Energy Efficiency Strategies: A New Tool for Rural Communities

Sierra Business Council (SBC) is breaking new ground in the energy efficiency field in the Sierra Nevada. Five communities have partnered with SBC to develop strategies for increasing energy efficiency in their areas that will result in reduced emissions and dollars saved on energy bills. The strategies will be augmented by concrete measures the community can readily implement within a reasonable timeframe. The measures would be designed to also help boost the local economy and improve local air quality.

COMM BG Blog Jackson 2014 08The work is part of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company Government and Community Partnerships Program which provides communities with data that can be used for future planning decisions related to energy usage and efficiency. Under the program SBC has conducted 46 energy inventories for local Sierra Nevada jurisdictions. Some of the best parts of the program are it comes at virtually no cost to the local jurisdiction, involves staff and the community, and requires little of actual staff time.

Loomis, Nevada City, Jackson, Plymouth and Amador County are the five communities that recently ‘signed on’ to go a step further and prepare a strategy report. The report will not only include the data collected during the inventory but also an estimate of how much energy will be used in the future if no measures are taken to use energy more efficiently. The report will include goals and strategies for using energy more efficiently as well as actions that can be taken to make those goals and strategies a reality.

Local economies in the Sierra Nevada rely heavily on natural resources for tourism, recreation, forestry, agriculture and other industries. Changes in weather patterns resulting in less precipitation and dramatically warmer temperatures have the potential to adversely affect the vitality of the region’s natural resources, which in turn directly impacts local businesses. Reducing a community’s demand on the energy grid helps lighten the load on hydro-generated electricity, the source of which is the Sierra Nevada. Being more energy efficient also reduces the amount of money spent on utility bills, making housing more affordable while freeing up money that can be spent within the local economy.

This month, our climate planning team will be helping our local government partners take the first in energy planning by hosting three work sessions: a joint work session with Jackson, Plymouth and Amador County, a work session with the Town of Loomis, and a work session with Nevada City. Full details are provided below and are posted on the SBC Events Page. If you live or work in any of these jurisdictions we encourage you to come out and learn about your community’s energy use and provide your thoughts on what the future should look like in your community.

COMM BG Blog Loomis 2014 08August 19 – Jackson, Plymouth and Amador County (JPAC) 
Amador County Board Chambers 
810 Court Street, Jackson 
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.  

August 20 – Loomis
Loomis Train Depot
3640 Taylor Road, Loomis 
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

August 28 – Nevada City
Nevada City Council Chambers
317 Broad Street, Nevada City
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

For further information about energy inventories or the energy efficiency strategies program contact SBC’s Climate Planning Team or call (530) 582-4800.