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Sustainable Development Update
August 31, 2017

Sustainable Development Focus

Five million commercial customers could cut costs with energy storage

Renewable Energy World - Aug 25 The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Clean Energy Group have released the first comprehensive public analysis detailing the potential size of the commercial behind-the-meter battery storage market in the U.S. NREL analyzed over 10,000 utility tariffs in 48 states, finding that more than 5 million of the 18 million commercial customers across the country may be able to cost-effectively reduce their utility bills with battery storage technologies. This represents a substantial market opportunity for behind-the-meter battery storage, which can be installed to control peak demand and lower electricity bills by reducing demand charges.

The demand for sustainability has trickled down to data centers

Bisnow - Aug 22 Sustainability is no longer a fad in commercial real estate development — it is standard practice throughout the industry. Even if a project is not seeking LEED status, incorporating sustainable practices can attract top tenants and save a fortune in long-term operating costs. For data center operators, those savings can be substantial, given how much electricity is needed to power servers and cooling systems. The average electrical costs for most data centers can exceed $1M/month. Reducing that, either through operational efficiencies or incorporating renewable energy sources, can save thousands — even hundreds of thousands, in the case of larger centers — annually. By using more efficient cooling systems, coupled with using virtualization to ensure that servers are operating at close to capacity, data center users can boost their savings to seven figures. 

UC campuses among the greenest in the country

University of California - Aug 28 Seven UCs are among the top 50 most sustainable universities in the U.S., according to Sierra Magazine’s newly released 2017 “Cool Schools” list. UC Irvine ranked in the top 10 for the eighth consecutive year, an achievement unmatched by any other school. UC Irvine’s innovative energy solutions received particular recognition this year: ‘smart’ labs that have reduced campus energy consumption by 50 percent; the first power-to-gas hydrogen project in the country; and a zero-emission, hydrogen-fuel-cell bus fleet ready to debut this fall. UC Merced broke the top 50 for the first time this year, improving its 2016 position by more than 30 spots. UC Merced is on track to meet its ambitious Triple Zero Commitment — to consume zero net energy and produce zero waste and zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 — and it is the only university in the nation to have all of its buildings certified by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.

Port of Long Beach sets emissions reduction record

Los Angeles Business Journal - Aug 25 The Port of Long Beach reduced its air pollution levels in 2016 by a record amount as it moves toward a goal of zero emissions, according to a study released last week. The air emissions report concluded that the port saw an 88 percent decline in diesel particulates last year compared to 2005 while other pollution levels also declined, mostly due to the port’s green initiatives. The study was conducted by an independent agency for the port and was reviewed by government entities including the Environmental Protection Agency.

GRID continues low-income solar mission with help from Tesla donation

Solar Industry Magazine - Aug 25 U.S. nonprofit solar installer GRID Alternatives has announced a major solar panel donation from Tesla that will support solar power for an estimated 150 low-income households across the country. The 569 kW of donated equipment will also unlock 15,000 hours of hands-on job training through GRID’s unique community participation model, according to the nonprofit.

Sunrun partners with Comcast to offer residential solar to customers

PV-Tech - Aug 25 Residential solar, storage, and energy services provider Sunrun has reached an agreement with global media and technology company Comcast designed to spur the adoption of solar energy through the installation of Sunrun’s rooftop PV products. As part of the 40-month agreement, Sunrun will be the exclusive residential solar energy provider for Comcast Cable, while Comcast Cable will serve as one of Sunrun’s strategic partners through marketing campaigns in selected markets. According to a 2017 Bloomberg New Energy Finance report, rooftop solar is expected to be one of the fastest growing sectors in the energy market, nearly tripling in size in the U.S. by 2025.

A new net-zero-energy community is coming to California’s Central Valley

Greentech Media - Aug 29 California’s largest net-zero-energy housing development is coming next year to the Central Valley. Third-generation homebuilder De Young Properties unveiled the 36-unit project Tuesday in Clovis, northeast of Fresno. The company has spent years redesigning its signature floor plans to include cost-effective energy efficiency improvements. The goal is to minimize the building’s electrical load and install enough rooftop solar to cover what remains, matching consumption, and production over the year. California is driving new home construction to net-zero energy by 2020 through the building code, as part of a broader climate goal to cut greenhouse gases from its economy. 

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