Ex-Sebastopol executive coordinating programs on greenhouse-gas cuts
[caption id="attachment_11722" align="alignleft" width="97" caption="David Brennan, Regional Climate Protection Coordinator for Sonoma County."][/caption]
SANTA ROSA - Former Sebastopol City Manager David Brennan has assumed a new role as the regional climate protection coordinator with the Sonoma County Transportation Authority.
His task is to work with the local leadership of the cities, county, SCTA, the Sonoma County Water Agency, local nonprofits and others to define roles, develop partnerships, coordinate policy development and to leverage shared resources.
The goal of the Regional Climate Protection Coordination Program is to organize and focus countywide efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Sonoma County to 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2015 and to ensure that local goals are in line with those mandated by AB 32 and SB 375.
"All of these entities have been reviewing the various federal stimulus programs and legislative bills to see how these resources can be brought to Sonoma County to help achieve its objectives. Until recently, each organization has been acting independently, but now there is recognition that increased coordination will result in greater efficiencies and regional benefits," said Mr. Brennan, who was appointed to the position last spring.
Last May, city managers discussed ways to reduce competition for available resources, set priorities and eliminate duplication when implementing climate protection plans.
The Regional Climate Protection Coordination Program was conceived and endorsed by the Sonoma County Mayors and Council Members Association and all nine cities as well as by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.
The SCTA board was selected by all local municipalities to serve as a policy making forum for exchanging information, planning future directions and to serve as catalyst for collective action.
"There must be a high level of trust among all partners so everyone's interests are represented. I'm working with these entities as well as PG&E, the Climate Protection Campaign and the business community to gather input so we can have a draft coordination plan ready for review by August. We want to obtain final SCTA board approval of the plan and specific recommendations by year end."
While the transportation sector is responsible for 60 percent of GHG emissions, buildings are the biggest energy users. One aspect of the plan, which is already being developed, is a countywide building retrofit program to help owners find ways to make commercial and residential buildings more energy efficient.
The ultimate goal is to retrofit 80 percent of the buildings in Sonoma County to achieve a 30 percent improvement in energy efficiency. The program will include energy audits that will identify building deficiencies and make recommendations to the owners as to the best returns on investment costs. An energy rating system is also being discussed to certify buildings according to energy efficiency criteria.
"Homes have greater selling features if they have upgraded carpeting, fresh paint, granite countertops and curb-appeal landscaping, so why not establish a method for evaluating properties based on the health, comfort and financial benefits associated with energy use," he said.
Retrofits typically involve installing higher R-factor insulation, dual pane windows, caulking gaps in the building envelope, and sealing HVAC duct leaks along with similar improvements.