits Washoe County. Stay tuned for updates, or contact us here to share your thoughts and priorities.

Reduce Before We Produce

Reduce Before We Produce

When reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we strive to “reduce before we produce.” Solutions like improved insulation, energy efficient appliances, and efficient use of our space and resources are often more cost-effective and reduce emissions better than high-tech and expensive systems like solar panels, heat pumps and battery-storage systems. Although solar panels and heat pumps are important, they are most effective when your home is using energy efficiently. Weatherized buildings reduce energy use and long-term operations & maintenance costs, while improving comfort for everyone in them. 

Learn more about why weatherization may be the best first step you should take to enhance your home's energy efficiency.

Community Benefits of Our Sustainability Work

We measure the County’s progress towards sustainability with the following measurable outcomes:

  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Reduced energy costs, leaving more money in people’s pockets and stretching your tax dollars further to pay for other important programs.
  • Cleaner air, which in turn leads to healthier people; fewer cases of asthma, cardiovascular disease and other ailments lead to fewer missed school and work days, better graduation rates, better earning potential and longer life expectancy.
  • More jobs and a stronger economy. Federal, state and local investment in energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy creates jobs for people right here in our community.
  • Quality of Life. All of these outcomes lead to better living for everyone here in Washoe County.

Green Recovery Plan 

COVID-19 taught us the importance of helping our communities become more resilient in the face of future pandemics and other challenges, like wildfires, floods, urban heat, air pollution, food insecurity, and financial shocks. Washoe County’s Green Recovery Plan charts the course for future community resilience. 

 Stay up to date on Sustainability

This site was made possible in large part to the excellent work of the County's Sustainability Communications intern Bridget Jablonski. Thank you, Bridget!

Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »
Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »