Updates: Office of Energy and Sustainable Development
News and the latest information about energy efficiency rebates, Berkeley Climate Action Plan and other City Sustainability programs. Subscribe to this page for update notifications.
CaliforniaFIRST: Low-Cost, Long-Term Financing for Clean Energy Projects in Commercial Buildings (updated 2/21/2013)
The CaliforniaFIRST Program is a solar and clean energy financing program for non-residential properties. CaliforniaFIRST allows property owners to finance the installation of energy and water improvements on commercial, industrial or multi-family (over 5 units) buildings and pay the amount back as a line item on their property tax bill. CaliforniaFIRST uses an innovative framework called Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) to connect property owners to low-cost
Property owners often enjoy the following program benefits:
- Lower interest rate
- Longer payback period (up to 20 years)
- Property qualified financing; not credit-based
- Repayment obligation stays with property if property is sold or transferred
- Flexible and negotiated financing transaction
CaliforniaFIRST program staff is available to answer additional questions via email info@CaliforniaFIRST.org or phone at (510) 692-9995. For more information, see: https://californiafirst.org
Flex Package Makes Earning Energy Efficiency Rebates Easier for Alameda County Homeowners: Limited-time rebate offers new options to earn $1,500 for energy improvements (updated 1/17/2013)
For a limited time, Alameda County homeowners looking to lower their utility bills and enhance home comfort can qualify for $1,500 in rebates for energy-saving home improvements through Flex Package. Rebates are available on a first-come, first-served basis to owners of single-family homes in Alameda County, and are offered through Energy Upgrade California.
To qualify for Flex Package, homeowners must simply install two or more qualifying measures with a combined point value of 100 or greater using an Energy Upgrade California Participating Contractor. More advanced improvements are worth more points.
"For Alameda County homeowners considering home improvements in the new year, the Flex Package is a great reason to incorporate energy efficiency upgrades at the same time," said Wendy Sommer, Principal Program Manager at StopWaste.Org, the local government agency that is leading Energy Upgrade California in Alameda County. "Flex Package offers homeowners the flexibility to choose the energy improvements that make the most sense for their home and budget and to earn $1,500 in rebates." For more information about Flex Package and a list of Energy Upgrade California Participating Contractors, visit AlamedaFlex.Org.
Climate Action 2020: What will it take to Achieve Berkeley’s Climate Action Goals? (updated 11/20/2012)
The Office of Energy & Sustainable Development (OESD) is responsible for coordinating implementation of the City’s Climate Action Plan. On Tuesday, November 13, 2012, OESD provided the City Council with an update on Berkeley’s global warming emissions trends and on scenarios for achieving the community emissions reduction target (33% reduction below 2000 levels by 2020). The main takeaway from the report was the following: while the community is making significant gains at reducing global warming emissions and has reduced emissions well below forecasted trends, we have substantially more work to do in order to achieve the community-wide emission reduction target. To date, community-wide emissions are 3% below baseline (year 2000) levels but 14% above the targeted trend.
To learn more about how we are progressing towards our Climate Action Plan goals and how you can make a difference see the following resources:
BERKELEY COMBATS CLIMATE CHANGE ONE BUILDING AT A TIME: Benchmarking Awards for Energy Smart Buildings (updated 11/16/2012)
The East Bay Environmental Network (EBEN) recently hosted the First Annual Benchmarking Awards Program to honor energy efficiency leaders among Berkeley's commercial and public buildings. Helen Meyer of Meyer Sound was the keynote speaker and Assemblymember Nancy Skinner presented the awards at the Zaentz Media Center (Fantasy Studios) in Berkeley (see press release). The awards were given on behalf of the City of Berkeley and are part of the Climate Action Plan which set bold goals for reducing energy waste and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
The following 26 entities were recognized for their dedication to energy efficiency and environmental stewardship:
|Alta Bates Summit Medical Center
||Berkwood Hedge School
||Civic Center, City of Berkeley
||David Brower Center
||Design Community & Environment
||University California at Berkeley
|Berkeley Chamber of Commerce
||Ed Roberts Campus
|Berkeley City College
||LJ Kruse Plumbing
|Berkeley Food and Housing Project
||Lawrence Berkeley Labs
||2530 San Pablo Avenue
|Berkeley Unified School District
|Berkeley Repertory Theater
Join a Climate Action Working Group (updated 11/13/2012)
The newly formed Berkeley Climate Action Coalition will collaborate to accelerate implementation of the Berkeley Climate Action Plan, adopted by the Berkeley City Council in 2009 and developed with input from a diverse group of community members and organizations.
Your leadership and expertise can more fully turn this plan into action.
The Coalition has five active working groups, each focused on carrying out at least one action from the Climate Action Plan within a year. The five working groups are:
- Land Use and Urban Gardening
- Multifamily Building Energy, Water Use and Waste
- Community Engagement and Neighborhood Greening
- Community Choice Energy
- Walking, Cycling and Public Transportation
Get involved! Join one of the working groups of the Berkeley Climate Action Coalition.
Federal Stimulus Support Energy Improvements at Local Businesses (updated 2/24/2012)
From microbreweries to fraternities, Berkeley invests in energy efficiency
The City of Berkeley awarded over a quarter of a million federal stimulus dollars in grants to local businesses and multifamily property owners to encourage major energy upgrades. The businesses and properties competed for funding based on their ability to leverage the award funding, provide local green jobs and maximize energy savings. The goal of the grant program was to stimulate the local economy and help meet Berkeley’s Climate Action goal to reduce energy usage by 33 percent by 2020.
Local microbrewery Trumer Brauerei, maker of Trumer Pils, was one of a dozen funded projects. Trumer applied their $30,000 stimulus grant towards the purchase of a $90,000 environmentally-friendly ozone sterilization system to sanitize pipes and storage tanks. Ozone technology naturally purifies water at lower temperatures (decreasing from 190 degrees down to 60 degrees) thereby saving energy used to heat the water and reducing the need for traditional chemical sanitizers. Ozone technology has long been used in water treatment facilities, food processing plants and even in wine industry but is only recently gaining momentum in the beer making sector.
“The green technology behind the ozone-generating equipment allows us to powerfully sanitize equipment on demand, with no residual environmental effects. We truly appreciate the support from the City of Berkeley and are pleased to run our operations in an environmentally-friendly method," said Lars Larson, Master Brewer at Trumer Brauerei Berkeley.
Other recipients of funding for energy upgrades include the Bancroft Hotel, the Berkeley Food and Housing Project, the Alameda County Homeless Action Center, UC Berkeley’s Cal Beta Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, two student cooperatives and several apartment buildings.
The Berkeley Food and Housing Project, a local social service agency providing programs and shelter for homeless individuals and families, received funding to replace the domestic hot water system with high efficiency boilers and a solar thermal hot water system at their women’s shelter. The solar thermal system is estimated to provide 60 percent of the energy required for all hot water use.
The Cal Beta Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity, replaced two water heaters with high-efficiency units. On top of the energy savings, the motivation for the fraternity was to enhance the comfort of the building and improve the safety of the combustion appliances.
In Berkeley, More Households Don't Equal More Energy Use (updated 12/19/2011)
Total residential energy use goes down 10 percent
One might think that the addition of more than a thousand Berkeley households in the last 10 years, plus the proliferation of electronic devices such as smart phones, tablets, and laptops, would mean higher residential energy use. But despite more households and the proliferation of electronics, total residential energy consumption in Berkeley decreased about 10 percent between 2000 and 2010.
In order to measure and report the status of progress toward Berkeley’s Climate Action Plan goals to the community, the City collects and publishes annual data measuring building energy use, solid waste diversion, and transportation trends. These metrics enable improved, informed management of local climate action strategies.
Between 2000 and 2010, residential natural gas consumption went down 11 percent in Berkeley. This is significant because natural gas, which is used primarily for home and water heating, accounts for nearly 80 percent of total residential energy consumption. Over that same time period, residential electricity consumption decreased 7 percent.
For more information about the Berkeley community’s energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions trends as well as other statistics and resources related to recycling, bicycling and walking, urban forestry, and more, visit www.cityofberkeley.info/climateprogress. For ideas on how to get involved in the local climate action effort, visit www.cityofberkeley.info/climate and click on “Take Action on Climate Change.”
Berkeley Recognized for Leadership on Climate Action (updated 7/12/2011)
ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA (ICLEI), a leading local government association working to combat climate change and promote sustainability, is awarding the City of Berkeley its prestigious Milestone 5 Award. The Milestone 5 Award recognizes Berkeley for its leadership, expertise, and persistence in acting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions locally.
The City of Berkeley adopted a bold Climate Action Plan (www.cityofberkeley.info/climate) in June of 2009 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the voter-approved target of 33 percent below 2000 levels by 2020 and 80 percent below 2000 levels by 2050. This award commends the City for its work in not only developing a robust plan but also achieving other important milestones, including implementing key strategies recommended in the plan and ensuring accountability by tracking and reporting progress toward the plan’s goals.
Berkeley continues to advance efforts to reduce the emissions that cause global warming. For example, in a sustained effort to reduce car usage and promote cycling, the City is continuously adding to Berkeley’s bicycle infrastructure. In 2010 the City and its partners opened the Downtown Berkeley Bike Station, which provides free, attended bicycle parking for 268 bikes. The City added an additional 160 bike racks throughout Berkeley that same year. Plans for more bicycle parking and improvements to the City’s Bicycle Boulevards continue into 2011. The City is also working to increase energy efficiency in buildings through its Money for Energy Efficiency Program, which uses federal stimulus dollars to generate local energy service jobs and provide rebates for deep energy upgrades.
Check out www.cityofberkeley.info/ClimateProgress to review progress on the climate plan.
Have Your Renewable Energy System Pay You! (updated 3/10/2011)
If you have an eligible renewable energy system (wind, solar or fuel cell) and have an existing Net Metering agreement with PG&E, you may now be able to get paid for any excess energy that you generate.
PG&E is offering a Small Renewable Generator rate (SRG) allowing you to sell back any excess energy you may produce in a month. In order to qualify for this “feed-in” rate, you must be able to provide either: (a) a telephone and modem; (b) an analog or digital phone connection; or (c) an internet portal address for PG&E’s Energy Data Services (“EDS”) that can be used to read the energy output on a daily basis.
For complete information, visit PG&E’s website. http://www.pge.com/b2b/energysupply/wholesaleelectricsuppliersolicitation/standardcontractsforpurchase/
STIMULUS FUNDING FLIPS THE SOLAR SWITCH ON
City of Berkeley receives over 100k from the U.S. Department of Energy to encourage solar locally (updated 11/5/09)
The City of Berkeley is one of sixteen cities nationwide to be granted the Solar America Cities Special Project Award for the purpose of spurring the adoption of solar installations. Through this award, the City of Berkeley is recognized for its innovative response to addressing the specific barriers to solar adoption and for its leadership in increasing the use of renewable energy. The economic stimulus funding from the United States Department of Energy (DOE) allows the City of Berkeley to support and enhance two existing programs--SmartSolar and the online Berkeley Solar Map-- to provide education and technical assistance directly to residents interested in implementing solar at their homes and businesses.
- Smart Solar: is a program of the nonprofit Community Energy Services Corporation.
- Berkeley SolarMap: is a City of Berkeley online map that analyzes the solar potential of building in Berkeley.
Each of these programs builds upon Berkeley’s commitment to educating and engaging local residents in how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by focusing on efficiency measures and solar energy. To learn more, visit the Berkeley Climate Action Plan website.
City residents and businesses interested in learning more about resources and services offered through SmartSolar should contact Community Energy Services Corporation at 510-981-7750 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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