Energy efficiency, electric cars to be key to region's climate-protection plans
NORTH BAY - North Bay actions to meet state and local goals in the next five to 10 years for putting a lid on human-caused climate change are poised to heat up this year.
Transportation-related emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for climate change account for half or more of such emissions in the Bay Area, according to regional air-quality officials. Second to that are calculated emissions from energy use in homes and businesses. So local efforts to turn back the dial on emissions are focusing on changing the mix of vehicles, transportation habits and energy efficiency in structures.
In line with reducing emissions from buildings and transportation, Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority will be focusing this year on expanding the nationally recognized energy-efficiency project financing program as well as installing a network of charging stations for the planned arrival of a fleet of electric cars this fall.
“The goal is to retrofit 80 percent of the buildings in the county to have a 30 percent improvement in energy efficiency performance,” said David Brennan, climate protection coordinator.
The county’s governments have set a more aggressive carbon-cutting goal than the state, calling for a 25 percent reduction in emissions below 1990 levels by 2015.
The authority and the Santa Rosa-based Climate Protection Campaign plan this spring to expand the reach of the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program for financing property retrofits. Santa Rosa Junior College and the Workforce Investment Board are developing curriculum for certified building performance contractor and HERS-2 professional energy-efficiency certification programs.
“We need to develop protocols for loading order, which would be customized so the property owners would spend the least amount for the greatest efficiency,” Mr. Brennan said.
Also to be part of the discussion on green-building standards this year will be potential for standardizing such policies countywide.
And funding is still being sought for charging stations to support the County of Sonoma’s deal with Nissan Motor Corp. to bring up to 1,000 electric vehicles into the county starting as early as October.
In Marin, multi-pronged efforts to increase building energy performance and take much of the county population to renewable local energy are set to build momentum this year.
The Marin Climate & Energy Partnership, which is made up of a number of Marin governments and agencies, has released a draft countywide mandatory green-building ordinance created with input from real estate and building industry professionals. Local governments are set to consider the draft guidelines from Marin Green Building, Energy Retrofit and Solar Transformation (BERST) program early in 2010.
Meanwhile, the Marin Energy Authority has been getting input from Sonoma County and other locales that have set up an AB 811 financing program.
Key to a climate-action plan for Napa County set to take shape in early 2010 are decreasing the number of vehicle miles traveled in Napa Valley and the amount of electricity and natural gas consumed to heat, cool and light its structures, according to Eliot Hurwitz.