ACEEE highlights 10 building energy performance standards to help meet climate goals
Utility Dive – June 24
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released a white paper this Monday calling on jurisdictions globally to explore mandatory building energy performance standards to achieve long-term climate goals, energy savings, and greenhouse gas emission reductions. The report outlined 10 jurisdictions with existing standards, ranging from the Tokyo Cap-and-Trade program to Washington State's Clean Buildings Bill, to illustrate the many approaches that can be taken in developing a building performance program. ACEEE also outlined a handful of pending building performance standards, as well as details on a number of "stepping-stone" programs in U.S. cities that can lead to whole-building performance standards.
PG&E gets on board with all-electric new buildings in California
Greentech Media – June 26
Pacific Gas & Electric has become the first combined natural gas and electric utility in California to express support for an emerging plan to require "efficient, all-electric new construction" in the state, telling regulators that it wants to “avoid investments in new gas assets that might later prove underutilized” under the state’s long-term decarbonization goals. Last Thursday’s letter from PG&E Vice President Robert Kenney to the California Energy Commission (CEC) is a notable concession by the state’s largest utility to the constraints its natural-gas operations will face under California’s push to attain zero-carbon emissions by 2045. The CEC is considering stakeholder proposals for a revision to state building code Title 24 that would ban natural-gas equipment installations for new buildings constructed in the state starting in 2022. If taken up by the CEC, it would be the first such move by a state agency.
California passes nation's first zero-emission, electric truck goal
Capital Public Radio – June 25
Tens of thousands of electric trucks could be on California roads within a decade’s time now that state air officials approved new rules last Thursday applauded by clean air advocates. The California Air Resources Board unanimously voted on a plan to require manufacturers to produce more electric trucks, which would put 100,000 zero-emission trucks on roads by 2030 and produce 300,000 by 2035. The rule is the first of its kind in the country.
Galvanized by coronavirus fears, California lawmakers push bills on homelessness
The Mercury News - June 29
With millions of Californians out of work, and experts worried huge numbers could lose their housing as a result of the pandemic, state legislators are attempting to push through a wide range of bills this year aimed at helping those on the streets or on the brink. One of bills focused on expanding the state’s shelter capacity scored a major win this week, passing its Senate floor vote and advancing to the Assembly. Senate Bill 1138 is the second attempt by Senator Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, to overhaul zoning for homeless shelters. Currently, cities are required to designate certain areas where shelters can be built. But in practice, much of the land cities set aside is unfeasible for a homeless shelter — it’s in the middle of nowhere, cut off from transportation and other services, or it’s already occupied by other buildings, Wiener said. His bill would change that by requiring land zoned for shelter use to meet certain standards.
California Senate approves allowing affordable housing on church lots
CBS San Francisco – June 26
A bill that would spur the development of affordable housing on church parking lots and other property owned by houses of worship has passed the State Senate. Senate Bill 899 by State Senator Scott Wiener cleared the chamber in a unanimous 39-0 vote last Thursday. The bill allows for religious institutions and nonprofit colleges to bypass local zoning restrictions to build 100 percent affordable housing on their land. Under SB899, housing built under this proposal would be restricted to lower income households if rented for 55 years or owner-occupied for 45 years. The legislation will now go to the Assembly for consideration.
Berkeley neighborhood group wins right to sue UC Berkeley over increased enrollment
Berkeleyside– June 26
A state appeals court ruled last week that a group of Berkeley neighbors has the right to sue UC Berkeley over its increased enrollment. UC Berkeley argued that an environmental review was only needed when a building or other structure was built, not when the number of students on campus went up. The court disagreed. “The question before us is whether the alleged changes to the 2005 project—i.e., the decisions to increase enrollment beginning in 2007— required some form of environmental review under CEQA,” the appellate court wrote in its ruling. “The enrollment increases have caused, and continue to cause, significant environmental impacts that were not analyzed in the 2005 EIR. Respondents (UC Berkeley) have failed to analyze the new impacts in a CEQA document and have failed to adopt mitigation measures to reduce or avoid them.”