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The built environment accounts for approximately half the energy use and carbon footprint of the United States. Lean Buildings reduce energy flows by tapping basic natural heating and cooling techniques and renewable energy sources in ways that are region-specific and climate-sensitive. This paper offers strategies to reduce material and energy consumption, including the use of local and recycled materials, heavy insulation, building orientation, passive solar systems, and dense urban configurations. Issues of energy quantity and quality, energy codes and metrics, as well as building size and configuration, are also discussed.
The U.S. housing market has seen significant transformation in the last few years, calling for a return of smaller, more efficient dwellings. Design and construction principles from places like the Philippines where pragmatic building practices employing simple construction methods with local, readily available materials are more common may offer useful techniques for developing Lean Housing in the United States.
Climate change impacts do not affect all communities in the same way. Frontline communities including low-income communities, communities of color, indigenous peoples and tribal nations, and immigrant communities suffer first and worst from climate disasters. This is due to decades of underinvestment and unjust systems that have left these communities with disproportionately high costs for energy, transportation and basic necessities, limited access to public services, high levels of poverty and pollution, and outdated and weak critical infrastructure. Climate change exacerbates these injustices that frontline communities face, making climate adaptation and community resilience essential priorities. Strategies to tackle climate change must prioritize the most impacted and least resourced communities. California must develop programs and policies that truly center social equity in climate adaptation efforts and uplift frontline communities so that they do not simply “bounce back” to the unjust status quo after climate disasters strike but are able to “bounce forward” as healthy, resilient and sustainable communities. This report provides specific recommendations on how to operationalize social equity in the goals, process, implementation and analysis of policies and grant programs focused on climate adaptation. The report includes examples from existing policies and grant programs to illustrate what the recommendations look like in practice.
Climate change grant programs can provide multiple benefits, including improved air quality, lower electricity costs, improved health outcomes, and green job opportunities. However, these benefits often fail to reach low-income communities of color—even though these communities tend to live in the most polluted neighborhoods and stand to greatly benefit from the improved environmental and economic conditions that clean energy resources can provide. Climate change grant programs represent one way to level the playing field and make clean energy benefits reach all communities, but they must be designed intentionally with equity. Grant programs must clearly define their social equity goals and develop evaluation criteria to track success. The analysis should indicate the strengths and areas for improvement in meeting equity goals and should be used to inform the direction of the program moving forward. Programs must plan proactively to collect the data needed to evaluate their success or shortcomings in meeting social equity goals.
Property managers often struggle to get technically sound energy efficiency and renewable energy projects approved for financial reasons. Sometimes the split incentive embedded in leases makes projects uneconomic for the building owner. Other times, property managers simply cannot get internal capital allocated to clean energy efficiency projects or cannot gain approval for the use of external financing. For commercial real estate property owners, Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing can remove the typical barriers to the implementation of energy efficiency improvements.
Under the City\'s RENEW LA Plan, the City committed reaching Zero Waste by diverting 70% of the solid waste generated in the City by 2013, diverting 90% by 2025, and becoming a zero waste city by 2030. State law currently requires at least 50% solid waste diversion and establishes a state-wide goal of 75% diversion by 2020. Moreover, state law requires mandatory commercial recycling in all businesses and multifamily complexes and imposes additional reporting requirements on local agencies, including the City. In order to meet these requirements and goals, increasing recycling and diversion in the commercial and multifamily waste sectors is imperative. The commercial and multifamily sectors produce most of the City\'s solid waste. Currently, a significant amount of commercial and multifamily solid waste generated in the City, including recyclables and organics, is going to landfills, resulting in unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions. The City has a responsibility under state law to ensure effective and efficient waste and recycling service for its businesses and residents. It will most successfully fulfill that responsibility, and also meet its own Zero Waste policy goals, by ensuring that its solid waste, including recyclables and organics, are collected, transported and processed in a manner that reduces environmental and social impacts on the City and the region.
This report evaluates LA County\'s waste and recycling systems highlight how localities can keep costs down while maintaining quality and equitable service. The report finds exclusive franchise systems provide the county to the best deal.
This report is based on dozens of interviews with practitioners, academics, and community members, as well as a review of various reports, studies, and surveys. It shares the resulting findings through key research insights, a review of best practices, and relevant examples. It seeks to broaden awareness, discourse, and adoption of community control of land and housing strategies among various stakeholders who have a genuine desire to see stable, healthy, equitable, and sustainable local communities flourish. These stakeholders include community activists, municipal officials, economic development professionals, community development practitioners, anchor institution leaders, and social investors.
This report examines the state of technology for electric trucks and buses, their life cycle emissions, and job opportunities presented by an expanding market for electric heavy-duty vehicles. While clean air and climate policies across the country have sparked sales of passenger electric vehicles, deployment of similar technologies for heavy-duty trucks and buses has been slower. California is shifting this balance, with policies and investments to bring electric trucks and buses to market. With recent innovation, these vehicles can meet the requirements of many demanding applications. And with the right job-training and equitable hiring policies and programs, California’s emerging electric truck and bus sector can provide opportunities to increase employment in underserved communities. Pollutants from heavy-duty vehicles pose health risks at all stages of life, from premature births to premature deaths. Studies have associated air pollution with adverse effects on nearly every organ system in the body. While air pollution affects us all, low-income communities and communities of color are more likely to be located near ports, rail yards, ware- houses, and busy roads, where they suffer disproportionally from the consequences of dirty air. These localized inequities are particularly important because mitigation strategies to reduce regional air pollution may not address disproportion- ate exposure to pollutants at the local level.
Community leaders care most about an issue when their own constituents are involved. Having local property owners voice an interest in PACE is a great way to get the attention of a government board. Form partnerships with stakeholders in the community through chambers of commerce or homeowner associations. Make things easy for constituents by providing template letters of support and contact information for elected officials.