Funding the next generation of efficient, electric, grid-interactive communities
Greentech Media – October 19
U.S. homes and commercial buildings consume roughly two-fifths of the country’s overall energy and three-fourths of all electricity, accounting for most of the peak electricity demand that drives generation and power grid infrastructure costs. Each of these statistics points to different solutions for reducing buildings’ carbon footprint. The Department of Energy’s $65 million funding for “connected communities” projects seeks to combine solar, batteries, and smart appliances to match building loads with grid needs. It builds on scores of projects across the country combining high efficiency, electrification, and distributed energy resources such as rooftop or community solar, battery and thermal energy storage, and electric vehicle charging.
Commercial real estate players try out new energy analytics program for around $100M in annual savings
Bisnow – October 19
A four-year, 104-institution smart energy analytics campaign by the federal government saved Jamestown, Stanford University, MGM Resorts International, and other participants a combined $95 million in annual energy costs, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory announced this Monday. Designed to expand and measure the use of energy management and information systems in commercial buildings, the campaign sets an important new benchmark for commercial energy efficiency, especially for owners of large facilities or a portfolio of properties, according to Jessica Granderson, a staff scientist with Berkeley Lab, which facilitated the federal campaign. “We had a lot of commercial real estate participants in this cohort,” Granderson said, adding that Kilroy Realty Corp. and Tishman Speyer were among the other large companies that participated in the program.
San Diego’s Measure E, the Midway District, and the battle over coastal building heights
The San Diego Union-Tribune – October 16
Sandwiched between the San Diego River and the airport, San Diego’s Midway District is what supporters of a November initiative, Measure E, view as a classic fixer-upper, meaning with ample investment it could be transformed into a community where people want to live and recreate. The Midway District is also in San Diego’s coastal zone, subject to a 30-foot building height limit. If approved by a majority of voters, Measure E would alter the definition of the coastal zone in the city’s municipal code, as defined by Proposition D in 1972, to exclude what’s known as the Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan area. The earlier citizen’s initiative was a referendum on buildings over 30 feet in the protected territory. Currently, there are carve-outs for downtown, National City, and parts of Mission Bay.
Newport Beach appeals proposed RHNA allocations by Southern California Assn. of Governments
Los Angeles Times – October 15
The Newport Beach City Council unanimously authorized last Tuesday the appeal of the city’s current Regional Housing Needs Assessment numbers, which are mandated by state law as part of the periodic process of updating the local housing element. Cities are not required to directly build those homes, but must accommodate through zoning for residential development. Current draft numbers hold Newport Beach accountable for 4,834 housing units. Half of that needs to be affordable housing, according to Community Development Director Seimone Jurjis.
Permits proposed for haulers of construction debris in San Francisco to achieve zero-waste
San Francisco Examiner – October 18
San Francisco plans to tighten regulations on the disposal of construction and demolition debris to reduce the more than 100,000 tons that end up in the landfill annually instead of being recycled. Supervisor Ahsha Safai introduced legislation last week that would require those who transport construction and demolition debris for disposal to obtain city permits in an effort to ensure the waste is recycled at city-registered facilities — not illegally dumped. Safai’s proposal comes as the city has refocused its efforts to reuse and recycle after having to abandon in 2017 its prior goal to send no waste to the landfill by 2020.
Large solar power projects go live at three Westfield centers
Chain Store Age – October 19
Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield has started generating power from new solar arrays at three of its centers: Westfield Valley Fair in Santa Clara, Westfield UTC in San Diego, and Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey. With nearly 3,800 new solar panels installed in partnership with Pacific Gas and Electric, Valley Fair’s solar power system boasts a capacity of over 2.5 megawatts and can generate almost 3.9 gigawatt-hours of clean energy each year. At UTC, more than 2,800 new solar panels were installed together with San Diego Gas and Electric, bringing the center’s solar power system to 3,513 total panels in all, with a capacity of approximately 1.2 megawatts.