Sonoma, Marin Napa officials fashion plans on commutes, buildings
NORTH BAY – Working under state, regional and local deadlines to reverse human-caused climate change, leaders in the battle from Sonoma, Marin and Napa counties are readying weapons against warming.
All California counties are under the Legislative mandate to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by 25 percent by 2035 under Assembly Bill 32 of 2006, and Sonoma County governments have given themselves until 2015 to do that.
Commuting in much of the suburban and rural North Bay is making the local fight more about the tailpipe. Emissions from cars, trucks and other forms of transportation account for 55 percent of the total in Napa County, 63 percent in Marin County and 60 percent in Sonoma County, according to recent inventories.
[caption id="attachment_15606" align="alignright" width="324" caption="Dave Brennan | Eliot Hurwitz | Richard Schorske"][/caption]
While Yountville's carbon-dioxide-equivalent emissions based on vehicle miles traveled, or VMTs, put the town at No. 10 most efficient among the 101 Bay Area cities and towns in a recent study, some Sonoma County localities were in the bottom third, with Cotati at No. 92; Petaluma, No. 99; and Windsor, No. 101.
The Bay Area Simplified Simulation of Travel, Energy and Greenhouse Gases, or BASSTEGG, household-based model by the Association of Bay Area Governments, or ABAG, is quite revealing about where local priorities need to be focused, according to David Brennan, regional climate protection coordinator for the Sonoma County Transportation Authority.
"People live where they want to," he said. "If you want to get serious about reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, you need to look at transportation."
Reduction of emissions from transportation factor heavily into plans and programs under way not only in Sonoma County but also in Marin and Napa counties. Discussing these efforts at the Business Journal's Going Green 2009 conference in Rohnert Park on Oct. 8 will be Mr. Brennan; Richard Schorske, climate action director for the Marin Climate & Energy Partnership; and Eliot Hurwitz, program manager for the Napa County Transportation and Planning Agency.
Key efforts in Sonoma County aimed at controlling climate change are the 6-month-old Sonoma County Energy Independence Program, or SCEIP, an energy-efficiency retrofit campaign for existing buildings set to start next year; the 1,000-electric-vehicle pilot program with Nissan Motor Co. in fall 2010; and the planned start of commuter rail service in 2014.
Based on the voluntary energy-efficiency assessment districts allowed under Assembly Bill 811 of last year, SCEIP started in April to provide long-term financing for energy-efficiency retrofits to residential and commercial properties tied to the property.
Building on that program and fueled by the phase-in of nonresidential-property energy-efficiency reporting next year per Assembly Bill 1103, the transportation authority last week launched into design of a countywide building-retrofit program along with Berkeley-based Build It Green and the counties of Alameda and Los Angeles.
Part of the planning will be getting input from stakeholders such as property owners, standardizing energy audits and working with Santa Rosa Junior College and the Workforce Investment Board on training retrofitters.
"What we're trying to do is bring qualifications to certain levels for building retrofits and the scope of work based on standard practice for identifying and creating a 'building order' to show if certain improvements get done then you will get return on investment in a short period and if you do others you will get a longer return," Mr. Brennan said. "Hopefully, we will create a building-retrofit plan that pays for itself."