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Sustainable Development Update
March 15, 2018
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Sustainable Development Focus

How residential and office developers are preparing for the realities of net zero

URBAN LAND - Mar 12 In 2017, California passed the first net-zero building code in the United States (for new residential construction by 2020). New York City, Washington, D.C., and other cities have made net-zero building commitments as well, for both new and existing buildings. While a perception remains that achieving net zero is too costly for most residential and office development, a few pioneering development companies are figuring out how to deliver net-zero and net-zero-ready projects with a high net-present value at scale. For example, Meritage delivers 10,000 energy-efficient homes to the market each year, using its streamlined manufacturing operations and its economies of scale. Every home has high-efficiency heating, cooling, and lighting technology incorporated into the design. Each house is super-insulated, and includes high-efficiency windows and doors to fight heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer. To achieve net zero, customers can meet their (already low) utility expenses with a relatively modest on-site renewable energy system (one panel per 200 square foot, or a ten- to 15-panel system [2.5 kilowatts] for a 2,000-square-foot home).


Military tests electric vehicle-to-microgrid use at Miramar base in San Diego

MICROGRID KNOWLEDGE - Mar 8 U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego is the site of a new electric vehicle-to-microgrid-utility grid test and demonstration project, led by Berkeley Lab and funded by the California Energy Commission. Six electric passenger vans will be equipped with bidirectional, vehicle-to-grid charge/discharge capability and integrated into the air station’s site-wide microgrid during the project’s first phase. The pilot system subsequently will be interconnected to San Diego Gas & Electric’s grid during the two year-long project. Miramar’s microgrid will be able to draw energy from, as well as recharge, the electric vans’ lithium-ion batteries when the vehicles are parked and plugged into charging stations. Should the local utility grid fail, the vans will rely solely on the base’s microgrid, operating in back-up, island mode, to continue functioning.

State bill would allow S.F. to charge cars for downtown entry

SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER - Mar 11 In a bid to tackle ever-worsening traffic on California roadways, including the Bay Area, and to boost use of public transit, new legislation would allow the creation of congestion pricing programs in the state. Congestion pricing plans require drivers to pay a toll to enter specific areas, usually a downtown city center or dense urban core. The concept has been pitched for San Francisco before and has often met fiery opposition. But at least one city lawmaker said that if the state bill passes, he will introduce legislation implementing it in the city. The bill is tentatively scheduled to be heard in committee for the first time March 19, according to state documents. The bill would remove legal barriers at the state level and allow local jurisdictions to pass their own congestion pricing pilot programs, called “Go Zones,” in four unnamed California cities. The bill says two pilots would be in Southern California and two in Northern California.

U.S. residential and utility-scale solar markets see installations fall for the first time

GREENTECH MEDIA - Mar 15 A cumulative 10.6 gigawatts of solar photovoltaics were installed across the U.S. in 2017, according to a new report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). That’s way down from the 15 gigawatts installed in the record-breaking 2016, but it still represents 40 percent growth over the installation total in 2015. The residential and utility-scale segments both saw installations fall on an annual basis for the first time since GTM Research and SEIA began publishing the Solar Market Insight report in 2010. SEIA and GTM Research first chronicled the residential solar slowdown in California last spring, which was attributed to a wet winter and saturation in the state’s largest solar market. Over the remainder of the year, the phenomenon of customer-acquisition challenges had spread to other established solar markets, including Massachusetts, Nevada, and Hawaii.

California school district looks to save more than $5 million with energy partnership

PROUD GREEN BUILDING - Mar 12 The Pasadena Unified School District is partnering with Schneider Electric to improve energy efficiency throughout its facilities and enhance STEM education programs. In total, the project will generate $5.3 million in energy and operational savings, according to a press release. The project is being delivered through an energy savings performance contract, which uses projected energy savings to pay for projects over time. This model helps school districts implement facilities improvements and initiatives they otherwise might not be able to afford, including expanded STEM programs. Energy efficiency improvements will be implemented at the Eliot Arts Magnet Academy and Marshall Fundamental Secondary School. Savings will come from a wide variety of energy conservation measures including interior and exterior LED lighting upgrades with occupancy sensors and automated dimming controls and building automation system upgrades.

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Perry Patrick A Patrick A. Perry
Partner
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Renée Louise Robin Renée Louise Robin
Senior Counsel
Environmental & Natural Resources | Land Use & Development
San Francisco
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(415) 837-1516 (fax)
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Upcoming Events

Is Microtransit the Future of Public Transit?
SPUR
March 22, 2018
Oakland, CA

California Solar Power Expo
SEIA and SEPA
March 27 - 28, 2018
San Diego, CA

Community Choice Energy Summit: Southern California Edition
Infocast
April 24 - 26, 2018
San Diego, CA


 

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