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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transportation and basic necessities, limited access to public services, high levels of poverty and pollution, and outdated and weak critical infrastructure.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.
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 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.
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.
In this report, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) outline a new model for recycling job growth with the potential to encourage quality jobs and to improve the environment. LAANE is advocating for a transformation of the waste and recycling industry in Los Angeles while promoting good jobs, thriving communities and a healthy environment. Developing a clean recycling economy can be one of the greatest economic and environmental opportunities of our time. Despite a global resource crisis, Los Angeles is on the verge of transforming its waste and recycling system into a national model that will result in maximum recycling and reuse of materials for economic benefit, with government and industry as a strategic partner in managing resources, and a sustainable workforce infrastructure for skilled laborers, entrepreneurs, and innovators.
Managing a city’s waste and recycling sector is a core governmental responsibility and, when done well, helps cities realize benefits and meet constituents’ expectations. Residents expect government to prevent pollution and protect neighborhoods, create good quality jobs, and operate transparently and efficiently. Cities can do just that by cleaning up waste and recycling management, and establishing practices in full compliance with California laws that call for an increase in recycling. City staff often lack the time and resources needed to comprehensively research and resolve the complex issues of waste and recycling management. Management practices differ, with varying degrees of effectiveness. Some cities directly manage waste collection; others award exclusive service contracts to franchised waste haulers. Others enter into non-exclusive franchise agreements with multiple companies, while a few require only a hauler permit. Bringing together years of research and analysis in waste and recycling management, this report provides solutions – and a blueprint for cities to follow. The report concludes that strong municipal and exclusive franchise systems are the best ways for cities to manage waste and recycling, and defines the best practices that cities should adopt to fine-tune these systems and secure benefits. Cities with open permit or non-exclusive franchise systems should begin the transition to an exclusive franchise waste system for maximum benefits.
Resolving our society’s trash problem is one of the major environmental challenges of our time. In Los Angeles County, this crisis has reached urgent proportions. As one of the largest waste markets in the country, Los Angeles County generates 23 million tons of waste and recyclable materials and sends over 10 million tons of waste to landfills each year. Many of the remaining landfills in the county will reach capacity and close in the coming years, and officials project that as early as 2014, we will be making more trash than our landfills can handle. The City of Los Angeles creates a third of the county’s waste that goes to landfills and therefore has a major role to play in addressing this crisis. Recognizing this, the City has set an ambitious and worthy goal of becoming a zero waste city by 2030. However, reaching this goal will be impossible without reforming the dysfunctional and inefficient trash collection and processing system for the City’s businesses and large apartment complexes. Reforming this system is key to reaching not only the City’s recycling goals but also its goal of creating new green jobs in the recycling sector. In the midst of one of the worst economic crises in modern history, the City of Los Angeles’ unemployment rate stands at an alarming 14 percent. By raising standards for the waste industry, the City can create good green jobs to put people back to work, bring families out of poverty and rebuild the local economy.