Cascade Natural Gas is proud to provide customers across the state of Washington with safe, reliable, competitively priced, and environmentally responsible energy service.
The direct use of natural gas in homes and buildings is the most efficient use of this valuable energy source. We believe that energy efficiency, paired with the increased integration of renewable natural gas (RNG) in the pipeline, and continued innovation in the natural gas sector, is the best pathway forward for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
As part of our efforts to mitigate GHG impacts, and serve as a good steward of our environment, Cascade provides a robust portfolio of energy efficiency incentives to core residential and commercial natural gas customers.
Cascade is revenue decoupled, meaning our profits are separated from how much natural gas is used by customers. This means we aggressively pursue energy efficiency on behalf of our customers.
An example of how Cascade partners with our community to lower costs, achieve energy efficiency, and lower GHG impacts can be viewed in this case study video featuring Ostrom Mushroom Farms:
We believe there is a strong role for Cascade to play as part of a decarbonized future. Natural gas helps balance the grid and makes room for intermittent energy sources like wind and solar. Just as wind and solar have become more affordable over time, so too will renewable natural gas and hydrogen.
Additional information about the role of natural gas as part of a decarbonized future can be found in the FAQ below.
What is natural gas?
Much of the natural gas we find and use today began as microscopic plants and animals millions of years ago. However, renewable natural gas (RNG) can also be produced by capturing methane in biogas produced by dairies, landfills, wastewater treatment plants, and other organic waste management operations that would otherwise go into the atmosphere. The biogas is converted to biomethane, a usable pipeline gas known as RNG that is used in place of traditional natural gas.
What role does Cascade play in providing natural gas to customers in Washington?
Where is Cascade’s natural gas sourced?
Is natural gas safe?
Cascade uses the latest technology, security, and industry practices to monitor pipelines, and maintain service and safety. We execute many programs to ensure your safety: 24/7 design and construction monitoring; integrity management; inspection and patrol; public safety outreach; and communication/training with emergency officials.
We are also proud partners with 811 Call Before You Dig.
More information on our Safety Efforts can be found on our website.
While natural gas is safe for use in homes and buildings, health and safety risks can be mitigated through proper maintenance and operation of gas-fired appliances. Cascade recommends installing carbon monoxide detectors in buildings with gas equipment, and an exhaust for all electric and natural gas ranges, cooktops and ovens to eliminate the normal byproducts of cooking such as steam, smoke, grease and heat. Additional safety tips associated with the use of natural gas in homes and buildings can be found here.
What is the role of natural gas as part of a sustainable energy future?
As more renewable energy is placed onto the system, the direct use of natural gas provides reliable space and water heat, cooking, and other end-uses, taking pressure off the electric grid to provide energy for these essential needs. Natural gas also serves as an important back-up fuel in the event of a no-power situation.
Finally, certain electric technologies, like air-source heat pumps, have reduced capacity to operate effectively in cold climates and under cold weather conditions. Gas/electric hybrid systems can operate a heat pump when it is most efficient to do so, and uses natural gas backup heating when the weather gets too cold for the electric heat pump to operate efficiently. Natural gas heat pump technology is also evolving to meet the need for highly efficient cold climate heating and cooling. Cascade is proud to serve on the board of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) which is making progress in the market-development of this technology in our region.
What roles does gas pipeline infrastructure play in a decarbonized economy?
What role does natural gas play in Washington’s economy?
Natural gas provides skilled careers for pipefitters, and chemical workers, as well as HVAC and water heating contractors. It is also essential to the manufacturing of a wide variety of health, domestic infrastructure, and energy efficiency products— including pharmaceuticals, plastics, steel, and synthetic fabrics.
In Cascade’s service area, Washington farmers rely on fertilizers made with natural gas. They also depend on natural gas for its affordability and reliability for heating even during a power outage.
Natural gas is a cornerstone of our state and national economy. Without natural gas, many products would not be produced, or would become more expensive, fewer jobs would be available, and Washingtonians would experience increases to the cost of many goods and services.
I heard there was a recent ban on natural gas in Washington. Is this true, and can I still include natural gas as part of my home/building/new development project?
In Cascade’s service area, the City of Bellingham passed an ordinance prohibiting the use of natural gas space and water heating in new commercial construction and 4-story and higher multifamily buildings effective August 7, 2022.
Certain exemptions will be allowed for temporary growing structures; commercial processes; small gas appliances providing less than 5% of total building HVAC heating capacity; emergency generators; and fossil fuel heating for specific conditions approved by the code official for research, health care, processing or other specific needs that cannot practicably be served by heat pump or other space heating systems.
In addition to the local natural gas ban, state residential energy code has become more stringent regarding energy efficiency requirements associated with the construction of new natural gas homes. However, natural gas is still allowed for all uses within new residential construction.
Are there other efforts taking place in Washington to ban or otherwise restrict the use of natural gas?
Are there any alternatives to electrification as a means of lowering GHG emissions?
Cascade is a founding partner of the EPA’s Natural Gas Star Methane Challenge Program which supports comprehensive actions to reduce methane emissions. We’ve engaged with this initiative since March 2016.
We are also adding a new business area dedicated to sustainability and carbon compliance to help with GHG emissions reduction and have recently expanded staff in support of integrating renewable natural gas into our energy mix.
More about the company’s Environmental Priorities can be found on our website.
Are there any Washington decarbonization policies that Cascade supports?
The Clean Buildings Act codified natural gas energy efficiency (EE) targets and mandates biennial conservation planning (BCP). The law also allows natural gas utilities to operate new pilot energy efficiency efforts, make purchases of renewable natural gas, and mandates opt-in carbon offset programs, which Cascade will soon be implementing for our customers.
The Washington Climate Commitment Act puts a cap-and-trade program into effect in January 2023. Cap and trade programs set limits on GHG emissions allowed by regulated entities and reduces allowed emissions over time, setting a declining trajectory for decarbonization to be achieved. The Washington Department of Ecology is in the process of implementing this new law through rulemaking, which Cascade is fully engaged in shaping along with the other Washington-based natural gas utilities.
Does Cascade have programs to help me lower my GHG footprint and maximize my energy efficiency?
Since 2008, our energy efficiency and conservation programs have resulted in incremental reductions of about 4,000 to 5,000 metric tons of CO2 each year. That’s the equivalent of between 10,000 and 12,500 miles driven by an average passenger vehicle, or the equivalent of 602 homes’ energy use for one year.
More information on our energy efficiency programs can be found on our website.
How is Cascade able to encourage customers to use less of its product?
Does Cascade provide funding for local community sustainability and environmental education projects?
The ECO Fund supports projects that enhance environmental education and stewardship in the communities we serve. Environmental education projects may include grants for teacher training, books, or equipment for classroom use, field trips, or special project support of the natural or physical sciences. Details can be found in the ECO Fund Brochure.