Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

Here are your wEEkly Updates:

1. International climate commitments: The nations of the world are marking this Earth Day with the signing of the Agreement made in Paris last December to make efforts to limit global temperature rise.

2. New issue of CURRENTS: Why does this matter for local governments? Take a look at interviews from Oakland Program Manager Daniel Hamilton and Mayor Tom Butt of Richmond in the Spring 2016 edition of CURRENTS, now online – and look for a video from the interviews with even more later this spring.

3. The Spring edition of CURRENTS also shares an overview FAQ of the rolling portfolio process supporting stakeholder participation in the planning for the next five years of energy efficiency programs, in response to numerous inquiries. You can track the latest on the rolling portfolio by signing up on the EE Coordinating Committee website (, or see more from your Coordinator here. Upcoming events include public comments on residential and commercial sector program planning this coming Monday (4/25).

4. Also on the rolling portfolio: yesterday afternoon, the CPUC’s Energy Division released its staff proposal on Energy Efficiency Baselines, following the commitments made in October’s rolling portfolio CPUC Decision and responding to AB 802’s requirement that the CPUC allow energy efficiency programs to provide incentives based on metered energy savings. Comments are due back May 10, 2016.

5. New national energy legislation: the U.S. Senate has passed the first broad national energy bill since 2007: the Energy Policy Modernization Act. Learn more about the bill from, and hear why ACEEE thinks the bill is helpful for state and local governments.

6. EE and jobs: The results of the 2016 California Advanced Energy Employment Survey are out, and show advanced energy job growth of 19%. To review click here.

7. Valuing EE for cost savings: a recent survey shows that most Americans still value energy efficiency the most for the cost savings it brings them. Learn more on Energy Efficiency Markets’s site, here.

8. Know businesses in your jurisdictions looking to go green? They may be interested in the Sustainable Brands Conference in San Diego, June 6-7th. Click here for more info.

9. Corporations tackling climate change: To see more on what corporations are already doing to mitigate climate change, click here for a new GreenBiz report, “Accountability for Climate Action.”

10. Leadership in solar: Just in time for Earth Day, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to put in place solar requirements for new construction: all new commercial and residential buildings with 10 floors or less will be required to install solar photovoltaic, solar water panels or a combination of the two starting 2017.

11. Solar and EE, in pools: Solar pool heating is a great way to reduce the energy spent on pool heating. Take a look at these case studies shared by CSE featuring real estate companies, aquatic centers, and schools using solar and energy efficiency measures and leveraging incentives to cut pool energy use and costs.

12. Water and energy efficiency: Every gallon of water that’s wasted not only contributes to drought concerns, but is additional water that needs to be pumped, heated, and treated. Learn tips to start saving from U.S. EPA’s WaterSense Program lead, here.

13. Global water and energy best practices: the Environmental Defense Fund covers what’s needed to create a smart future for water and energy here.

14. Looking for water/EE funds? The California Energy Commission (CEC) released a grant funding opportunity earlier this week for water and energy efficiency demonstrations. Learn more here.

15. Pollution Reduction Strategy: stakeholder feedback. The Air Resources Board (ARB) will conduct a second public workshop to discuss ARB's Proposed Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy (Proposed Strategy) at the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, also available online, on May 3rd. For more information click here.

16. Understanding State-Level EE: If you missed Tuesday’s webinar on navigating and leveraging EE resources at the state agency level, you can find it here, and provide feedback on additional energy efficiency 101 resources you’d like to see. (And the SEEC Forum in June will for the first time feature a Energy Efficiency 101 workshop the day before.)

17. Considering Geothermal? A new guide was released this week reviewing opportunities and best practices in California geothermal power generation, direct use, and heat pumps.

18. The 7th Annual SEEC Forum: Call for Posters! Are you registered for the SEEC Forum yet? This year’s Forum will feature a poster session for sharing a project or program’s best practices, a new tool or approach to EE (or a proven one with interesting results), and more – click here to propose a poster.

19. Climate Mitigation Event: For more on applying lessons from Paris in California, TRC is hosting a 4/28 event in San Diego: Climate Change Mitigation: From International Goals to Local Successes and Challenges. Click here for more.

20. Job Announcement: Redwood Coast Energy Authority is hiring for an Energy Technician to assist with the development, implementation, and on-going operation of various energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. Click here for more information.

As always, you can keep track of relevant events by connecting to the EE Events Calendar, and find more resources being added daily on the EECoordinator website. If there are events or topics you'd like added, please contact me.

That’s all for this week!

Why The Climate Leadership Conference is Important

I got to represent the SJVCEO at the Climate Leadership Conference (CLC) in Seattle this month. The CLC brings a wide group of business leaders, government staff and officials, academics, and non-profit representatives together to discuss policies, innovations and solutions for mitigating climate change.

This particular CLC was important. Why? Because so much happened in the last year: Pope Francis’s second Encyclical not only widened the audience for climate change messages, but was a call to action for advocacy for religious leaders; the Paris climate talks, or COP21, negotiated the Paris Agreement, an agreement among nearly 200 nations to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels; President Obama’s Clean Power Plan outlined standards for power plants and goals for the United States to cut carbon emissions as well as setting a precedent for other nations to address climate change.
The CLC increased my understanding of various efforts to address carbon emissions reductions, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reporting, the importance of transparency and accountability, and the policy and financing opportunities all types of institutions can benefit from and support. However, it also addressed how far we still have to go in the fight against climate change.
I had a few big takeaways from this conference. Firstly, a lot is riding on this November’s presidential election, and even though more and more Americans believe climate change is real, fewer believe the government should do something to combat it. Second, despite the recent Supreme Court block on the Clean Power Plan, CLC attendees were extremely hopeful that not only would this block not last, but that a national climate action plan would be passed and implemented relatively soon.
These may seem like combating statements, but I heard many points made this week assuring that a national act on climate may not be unreachable. We just need to make sure our message reaches wide audiences and the right audiences.
Unfortunately, many messages that push for an act on climate are both very negative and too overarching to truly comprehend: “natural disasters will become more frequent and more catastrophic”; “sea levels will rise to eventually displace entire communities”; “strains on resources will threaten homeland security.” While all of these points are extremely valid and must be kept in mind, throwing these statements at people who either don’t believe in climate change and the science behind it or don’t care enough to do anything will not decrease the number of skeptics, deniers and complacent bystanders. Fear won’t change anyone’s mind and science may not either. You need to meet your audience where they are.

Concentrating on messages of improving public health, economic solutions and ways to save money, and policies with tangible benefits are far more effective. CLC speaker Andy Hoffman, author of How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate and Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, maintains that the climate debate has become a fight for victory over contrasting, deeply entrenched worldviews rather than CO2 emissions, air quality or climate modeling. Having an inspiring and civil discussion over this issue never happens anymore because each side looks for statements that support their previously determined ideas and heartily rejects any statement that contradicts or diminishes them. He says, “cultural identity can overcome scientific reasoning. It doesn’t mean we’re stupid, but our emotions kick in really quick.”
What clouds this debate is high economic and ideological stakes. None of us knows everything about everything and so we all make decisions based on what the communities we trust tell us. In order to have a true discussion and not a violent discourse, we need to build trust with the “other side”. You don’t want your audience to feel small or feel judged. So, how do we build that trust and truly engage our audience?
Andy outlined three paths forward:
1.  Optimistic path Technology gets developed so neither lifestyles nor values are compromised and no one has to change what they do or how they do it.
2.  Pessimistic path Each side tries to change the worldviews of the other and we talk past and demonize each other.
3.   Consensus based path This best path encourages people to move past positions and concentrate on interests.
The consensus-based path requires brokers to come forward so that an audience is hearing messages from those they trust. Messengers must understand the power of language and choose messages that are personally accessible by their audience. Messengers must acknowledge and identify a commonly desired future, presenting tangible and positive solutions that preserve the “American way of life”.
Once we can have discussions about our commonly desired futures, we can discuss how to efficiently and effectively get there. Once we engage both horizontally and vertically, we can frame questions and issues in each audience’s expertise and language, making any lack of knowledge or interest in climate science irrelevant. We can leave the science to the scientists. We can leave entrenched opinions behind. We can start thinking about how to be cost effective, improve the public health of communities, create preventative measures rather than reactionary measures, build resilient communities, and turn innovation and storytelling into action.
Thank you, CLC, for inspiring action and making me optimistic about the future. We may have a long way to go, but we certainly have a better understanding of what it will take to get there and a myriad of examples of companies, governments, schools, and non-profits already acting and fighting the good fight.

Should the United States Military be Exempt?

The United States military is one of the most powerful forces in the world. Soldiers are well trained and well equipped, but do you know the other part of the piece it takes to sustain  that powerhouse? Well I can tell you... a lot of fossil fuel.  All of the military's bulky machinery runs on oil while also being exempt from emission reports required in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. But thanks to the newest COP21 climate agreement things may be changing; for the better.

Facts state that  U.S. forces continue to be THE leading institutional consumer of crude oil in the world. With that title comes some hefty numbers of consumption. On an annual basis our forces consume over 100 million barrels of oil. Those barrels equate to over 70 million metric tons of CO2 emissions. A side note; those staggering numbers omit hundreds of overseas bases as well as vehicles. To give you a clearer picture to hit the idea home lets talk about the number of carbon emissions from just the Iraq war alone. In the first four years of the war there were 141 million metric tons of carbon released. If you were to break that number out over four years each year carbon emissions would equate to be more than emissions from 139 countries.... I think that number brings the idea home.
It all goes back to the saying that we here at SJVCEO use, " you can't fix what you don't measure." How are we as a nation to crack down on carbon emissions when we are not measuring ALL of our output. With the new agreement our military is not required to report and or cut emissions, but are not automatically exempt anymore. With that ruling you would expect to have military leaders up in arms about the decision, but quite the contrary. Many top officials support lowering the military's dependence on fossil fuels. The support is mostly because of the high death toll associated with oil. If we can lower our dependence on oil then we can make our troops safer and save countless lives in our military. 
Cutting down on the use of fossil fuels can be a hard item to tackle since much of our military depends on them to power much of the machinery on the ground. Having machinery that is more efficient will help to better protect our troops and lower our dependence. Don't think that I am suggesting that our troops roll up in a Toyota Prius to handle combat, but there can be a happy medium. 

That happy medium comes from two of the biggest military contractors, Lockheed Martin and AM General. These two firms have taken on the challenge of making a safe and lighter vehicle for those troops on the ground. These two companies have come up with three different types of vehicles that are competing to replace the current staple, the Humvee. The Humvee has been around since the 1990's and has served its purpose, but with the military becoming liable for its emissions it may not continue to be so.
All three of the vehicles proposed can withstand blast impacts as well as bullets, but have a lighter body. With the lighter body style troops are able to get more MPG as well as more maneuverability on urban and off-road patrols. Some of the models are even being tweaked to become "greener" by going hybrid- diesel.  
Sure we know that a lot of emissions come from wars overseas and machinery, but we still need to think of the military actions that take place on a day-to-day basis. On a daily basis there are over 10,000 people that report to a military base each day. On top of that the military has continuous training activities taking place all over the U.S. and overseas each week. Many of the top commanders are starting realize all of those activities are adding up against our environment. To combat environmental damage the military bases are beginning to deploy electric vehicles for on-base transportation as well as installing electric vehicle chargers.
Maybe this year, 2016, we have a light bulb moment on carbon emissions and the U.S. military. The world is realizing that military actions are just as responsible for climate change as the normal citizen living their day-to-day lives. With the reporting of carbon emissions maybe we can fix what we are measuring moving forward.