CURRENTS is the Local Government Commission’s free quarterly newsletter providing local elected officials and staff with current information on energy issues affecting California local governments.
Recovery and Resilience Takes a Village
Part 3 of the “Coping with Local Crises” Series

Just when we dared to hope we were out of the woods and onto recovery, variants, wildfires, and storms have reminded us that we’ll be facing ongoing “outbreaks” and the “long haul effects” – of both the pandemic and the climate crisis – for years to come.

This paper is the first of a 3-part series exploring timely examples of how local governments can achieve energy and climate goals by forming or supporting collaborations across agencies, sectors, and jurisdictional boundaries. The three parts do so by evaluating three types of local energy and climate initiatives, all of which typically demand cross- agency and cross- sector collaboration.

Building Performance Standards: An Emerging Policy Tool for Existing Building Decarbonization

The pathway towards deep decarbonization must go through existing buildings. Today’s existing building stock accounts for roughly 40% of the energy-related global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and approximately two-thirds of that stock will still exist in 2050. Six cities and two states have become trailblazers by enacting laws to establish the nation’s first building performance standards (BPSs) focused on existing buildings. 

The trailblazing jurisdictions have different rulesets for their BPSs and some implementation details are still being finalized. In this article you will find a snapshot of the current BPSs and how they differ.

Incentives Based on GHG Savings for New 3C-REN Multifamily Program

The launch of 3C-REN’s Multifamily Home Energy Savings Program in October brought the first residential energy efficiency program focused on comprehensive, whole-building upgrades to the Central Coast.

The Multifamily Program offers incentives for energy efficient upgrades to eligible multifamily properties throughout San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties, with goals of lowering energy bills for both property owners and tenants, improving the health and safety of multifamily buildings, making living spaces more comfortable, and reducing energy use to protect the environment.

Helping Native communities attain ​‘energy sovereignty’ with solar

Built on reservation land in Anza Valley, the Santa Rosa Community Solar Project is the first community-scale solar project in the state targeted toward helping low-income customers cut their electricity bills. It is the product of a $2.5 million grant awarded by the California Department of Community Services and Development to fund nearly 1 megawatt of locally produced energy for the Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians

SoCalREN Celebrates 200 Agencies Dedicated to Building a Sustainable Clean Energy Future

The Southern California Regional Energy Network (SoCalREN) is now officially 200 public agencies strong! In October, SoCalREN enrolled the City of El Segundo, marking the 200th agency to join our network – a fitting milestone for energy awareness month!

Quick-Build Puts Bike-Friendly Design within Reach for California Communities

The steep rise in biking and walking during the pandemic added urgency to a long-standing problem—long lead times and high costs make it challenging to build the infrastructure we need now. CalBike, California’s statewide bicycle coalition, advanced a solution: a guide to quick-build design principles.

In 2021, communities showed that they could respond quickly when the circumstances demand it. In 2022, CalBike hopes to secure grant funding for a California city that will plan and complete an entire bike network in just three years.

Fellow Spotlight: Equitably Electrifying California’s Existing Buildings

Nico Predock feels lucky to work with one of the Nation’s leading cities in sustainability, the City of Santa Monica. Working with the City of Santa Monica, Nico is participating in a Rocky Mountain Institute-led program called the California Equitable Home Electrification Program. Through this program, the City has partnered with the Santa Monica Black Lives Association (SMBLA). Together, through a series of workshops, the City and SMBLA will work to develop policies and plans that equitably address electrification of Santa Monica’s existing building stock.

Nico is hoping to continue to conduct research, build relationships with local constituents and work with colleagues to equitably electrify Santa Monica’s buildings.