Green Leases Toolkit

In 2009, the California Sustainability Alliance assembled an expert group of professionals with substantial experience in commercial real estate to develop and test strategies to overcome the significant barriers to greening the 90% of California’s commercial office space that is leased.  This effort focused on “green leasing”, i.e., integrating sustainability practices into the entire commercial leasing process.  This includes service provider selection; marketing of buildings, development of green specifications; request for proposal (RFP) and letter of intent (LOI) drafting; site selection and due diligence; and the negotiation and drafting of realistic and enforceable lease language. In 2017, the California Sustainability Alliance, in collaboration with Verdani Partners, updated the Green Leasing Toolkit with the latest industry guidance.

Water Energy Best Practices Tool

Water agencies and energy utilities approach the water-energy nexus from uniquely different perspectives; facilitating discussion on common ground is necessary to advancing efficiency in the water sector. 

  • Water agencies are often aware of their total energy use; however, without advanced monitoring systems (such as SCADA) they may not be aware of energy use at the subsystem level.  Lack of knowledge of the true drivers of energy use in a water system can lead to sub-optimal energy management decisions.
  • Energy utilities typically bring to the table an extensive list of opportunities for their customers to reduce energy use; however there is no formal prioritization of these opportunities.  Measures that should be considered “low hanging fruit” may be passed over while more complex solutions are pursued. 

To overcome these information barriers, the Alliance has developed the Water/Wastewater Agency Energy Analysis and Best Practices Tool. The tool is meant to provide users (both water system operators and energy utility account managers) a high level view of how and where energy is being used in a selected retail water system and suggestions for reducing energy use.

Green Tenant Guide

The California Sustainability Alliance’s Green Tenant Guide was created to help organizations learn how to work with their staff to set clear and feasible sustainability goals, establish buy-in and excitement, define metrics, and measure and communicate results. The Alliance recognizes that every organization’s situation is different and helps guide organizations through the process of greening their operations and staff behaviors.  The Green Tenant Guide is intended to be an ongoing reference for organizations as they work through planning and implementing their sustainability program.

Water Energy Toolkit

The water-energy nexus is rapidly being recognized as a major issue of concern as a growing population is increasing the demand for water and the energy needed to treat and deliver it, while climate change threatens to adversely affect existing water resources, demanding new methods of mitigation and adaptation. As water-energy stakeholders grapple with the complex issues of crafting policies and implementing projects, they must better understand not only the inextricable relationship of our water and energy resources, but also actions they may take to aid in their conservation. It is only with such knowledge that they can help mitigate future water problems by encouraging the design of sustainable projects and communities.

Making sustainability a part of our daily lives requires the interaction of policies, people and technologies, all working together to make a difference. At a time of rising awareness of “green” and “sustainable” values, water–energy sustainability options provide real and actionable ways to conserve our precious resources. Technically feasible solutions abound in this area. The trick is in selecting the right options for the right projects, and having motivated people and the right policies in place to successfully implement them.

The Water-Energy Toolkit for Sustainable Development offers a practical guide to implementing water-energy conservation policies and projects for water agency staff, policy makers, water-energy conservation advocates and developers. It is designed to provide these four key stakeholder groups with the basic knowledge and resources needed to enable consideration of water-energy savings solutions in the community development process. Structured as an action-oriented and practical guidebook, the Toolkit offers simple steps, example roadmaps, and four California case study examples of exemplary projects to guide stakeholders through the key components of water-energy sustainability decisions.Specific issues addressed include:

Download the toolkit for more details.

  • The importance of water-energy savings;
  • Jurisdictional issues and standards related to water-energy savings;
  • Developer issues and choices;
  • Third-party standards and certification issues; and
  • Water-energy technologies – characteristics, use and applicability.

Local Government Retrocommissioning Toolkit

The California Sustainability Alliance’s Local Government Retrocommissioning (RCx) Toolkit was created to help local government staff develop and implement a municipal facility retrocommissioning program.   The RCx Toolkit is designed to be flexible enough to be a complementary resource for an energy manager in a large local government or to be the sole RCx Program management tool for facility and public works staff in smaller jurisdictions.  The RCx Toolkit complements existing portfolio management tools and utility management systems, helping the user take the “next step” once a decision has been made to incorporate retrocommissioning into municipal facility standard operating procedures. 

California Local Energy Efficiency Program (CALeep)

The California Local Energy Efficiency Program (CALeep) is designed to help California’s local governments plan and implement highly effective energy efficiency initiatives in their communities. The beneficial economic and environmental impacts of energy efficiency initiatives naturally support many other public purpose goals, such as greenhouse gas reduction, job creation, water conservation and green buildings.

Green General Plans

California law requires local governments to have a general plan consisting of least seven plan elements: land use, circulation (transportation), housing, conservation, open space, noise, and safety. The general plan sets goals and standards, but does not regulate municipal activities.

While numerous guidelines and resources are available for the development of general plans, there is a great deal of flexibility as to what may be included in a general plan beyond the seven required plan elements.

Class B Office Improvement Toolkit

The California Local Energy Efficiency Program (CALeep) is designed to help California’s local governments plan and implement highly effective energy efficiency initiatives in their communities. The beneficial economic and environmental impacts of energy efficiency initiatives naturally support many other public purpose goals, such as greenhouse gas reduction, job creation, water conservation and green buildings.

Local Government Operations Protocol

A greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory is designed to measure and track emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other high global warming potential (GWP) gases such as methane (CH4) and nitrogen dioxide (N2O), which are emitted from a local government’s buildings, vehicles and operations. A GHG inventory can be a useful resource for a local government for a number of reasons including:

  • Risk management
  • Addressing inefficiencies
  • Readiness for a carbon constrained future
  • Recognition as an environmental leader
  • Stakeholder education

Local Government Resources Toolkit

Local governments in California are increasingly expected to adopt sustainability best practices, yet often lack the resources to research, fund, and implement these practices. There are numerous state and federal resources and programs aimed at helping local governments and communities to achieve their sustainability goals.

The Local Government Resources Toolkit provides quick access to multiple state and federal resources that support initiatives in five categories: Sustainable Communities, Cleaner Transportation, Greenhouse Gas Accounting, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, and Water Efficiency and Sustainability.