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Sustainable Development Update
December 7, 2018
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Sustainable Development Focus

U.S. could triple solar power capacity by 2045 by installing panels on all new homes

SOLAR POWER WORLD - Dec 3 If builders start putting solar panels on all new American homes in 2020, the United States could more than triple its current solar power capacity by 2045, according to a new report released this week by Environment America Research & Policy Center. Such a policy could also cut current annual carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation by more than 9 percent by 2045. In May, California became the first state to propose building all new homes with solar panels. That policy will go into effect in 2020.


California officially becomes first state in nation to mandate solar power for new homes

THE MERCURY NEWS - Dec 6 California officially became the first state in the nation on Wednesday to require that homes built in 2020 and later be solar powered. To a smattering of applause, the California Building Standards Commission voted unanimously to add energy standards approved last May by another panel to the state building code. The new provisions are expected to dramatically boost the number of rooftop solar panels in the state. Last year, builders took out permits for more than 115,000 new homes — almost half of them for single-family homes. In addition to the solar mandate, the new provisions tighten green homebuilding standards, with such requirements as thicker attic and wall insulation, more efficient windows and doors, and improved ventilation systems. They also encourage developers to add battery storage and heat-pump water heaters to new homes.

California regions ‘moving in the wrong direction’ to meet climate goals, agency finds

SACRAMENTO BEE - Nov 26 California has some of the most ambitious clean air goals in the country, but a report released last week by the Air Resources Board shows communities are not on track to meet them. The state recently announced it met its goal to reduce emissions to 1990 levels four years early. The regional targets are separate from that goal. But communities will need to significantly reduce transportation emissions to reach the state’s next goal of lowering emissions another 40 percent by 2030, according to the report. “It’s a wake-up call,” said Ella Wise of ClimatePlan California, a nonprofit group that advocates for sustainable land use and transportation policies. She attributes the results to local governments failing to invest in public transportation, build affordable housing near transit, and make it easier for people to walk or bike to work instead of driving.

Senator Wiener pushes new bill for more housing near city centers

SFGATE - Dec 4 Senator Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, this week introduced a bill that would allow for the construction of more homes near city hubs throughout the state, while protecting renters and vulnerable residents currently living there from displacement. Senate Bill 50, the More HOMES (Housing, Opportunity, Mobility, Equity, and Stability) Act, is modeled after Senate Bill 827, which was introduced by Wiener earlier this year but did not pass, and would eliminate restrictive low-density zoning near transit and job centers and create new zoning standards for those areas. The new zoning would clear the way for the construction of apartment buildings in those regions, allowing for more people to live and work within areas connected by public transit, and thus reducing carbon emissions by taking more vehicles off California roads. Wiener's office said SB 50 would reduce pressure to create urban sprawl in areas prone to wildfires by creating more affordable and low-income housing within city centers.

Metro secures $100-million federal grant to extend the Purple Line to West L.A.

LOS ANGELES TIMES - Nov 28 The Los Angeles County subway project that will whisk commuters from the Westside to downtown in less than half an hour will receive $100 million in federal grants next year, the Federal Transit Administration said Wednesday. The federal funds are earmarked for the final leg of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s $9-billion project to extend the Purple Line from its terminus in Koreatown to a station near the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs campus, just west of the 405 Freeway. Most of the nine-mile subway extension will run beneath Wilshire Boulevard, which is the busiest transit corridor in Los Angeles County and has one of the highest concentrations of jobs and housing in Southern California. The project is expected to generate 78,000 new daily trips on the county’s growing rail system.

Santa Monica will stop using imported water by 2023, three years behind schedule

SANTA MONICA DAILY PRESS - Dec 4 Santa Monica's plan to achieve water independence is three years behind schedule due to delays in securing permits. The city is using about 20 percent less imported water than it did in 2011, when the City Council set a goal of achieving water self-sufficiency by 2020. At a recent meeting, City Council staff said changes to state laws have also presented a challenge. Importing water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) is more expensive than using local water, and the gap will only continue to widen. Relying on local water will also make the city less vulnerable to the effects of future droughts. The Colorado River, MWD’s main water supply, is going through its longest drought in recorded history and could be subject to rationing by mid-2020. Staff said that after 2023, Santa Monica will be more prepared to handle the effects of climate change on its water supply than the rest of the region.

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Chine Jeffrey A Jeffrey A. Chine
Partner
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Devine William R William R. Devine
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Renée Louise Robin Renée Louise Robin
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