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Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

You are invited to participate in the AB 802 Public Agency Stakeholder Group taking place on Monday June 25, 1- 2 p.m. The deadline to report disclosable buildings to the Energy Commission was June 1, 2018 but it is not too late to comply and spread the word to your affected constituents. Don't miss out on this opportunity to hear program updates, share your feedback, and participate in Q&A. Click HERE to register!


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Copyright © 2018 Statewide Local Government Energy Efficiency Best Practices Coordinator, All rights reserved.
The wEEkly update for Local Governments and their partners.

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Local Government Energy Efficiency Best Practices Coordinator
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SJV Clean Transportation Center: Dec./Jan. Newsletter

Welcome to the December 2017 San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation Center Newsletter. With funding from the California Energy Commission, CALSTART opened the Center with the goal to accelerate the use of clean vehicles and fuels and help the region more quickly meet air quality targets.

San Joaquin Valley to Receive More Than $88 Million in State Cap-and-Trade Funds 

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) Governing Board at its Dec. 21 meeting voted to accept more than $88 million in funding from the state's cap-and-trade proceeds. The Valley is receiving $80 million – nearly a third of $250 million allocated by the California Air Resources Board (CARB)  to fund Carl Moyer projects and clean trucks that meet Prop 1B guidelines.

Another $8.4 million is for AB 617 implementation, which requires air monitoring at the community level in order to better protect those in areas most impacted by air pollution.

Even better news is that significantly more money will be heading to the San Joaquin Valley. (See graphic above from the presentation made to the SJVAPCD Board.) The Air District expects to receive millions more for dairy digesters, several programs targeting emissions reductions in agriculture, and greenhouse gas projects for food processors.

"It's the most we have ever seen, and perhaps the most we will ever get," President/CEO Roger Isom of the California Cotton Ginners & Growers Association said during public comments made at the meeting. He encouraged the Air District to move quickly to get the funding distributed. The state has set strict deadlines, mandated by law, requiring funds to be encumbered (under executed contract) by June 30, 2019, and liquidated (paid out) by June 30, 2021.

Biorem Energy President Mark Terry, who traveled from Idaho to attend the meeting, encouraged the Air District to examine existing funding criteria for heavy-duty trucks so that larger trucking companies would have more of an incentive to convert diesel trucks in their fleets to compressed natural gas (CNG). He suggested a trade-up component as well, where high-mileage trucks that may only be three to five years old would not need to be destroyed. SJVAPCD Air Pollution Control Officer Seyed Sadredin indicated they are working with CARB to allow a trade-up provision.    

A DC fast charger opened recently at Kern Federal Credit Union, becoming the first level 3 charger in downtown Bakersfield. The Air District's Charge Up! program, which helped fund this project, recently was expanded to include workplace charging sites.

Charge Up! Expands to Workplace Sites; New EV Funds Target Fresno County 

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District's (SJVAPCD) Charge Up! program, which provides funding for EV charging equipment and infrastructure, is expanding to include workplace charging. The program previously required chargers to be open to the public for a minimum of 30 hours per week.

Charge Up! also will shift to a voucher-based system from a rebate program to increase program participation, efficiency and flexibility, resulting in an overall streamlining of the program. A new application will be available soon. To date, $1.3 million has been awarded by the Air District for 182 level 2 and level 3 EV chargers

A new state program debuted Dec. 20 in Fresno County, providing $4 million in new funding for EV charging and infrastructure projects. The Fresno County Incentive Project (FCIP) is the first incentive project to be launched under the California Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project (CALeVIP).

FCIP will provide rebates for the purchase and installation of eligible level 2 electric vehicle chargers to owners of commercial properties, apartments, condominiums, workplaces and public agencies in Fresno County. Rebate amounts are up to $4,000 for single-port EV charging stations and $7,000 for dual-port EV charging stations. FCIP funding may be combined with Charge Up!, which offers $5,000 per unit for single-port chargers and $6,000 per unit for dual-port chargers. Charge Up! also will fund up to $25,000 for DC fast chargers, with funding approved on a case-by-case basis.

CALeVIP is funded by the California Energy Commission (CEC) and implemented by the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE), which also administers the state's Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP). CALeVIP currently is funded for more than $15 million, with the potential to receive up to $200 million.

“As the state transitions to cleaner transportation in order to meet clean air standards and climate goals, it’s important to increase access to the charging infrastructure that makes plug-in electric vehicles a more viable option for communities across California,” Energy Commissioner Janea A. Scott said in an article posted on CSE's website.

An application and guidelines are on the FCIP website. Read the entire CSE article for more information

Two Proterra Catalyst buses will be added to Yosemite's shuttle fleet in late 2018, making it the first U.S. national park to permanently add battery-electric, zero-emission buses to its fleet. 

Yosemite Becomes First U.S. National Park to Purchase Electric Buses 

Yosemite National Park will add two Proterra Catalyst electric buses to its fleet, becoming the first U.S. national park to permanently add zero-emission, battery-electric buses to its shuttle fleet. The buses will begin service in late 2018 and will operate throughout the year, transporting up to 1,480 visitors per day.

One of the nation's most-visited national parks, Yosemite attracts more than five million visitors from around the world each year. Increased vehicle congestion has contributed to air pollution and noise problems in the park, and Yosemite relies heavily on its shuttle program to encourage visitors to park once and use a bus to circulate among lodges, waterfalls and trailheads. This free shuttle service travels approximately 436,000 miles with 3.8 million boardings annually. 
In 2001, the park began replacing its diesel bus fleet with diesel-electric hybrid vehicles. The new Proterra Catalyst buses are expected annually to reduce 887,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions and save approximately $150,500 on maintenance and operating costs. 
“Since its establishment in 1890, airborne pollutants have steadily degraded Yosemite’s resources," said Yosemite National Park Acting Superintendent Chip Jenkins. "Deploying Proterra’s battery-electric buses will help with this ongoing challenge and will greatly improve local air quality.”
The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has committed to greening the federal fleet, including the national parks, by working with businesses to make cleaner, quieter transportation readily available and affordable to partner agencies. As a resullt, GSA's list of federal fleet acquisition options now includes the Proterra Catalyst.
“The Proterra team is especially proud to directly contribute to the preservation of Yosemite National Park.," said Proterra President and CEO Ryan Popple. "We are honored to partner with the National Park Service to provide clean, quiet transportation to the millions of visitors who love to visit our national parks.”

With its headquarters in Burlingame, Proterra also has offices in the Los Angeles area in the City of Industry and in Greenville, South Carolina. The company currently has more than 490 electric buses operating in 61 different municipal, university, airport and commercial transit agencies in 29 states.

Thomas Paddon 

Paddon Joins SJVCTC Staff  

Thomas Paddon is the new Regional Project Manager for CALSTART's San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation Center (SJVCTC), joining the staff in December. He currently is working with SJVCTC Director Joseph Oldham to open a new office in Stockton and will be responsible for driving the Center’s objectives in the northern San Joaquin Valley, taking a pragmatic, economics-driven approach to accelerating the growth of clean transportation technologies.

Prior to CALSTART, he spent many years helping to develop startup businesses, primarily in the solar and electric vehicle space. Most recently, he was working with a solar software startup whose mission was to speed the adoption of solar, battery storage and electric vehicle investments using electricity usage data.

Paddon earned his master of arts degree in Management from the University of Redlands and a bachelor of arts degree in French and International Business from the University of South Florida. As a commercial pilot, he is excited to be a part of CALSTART’s Sustainable Aviation Project that features electric aircraft.

The mission of the SJVCTC is to provide no-cost technical assistance, project development expertise and assistance with acquiring project funding to San Joaquin Valley vehicle fleet owners, businesses and residents with the goal of reducing vehicle emissions and improving air quality. To help achieve that mission, the Center is working with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, SoCalGas Co., Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and others to speed the deployment of electric vehicle charging stations and natural gas fueling infrastructure.

News Briefs... 


Those looking to buy an electric vehicle in 2018 can breathe a sigh of relief. The federal EV income tax credit of up to $7,500 has been retained in the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul package signed by President Donald J. Trump on Dec. 22.

The credit had been eliminated in the House proposal drafted by Republicans several weeks ago, but was included in the Senate's version of the tax bill. That led to speculation in recent weeks about the fate of this important incentive for EV buyers and the potential impact on the EV industry. 

CALSTART, in a letter signed by many of its more than 180 member companies, lobbied to keep the credit, stating that it "protects U.S. job creation and leadership in the electric vehicle sector." See a
USA Today article for more details.


Seyed Sadredin has announced he will retire in 2018 after leading the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District since 2006. His career in air quality has spanned more than three decades.

Samir Sheikh will succeed Sadredin as the District's Air Pollution Control Officer (APCO), effective July 7. A longtime Air District employee, Sheikh currently serves as Deputy APCO with leadership over the Strategies and Incentives Department and several other administrative areas of the organization.    

Looking for Grant Information?

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District offers a variety of grants and incentive programs for public agencies, residents, businesses and technology. Interested parties should apply early since incentives typically are available on a first-come, first-served basis. A complete list of current incentive programs is available on the Air District website.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) administers grant programs funded through various sources, including the cap-and-trade program. A complete list of the various funding programs is available on the
CARB website.

The California Energy Commission (CEC) also administers grant programs for transportation technology. Go to the 
CEC website for information.

Various federal agencies offer grants and incentives for transportation technology each year. All federal agencies use the website for submitting and receiving grant applications. 

“The CALSTART San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation Center is a joint project between CALSTART and the California Energy Commission (CEC). It is funded through a grant from the CEC with the mission to assist residents and businesses in the San Joaquin Valley deploy cleaner transportation options to help improve air quality and promote economic prosperity.  For more information about CALSTART, visit”

Copyright © 2017 by CALSTART, All rights reserved.

Contact Us
Joseph Oldham, Director    Thomas Paddon, Regional Project Manager
San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation Center
Fresno Address: 510 W. Kearney Blvd., Fresno, CA 93706
Fresno Phone: (559) 797-6034
Stockton Address: 5000 S. Airport Way, Suite #208, Stockton, CA 95206
Stockton Phone: (626) 744-5637
Email: and

Newsletter Editor: Brenda Turner, Project Clean Air

The Magic of Sustainability at Disney

The Walt Disney Company has and always will be identified with the cute black eared mouse named aptly named Mickey Mouse. But what if Disney could have dual identifiers? One would be the adorable fun loving Mickey Mouse while the other would be sustainability. I know that may throw some of you readers for a loop, but anythings is possible!

The Disney Company over the last  three years has maneuvered itself into a spot where it can be identified as a sustainable tourism leader. Sustainable tourism is defined as, making a low impact on the environment and local culture, while helping to generate future employment for local people.  The Disney Company is working to make strides in climate and energy, ecosystem protection, water conservation as well as waste management. Many of the items listed here are not noticeable to the human eye when you step into a Disney park or a Disney resort, but are being completed in the back lot of the locations by what Disney calls imagineers. Imagineers stands for - combining imagination with engineering.

Thanks to imagineers Disney has paved its way to a 31 percent reduction in emissions from 2012 levels. The companies over arching goal is to reduce net emissions by 50 percent by the year 2020, and is currently on track to meet that target. Now let us dive into some of the items that are helping Disney reach its goal.

Climate & Energy

Disneyland park and resorts have been around since 1955 and have continued to morph throughout the decades. Each year the park continues to reach record breaking attendance with an average of 44,000 people entering its gates everyday. Many may be shocked that the park can hold so many people at one time, but thanks to its 85-acres that size crowd is manageable. With that acreage there are a lot of items that need maintaining that consume energy.

Thanks to the imagineers that were previously mentioned maintaining and lowering energy usage becomes a lot easier. Forward thinking on behalf of staff as well as updated technology is keeping Disney at the fore front of sustainability.

Many attractions within the park are ran on cleaner gas resources or reused resources. Such attractions as the Disneyland Railroad steam trains as well as the Mark Twain Riverboat use bio-diesel. That diesel comes from used cooking oil from Resorts that then fuel their steam boilers, which eliminates an average of 150,000 gallons of petroleum diesel per year. Other attractions like lot trams, sailing ships, Rafts to Tom Sawyer Island, Jungle Cruise boats and Main Street USA vehicles run on Cleaner-burning compressed natural gas (CNG). CNG is a readily available alternative to gasoline that's made by compressing natural gas to less than 1% of its volume at standard atmospheric pressure.

On top of cleaner fuels and reused resources Disney also has attractions and rides that create NO EMISSIONS at all. Such rides as the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage submarines as well as the Disneyland Monorail. Thanks to technology and innovation subs can use magnetic coils to propel and the monorail runs completely on electricity. These rides eliminate the use of on average hundreds of thousands of gallons of diesel fuel each year.

Water Conservation

Here in California we know all too well about water conservation and recycling after going on year 4 of our historic drought. But Disney goes above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to conserving. Nearly all the water used at the Disneyland Resort is recycled! Disney has partnered with the Orange County Water District  to use their already made one of a kind groundwater replenishment system. With the system already created engineers just needed to create the infrastructure to divert the waste water to the system. In all the project took a period of a few years to build. Thanks to Disney sharing we are actually able to get a quick description of how it all works "Water is released into Orange County’s groundwater aquifer then clean water is drawn from the aquifer by local water agencies and distributed to end-users such as homes and businesses."

It is great to see this type of partnership taking place to make a difference. I bet you wouldn't have know this fun fact about Disney's water if it weren't for this blog posting.

Waste Management

I am sure when you think of waste management you think of disposal bins that are separated into trash, recycle and compost. Well let me tell you a little something... there is much more to the process than you would imagine. Management of waste consists of generation, prevention, characterization, monitoring, treatment, handling, reuse and residual disposition of solid wastes. After reading that explanation I am sure your saying to yourself...your right I had no idea that all of those items are covered under one umbrella. Disney wants to stress the importance of recycling and waste management that they partnered with Waste Management to put in an interactive exhibit named "Don't Waste It" in INNOVENTIONS  at Epcot. At this exhibit you learn of the latest in waste disposal as well as green approached to garbage handling.

Resorts at Disneyland have created a partnership with the Clean the World Foundation, Inc. for recycling of bathroom amenities. So far Resorts have donated more than 1,000 pounds of partially used guest room soaps and bottled amenities each month. And YES they do clean and sanitize the items before they are reused and re-purposed.  The recycled bath items are used to make hygiene items for others around the world that are in dyer need of such items.

Disney also recycles its mattresses and box springs from Resorts. These items are donated to a local LA non-profit for re-manufacturing. There are many in the community who cannot afford to purchase these items so they go to well deserving homes.

Let us also mention that Disney even gives back to pets. Staff members recycle food scraps from 60 restaurants that is converted into animal feed and can and bottle recycling goes to collect funds for Canine Companions for Independence. Disney makes sure to cover all of its bases when it comes to recycling and re-purposing.

Out of the Park

Now that I have covered what is done within Disney Parks and Resorts let us talk about the other projects they have going on elsewhere on other campuses. Many forget that there are other locations that create the Disney magic. One such one would be the Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, California. At this location they have been playing with energy efficiency projects that involve fuel cells. They have installed a 1 megawatt fuel cell that will supplement electricity for the entire campus.

International Efforts

I am sure many have seen the Shanghai Disney Resort that debuted in early June. With this new venture Disney adopted a number of new technologies and design elements to enable reduction of its environmental impact, including a leading new technology to supply the resort with heating, cooling and compressed air, which is anticipated to improve the estimated energy efficiency for resort operation by 300 percent and reduce greenhouse emissions generated from resort operations by 60 percent.

So, now that I have covered all of the sustainability efforts I hope that I persuaded you to associate sustainability with the name Disney and not just the cute mouse. If you happen to have ventured into the world of Disney recently and noticed some of these efforts, let us know!

Why We Need Tree Canopies | Part II

Welcome to Part II of "Why We Need Tree Canopies". This portion will go into a bit more depth of CA's current tree situation, benefits of living near green space and what other jurisdictions in the country are doing to mitigate tree loss and increase benefits from expanded tree canopies.

According to a study by the Carnegie Institution for Science, well over 50 million trees throughout California are at risk of dying because of the drought. Furthermore, drought allows bark beetles to thrive, creating more dire conditions for susceptible trees and, as of last spring, the U.S. Forest Services estimated 12 million trees have already died from a mix of both severe drought conditions and this resulting bark beetle infestation. Studies show that the vast majority of the areas affected have been in the San Joaquin Valley and surrounding Central Valley. Governor Brown declared a state of emergency over dying trees and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) have focused efforts to remove dead trees in the SJV to eliminate the area’s vulnerability for fire and wildfire outbreaks.
Tree loss and disease from drought.

Tree loss results in increased forest fire susceptibility and severity as well as decreased animal and insect diversity, water resources and carbon sequestration. This imminent increase in fires, dying trees and beetle infestations will only continue to produce more carbon emissions, contributing to poorer air quality and climate change.

While the drought has exacerbated these conditions, an increased population of well-maintained, native and drought-tolerant trees will help mitigate some of these issues and provide substantial benefits to communities that plant these types of trees, increasing the local urban canopy. The USDA’s report Effects of Drought on Forests and Rangelands in the U.S.: A Comprehensive Science Synthesis notes that while native, drought-resistant plants do require some water and will increase a community’s necessary allotment, forests, including urban forests, are naturally resilient and resist effects from drought. Forests also help manage erosion and water runoff, supply and quality.

The San Joaquin Valley is home to many who both suffer greatly from asthma and live in poverty. Tree canopies, as previously mentioned, improve local air quality through CO2 sequestration, reducing respiratory-related illnesses and deaths. Tree canopies also provide widespread cooling and temperature control. Tree Fresno, a local environmental agency, shares the information that open, cemented areas can be over five degrees Fahrenheit warmer than similar areas with green space. This causes a reduced quality of life. Community members are less able to take advantage of outdoor amenities, exercising or interacting outdoors; people are more likely to suffer from health problems because of high air-pollution levels and daytime temperatures as well as minimized nighttime cooling; energy bills are higher due to a great need for air conditioning; and city resources become more limited.
Tree Fresno is the "regional resource for trees, trail and greenbelts".

To combat these severe results, Tree Fresno has also shown that a single fully-grown tree can have a net cooling effect of 10 single-room air conditioners each running for 20 hours a day and that shade reduces UVB radiation exposure by up to 50 percent. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) shares an emissions factor of 457 pounds CO2 per MWh. This means that 10 500 Watt air conditioning units running for 20 hours a day is 100 kWh, which is about 45.7 pounds of kWh-related CO2 avoided with every tree planted.

By providing temperature control, the surrounding community is more willing and able to take advantage of outdoor activities and services and less likely to suffer from heat exhaustion and other related illnesses. Health benefits do not stop here. Environmental Health Perspectives recently published a Harvard University study illustrating a link between lower mortality rates as a result from respiratory illnesses and cancer and living near greenery. Living near greenery decreases air pollution and allows for more physical activity and social engagement. The study also found a much lower prevalence of depression in those that lived near greenery.

Additionally, trees reduce road maintenance costs. The Journal of Aboriculture shared a field study conducted in Modesto, CA, which showed that an unshaded street required 6 slurry seals over a period of 30 years and a tree-shaded street only required 2.5 seals over the same time period. This is a 58 percent reduction. So, let us consider the City of Clovis, which has over 120 Million square feet of roads. If the cost for slurry seals are approximately $0.66 per square foot, the City could see potential savings of nearly $80,000,000. Moreover, in its 2014 Regional Transportation Plan, Fresno COG indicated that over $1 Billion needed to be put towards road operations and maintenance projects. Projects may be avoided or have reduced costs with an increase in tree-lined streets.

I also must point out that since the San Joaquin Valley suffers from high unemployment and poverty levels, we need to shed light on the extensive economic benefits provided by expanded and properly maintained tree canopies. Trees provide natural and low-cost energy efficiency benefits to homes and properties protected and shaded by them. Properly placed trees can reduce cooling costs by 30 percent and can even lower heating costs by up to 50 percent. Lower utility bills put more money back into the pockets of the community, which then goes back into the local economy. Tree-lined streets also promote a higher level of business activity and increase home and property values.

Louisville suburb south of Bowman Field
Louisville, Kentucky adopted a Tree Canopy Ordinance and has since formed a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding the City’s tree canopy. In support of this effort, the City released a study that outlined many of these benefits in detail. As of 2015, Louisville’s canopy covered about 37 percent of the City, which equates to approximately 147 square miles with nearly 6.2 million trees. This canopy provides the community with over 67 million kilowatt hours (kWh) and over $5 million in energy savings each year as well as a $240 million increase in property values citywide. Additional savings have been reported from nearly 7 million pounds of pollutants and 400,000 tons of CO2 removed from the atmosphere each year and a near 19 billion gallon reduction in storm water runoff each year. The City of Louisville estimates that $330 million in savings will be seen annually from just maintaining the current tree canopy. Expanding the canopy will only increase these savings across all sectors.

Are you impressed by these benefits of tree canopies? Would you like your city to adopt a Tree Canopy Ordinance? Let us know!

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

! Here are your wEEkly updates:

1. Webinar on Energy Technology Competition 8/28: The U.S. Department of Energy will present a live webinar titled “JUMP SIEMENS Call for Innovation” on Friday, August 26th. The Call is seeking innovative ideas for the use of personal “smart” devices to interact with public spaces.

2. Webinar on Hydrogen Infrastructure 8/30: The U.S. Department of Energy will present a live webinar titled “International Hydrogen Infrastructure Update” on Tuesday, August 30th.

3. Energy Storage Summit 12/7-8: The 2016 U.S. Energy Storage Summit will be held in San Francisco this December 7th and 8th – and early bird prices for registration end August 31st! Get the agenda, more information, and/or register.

4. CPUC Decision on the EE Rolling Portfolio Now Final: The CA Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Proposed Decision Providing Guidance for Initial Energy Efficiency Rolling Portfolio Business Plan Filings (R.13-11-005) was voted on this week and was passed. Whether you are developing a business plan for energy efficiency funds and programs in the coming years, or providing feedback on one - or simply plan on seeking energy efficiency program funding – this decision covers a number of topics (Regional Energy Networks, issues by sector, pay for performance programs, third party and statewide programs, M&V) that may be of interest. You can access the Proposed Decision – and its table of contents – here.

5. Rolling Portfolio Background: Need a refresher on R-13-11-005 and the rolling portfolio? Check out coverage on this Proceedings, Decisions, and Legislation page. You can also get involved with current proceedings through the CA Energy Efficiency Coordinating Committee. Or, learn how to interpret CPUC documents and proceedings in this helpful 101 webinar.

6. CEC Staff Report on SoCal Electric Reliability: A new CEC staff report has been made available in preparation for the August 29th workshop on Electric Reliability in Southern California.

7. New Proposed Energy Storage in SoCal: Southern California’s utilities are turning to energy storage developers to get battery projects up and running at a record speed. This week, utilities Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric officially asked the California Public Utilities Commission to approve contracts for more than 50 megawatts’ worth of lithium-ion battery projects. Learn more from Greentech Media.

8. $1.2B in Cap and Trade Proposed by CA Senate: This Wednesday, California’s State Senate proposed a series of clean energy funding initiatives totaling $1.2 billion to address greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector and air pollution in urban environments.

9. Connecting Home Buyers with Metrics to Value EE: We’ve seen a lot of recent studies on how energy efficient homes are worth more; but, communicating this value has been a challenge, making the market slow to respond and leaving dollars and energy efficiency opportunities on the table in our communities. (This is especially unfortunate in low-income households, since connecting homes energy efficiency can help fight poverty.) This week, Greentech Media explores options for creating a easy metric to help home buyers include the value of energy efficiency in their decision making.

10. Low-Rise Mandatory Energy Code Measures Summary: The California Energy Commission (CEC) has just released the 2016 Low-Rise Residential Mandatory Measures Summary – this is a great document to share with your buildings departments as a resource to help designers and permit applicants in your jurisdiction comply with the new energy code.

11. California ZNE Milestone Achieved: The California Public Utilities Commission, California Energy Commission, and the New Buildings Institute (NBI) announced earlier this month California continues the march toward its zero net energy (ZNE) goals, with 108 new and renovated commercial buildings that have been either verified as generating as much energy as they consume or are working toward that target. More on zero net energy here – or, learn about ZNE tracking tools.

12. Waste Collection Zones Reduce GHGs: A new study of New York City reveals that commercial waste collection zones may reduce truck traffic and greenhouse gas emissions associated with waste collection.

13. New Research on Water and EE: Increased coordination between the water and energy sectors breaks down traditional silos and paves the way for an integrative approach to saving energy and water. This week, ACEEE has released a new summary of water-energy efficiency research and best practices, The Energy–Water Nexus: Exploring the Stream of Opportunities, which summarizes past research (see below) and discusses new opportunities, including joint energy and water utility collaboration.

14. Job Announcement: MCE is hiring for a Marketing Manager! Learn more here.

15. RFP Announcement: The City and County of San Francisco Department of the Environment (SFEnvironment) announces a Request for Proposals for As Needed Energy Services for the Department’s energy and climate programs, including energy efficiency, renewable and alternative energy components, and climate protection initiatives.

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 – including past WEEkly Updates.

That’s all for this week!

Why We Need Tree Canopies | Part I

The San Joaquin Valley suffers from urban heat island (UHI) affect; pavement and other dark-colored surfaces throughout the Valley absorb sunlight, trapping heat and increasing local temperatures. This adversely affects local air quality as well as energy efficiency capabilities, energy consumption, public health, climate resilience, and quality of life, among other measures. Furthermore, the SJV not only generates its own pollutant emissions, but is also impacted by transport of pollutants around the Valley and from the Bay Area. Although air quality in the region is slowly improving, SJV Counties still have not met federal ambient air quality standards for pollutants such as PM2.5 and PM10 as well as 8-hour ozone.

This is an ideal canopy, no?
There is no better (and cheaper!) solution to both increasing energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than protecting and expanding our existing tree canopies and developing additional canopies. In addition, trees provide extensive water, economic and crime reduction benefits to urban areas.

Native, drought-tolerant trees will not only thrive in our region, but also contribute to necessary air quality improvement and widespread cooling, especially in summer months. Tree canopies sequester CO2, reducing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. They are natural air conditioners, shading and cooling both buildings and streets and reducing summer temperatures of and, therefore, cooling costs for the entire tree-lined neighborhood or community. Trees also provide windbreak, reducing heating costs, and absorb sounds, greatly reducing noise pollution.

Greater the canopy, greater the benefits.
Additionally, streets and medians lined with trees require significantly less watering than those with grass. Trees help capture rainfall and recharge aquifers through filtering water through their roots. This also contributes to reduced storm water runoff, decreasing potential flooding, storm water management costs and flow of polluted water.

Drought conditions shouldn't stop the planting of trees. A lack of tree canopy will not only negatively contribute to issues such as poor air and water quality, but the continued loss of trees due to forest fire, bark beetle infestations and bacterial infections, such as fireblight, will worsen these effects on the local communities.

There is a clear need for mitigation policies. Increasing tree growth in parks and making use of open non-green space, such as medians, public streets and plazas, by expanding tree canopies and creating a landscape in which jurisdictions understand how and why urban canopies are so important and beneficial will improve energy efficiency, local temperature and air quality, minimizing adverse effects of greenhouse gas emissions and urban heat island effect.

Do you like the sound of this? Stick around for Part II where I will describe benefits in greater detail!

Gas Pump Warning Labels

Big Oil hasn’t had a lot of competition in the past and even with great advancements and improved technologies in alternative and renewable fuels and vehicles, people still love their gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs and the lower price tags of regular vehicles.

A retired transportation engineer from Oakland, Jack Fleck, decided that he could do something about the immunity of oil companies by placing warning labels on gas pumps. He likened this to the labels on cigarette packages. Tobacco companies can still sell their product, but need to warn people of the harmful effects on both themselves and others. So, Fleck thought, oil companies must also be upfront about the harmful effects on the environment when using their product. These labels don’t need to be aggressive; a purely informational label could work just as well to spread the message.

While these labels might not affect even a small percentage of people and the way they buy cars, it’s a step in the right direction and it will encourage people to contemplate their duty and responsibility to help mitigate climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Big Oil won't stop producing, but we can stop using. Whether we buy an alternative fuel vehicle or simply bike, carpool and use public transportation more, we can make all the difference moving forward. If just 10% of us did this, we could save over 25 million tons of CO2 emissions each year!

There has been a lot of negative backlash on this idea, including Fox News contributor and political blogger Michelle Malkin going so far as to ask “‘Why don’t they just ban gas stations?’” Unfortunately, there are lots of people who think this is an appropriate response – they don’t see or feel the urgency of this issue. Additionally, the oil companies sponsor political candidates to spread a much less grim picture of them, thus affecting the thoughts of many Americans on this subject.

Despite this, plans and mock-ups of such labels are being developed in San Francisco and Vancouver as well as other cities and Fleck is sure that we will start to see them at gas stations soon. Hopefully they'll get more attention than these parking signs that have been popping up in L.A.

Advanced Transportation RICO Grant Overview

The California Workforce Investment Board and the California Energy Commission are working with the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency to fund the AB 118 Regional Industry Clusters of Opportunity (RICO) grant program. If you’re unaware of Assembly Bill 118, it created an ARFV (Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle) technologies program that funds innovative fuel and vehicle technology projects so that California’s climate goals can be met.

I know that was all a mouthful, but consider this: the RICO grant program will develop and implement ways to strengthen local economies and build the alternative fuel and vehicle workforce in California.

What does that mean and who cares, you ask? Well, transportation fuels account for 38% of greenhouse gas emissions in California. So if we build the ARFV industry, we’ll find cleaner, more efficient ways to transport goods and people. To design and manufacture these new methods of transportation, we’ll need skilled engineers, chemists, machinists, salespersons, etc. Hello new, expanded workforce! And hello stronger economies!

Photo Source:
The San Joaquin Valley has been taking charge when it comes to developing new alternative fuels and new fuel production methods. For example, an old beet sugar plant in Mendota is making a comeback with a new output. Instead of converting sugar beets into various forms of sugar, a team of farmers are using a state grant to turn beets into ethanol. The demo plant is set to start production early next year and, if it’s successful, a commercial plant will follow in 2016-2017. Production at both would use local beets and run all year long.

The SJVCEO’s role is to promote and generate focus on this grant program through education and outreach. Now that we are nearly a year into this grant process, we have found several industry employers all over the Valley interested in our efforts. We launched a CNG Partnership, a Biofuels Partnership and an EV Partnership. While the EV Partnership has had the most success, we are still dedicated to expanding the efforts of all ARFV industry employers throughout the Valley. Our air is so polluted and we contribute to it daily with how much we all individually drive, it has only become necessary to bring alternative and renewable fuels and vehicles to this region.

Keep an eye out for press releases about Partnership meetings and join us! We hope to see you and hear from you about our efforts and how we can expand this industry in the Valley.

SJVCEO Monthly Update - What Have We Been Up To?

Over the past month our new SJVCEO team has been on the move and pushing forward! Our team members have been learning the new technologies our utility partners are rolling out, gearing up for community events as well as moving forward with some of our grant extensions.

Our team has completed the Energy Insight training with one of our utility partners; PG&E. Energy Insight will allow our team members to have a clear picture of where our energy efficiency projects stand with our outside contractors and PG&E. This database allows our members to follow projects from cradle to grave to make sure our customers are fully satisfied.

With October being energy awareness month we are gearing up for our community outreach events. These community outreach events allow the SJVCEO team to get out into the community and show how easy and affordable it is to make energy efficiency updates. We hope you will stay tuned to the SJVCEO website as well as social media sites, twitter and facebook, for upcoming events.

SJVCEO along with the other SJV Action Team Members – Fresno State Office of Community and Economic Development (OCED), San Joaquin Valley Clean Cities Coalition (SJVCCC), San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD), and the Kern Community College District (KCCD) – for the Workforce Investment Board Regional Industry Clusters of Opportunity (WIB RICO) grant have received an extension of funding to continue supporting and expanding the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology (ARFVT) industry in the Valley. We have created two new Valley-based Partnerships to support this effort; the CNG Partnership and EV Partnership have gained interest from dealerships, fueling and charging station manufacturers and deployment, automotive repair establishments, school districts, etc. Our goal is to clean up the Valley’s air, cut down on GHG emissions from transportation, build a more extensive and sustainable network of alternative fueling stations, and educate the Valley’s residents about the importance and benefits of owning and/or using a cleaner vehicle.

SJVCEO is conducting preliminary research on developing a Cool Roof Policy in the Valley. The Valley suffers from Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect, which contributes to poorer air quality, quality of life, life expectancy, and a higher demand for cooling capabilities. Introducing a Cool Roof Ordinance could decrease cooling costs in the summer, improve air quality and decrease number of health issues related to excessive heat. In addition, a Cool Roof Ordinance could include measures such as cool playgrounds and parking lots, which would extend people’s abilities to stay outside and enjoy outdoor activities thus improving their quality of life in the Valley.
Lastly, SJVCEO is continuously developing a project tracking database. This database will provide a centralized location of data from multiple sources including Energy Star Portfolio Manager and the Utilities Program Management. Current plans of the database will be ready to share at the Local Government Commission for Central California in Paso Robles on October 10th.

Stay tuned for next month’s update on what the SJVCEO team has been up to!

Can high GHG offsets make high-speed rail worth it?

Fresno D
I subscribe to a daily listserv from The California Business Climate Network which provides a daily round up of the most important stories that affect California and climate related issues.  It's sort of like the environmental version of my favorite news daily, The Skimm.

Last Wednesday the list serve featured a story from Environment and Energy Daily covering the state's projection that the high-speed rail line will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the first year of full operation.  According to the article the line will displace carbon emissions equal to 31,000 vehicles in the first year.

Upon reading that I thought, "that's great!" but I also commented to a coworkers that I have the equivalent to cars, equivalent to trees analogies.  As I've shared before I love me some hard numbers!  So, for those fellow data geeks here you go:

  • 4.5-8.4 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent divert by 2030*
  • 27.1-44.9 million tons of displaced carbon emissions by 2050*
Pretty impressive numbers.  But, because someone always thinks to ask, what about the emissions that will be generated constructing this line? The plan is that this line will eventually run 800 miles from Sacramento to San Diego, and according a report ordered by state lawmakers the first 29 mile leg is estimated to generate 30,107 metric tons of CO2e.  Now, I could call our newest team member, Sarah into the office to work this out for me (she does hold a MS in Applied Mathematics after all) but I think I can run the rough numbers on my own, so lets give this a try, shall we? For ease of my math I'm rounding and saying every mile built produces 1,000 tons CO2e in the process.  Given that, 

Well then.  Even if construction produces double the estimated 800,000 C02e there's still a huge rate of diversion of GHG emissions! 

There's a lot of controversy over high-speed rail.  Especially in our region, but on the value of GHG emission reduction alone it looks like a pretty good thing.  Additionally the state intends to buy renewable power to run the line with an assumed mix of 
  • 20% solar
  • 40% wind
  • 35% geothermal
  • 5% biogas converted
DISCLAIMER: The SJVCEO has publicly supported high-speed rail in California since 2008.