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Exploring Utility and Local Government Partnerships to Fund Energy Efficiency
June 19, 2014

The Cap-and-Trade market has added a new dynamic to California’s greenhouse gas regulations. Utilities are faced with finding cost-effective ways to comply with their emissions reductions requirements. Energy efficiency at the local government level presents a large opportunity for saving energy that is currently not incentivized by the Cap-and-Trade system. Nevertheless, the emissions reductions resulting from saved energy can be valued against the cost of compliance instruments, which are projected to increase in price over time. This whitepaper presents a new framework under which local governments could partner with their load-serving utilities to move cost-effective energy efficiency projects forward.

January 15, 2014

The path to sustainability is difficult. Collaboration and joint efforts can help ease our journey. To this end, leaders from water and energy utilities as well as representatives from local governments of Southern California joined the Alliance for a roundtable discussion on opportunities to support each other in their efforts to promote energy and water efficiency. The 2013 Utility Sustainability Roundtable, the fourth such event, was held in September. This document summarizes the participants’ conversations, which centered around three main topics: The Water-Energy Nexus, Aligning City Planning and Utility Incentive Cycles, and Cap-and-Trade. 

March 13, 2012

The Alliance has developed a set of tools to help guide organizations through the process of greening their operations and staff behaviors. Intended to be an ongoing reference, the Green Tenant Guide aims to walk organizations through planning and implementing their sustainability program. Readers will learn how to work with organization leadership, property managers, and staff to set clear and feasible goals, establish buy-in and excitement among employees, define metrics, and measure and communicate results.

March 13, 2012

The Green Tenant Guide is designed to guide local governments through the process of greening their operations and staff behaviors. Intended to be an ongoing reference, the Green Tenant Guide aims to walk agencies through planning and implementing their sustainability program. Readers will learn how to work with organization leadership, property managers, and staff to set clear and feasible goals, establish buy-in and excitement among employees, define metrics, and measure and communicate results.

November 14, 2010

In November, 2011 the California Sustainability Alliance presented this poster at the Behavior, Energy and Climate Change Conference (BECC), on the role of utilities in overcoming split incentives in office buildings. Currently, commercial office buildings are responsible for over 14% of natural gas consumption and 24% of electricity consumption in the commercial sector, statewide. The poster discusses ways in which utilities can leverage the Alliance’s Green Leases Toolkit, which identifies how sustainability can be incorporated into the entire leasing process from both tenant and landlord perspectives. Additional potential utility programs are also outlined, such as rebates, financing, and marketing and outreach approaches.

September 8, 2010

Many local governments would prefer to buy green products and services, but don’t know where to start – or whether they can afford it. The Alliance’s Green Procurement Guide is designed to help local governments craft and implement green procurement policies, and shows that green products are a clear win. Often costing no more than conventional products, they can help local governments save money, create local green jobs, and reduce their environmental footprint. The guide incorporates case studies, simple steps to establish green procurement policies, and sample green bid specifications. While the guide is tailored for local government applications, all organizations can benefit from the policies, processes, and practical resources featured.

August 26, 2010

In May 2010, the Alliance led a roundtable discussion with representatives from leading utilities across the nation to share ideas and implementation strategies for sustainability and energy efficiency programs. The discussion revealed that despite significant advances in energy efficiency technologies and programs, many questions remain about how to implement innovative energy efficiency and sustainability programs in the face of aggressive new goals and changing regulatory environments. This document summarizes the participants’ views on the primary financing, regulatory, and technological barriers facing the industry, and addresses the changing role of utilities as smart grid and comprehensive sustainability programs are implemented.

March 30, 2010

Sustainable rehabilitation offers an opportunity to strategically combine various improvements in a way that can achieve utility cost savings, reduce consumption, and improve resident comfort and health. An integral part of a successful green housing strategy is planning in advance to establish policies, identify opportunities, implement a test pilot, and apply best practices. This strategy guide offers resources and information for developing a sustainability plan for multifamily housing projects. Incorporating sustainability at the planning level involves consideration of the following key actions: 1) Benchmarking your organization’s practices, policies and procedures, 2) Setting goals, developing strategies and actions, and 3) Assessing the sustainability of properties and areas for improvement.

March 30, 2010

One of the greatest challenges to improving sustainability of multifamily housing properties is the high up‐front cost of some energy and water efficiency measures. To help overcome this barrier, utilities and local, state, and federal governments have created innovative financing and incentive programs. These programs generally include rebates on equipment, tax incentives, grants, or low interest loans, and they vary greatly from location to location. This strategy guide includes an overview of some of the most commonly available funding mechanisms and financing strategies to support sustainability initiatives.

March 30, 2010

Sustainability improvements can create value in existing multifamily properties by reducing energy and water costs and increasing attractiveness to current and future tenants. While lack of resources often limits the extent of environmental improvements, it is important that property managers have a framework in place to identify and implement those measures that are feasible. This guide focuses on relatively easy and low cost strategies for improving building sustainability, such as implementing best practices for operations and maintenance activities, and paying close attention to building envelope, heating and cooling, water, and lighting systems.