From Inventory to Implementation: Putting the Action into Climate Action Plans

SBC’s Climate Planning team is comprised of some seriously technical talent. From conducting greenhouse gas inventories to developing and writing Climate and Energy Action Plans (CAPs and EAPs, respectively), this department crunches numbers left and right. Having had to start pretty much from scratch in all of the jurisdictions they’ve been working in, Nicholas Martin, Paul Ahrns and Kriselda Bautista are experts in the climate planning field.COMM Jackson CA Wayne Hsieh 2014 04

I joined this team late last year, and I’ll be the first to admit that my skill set is a lot less technical than the rest of the department. A personal highlight this last month was learning how to write a simple addition formula in a spreadsheet, whereas the rest of the Climate Planning staff definitely fall in the spectrum of Excel wizards, wielding equations and complicated data like wands.

The team has worked hard on developing six EAPs and one Strategic Energy Resources Report (SERR) that build on their Greenhouse Gas (GHG) inventory work and act as guidebooks for the following communities to increase their energy efficiency: Mariposa County, Amador County, City of Plymouth, City of Sutter Creek, City of Jackson, City of Nevada City and Town of Loomis. Each time the governing body of each jurisdiction accepted or approved their respective plan, one giant milestone has been checked off as an accomplished goal.

Now the EAPs need to be implemented, meaning that we are turning these plans into action. We need community members and local business owners to take advantage of the EAPs and utilize the resources contained therein to improve their energy efficiency. Paul Ahrns addresses the importance of implementation in another SBC blog, Where the Rubber Meets the Road.

But what are our Implementation strategies, exactly?

There were no preset rules for implementing EAPs when the Climate Planning team set out on this path, but through thorough research and careful planning we have set five clear goals for each jurisdiction to accomplish in 2016. While these goals were developed by the tenacious Kriselda Bautista under Nick Martin’s guidance, I have been humorously dubbed the team’s “implementation implementer” and these 5 areas of implementation will be among my chief responsibilities here at SBC.

Title 24 Trainings
Title 24 is a set of energy efficiency regulations for all new building construction. Energy Code Ace provides free trainings on this subject, but a lot of building officials and contractors don’t know about this great resource or how to take advantage of it. To streamline the process and ensure that local officials have access to the information they need, I work with Energy Code Ace to schedule these trainings and recruit participants. Our goal is to host at least one training in each jurisdiction in 2016.

Renewable Energy
Another primary focus of EAP implementation is increasing the community’s knowledge and use of renewable energy. To do this, we are working with a company called Optony, Inc. to develop a Solar Roadmap for each jurisdiction. This gives them an understanding of how they can benefit from increasing the use of solar in their municipal buildings and how to go about the installation process. It also allows our local governments to see how they compare to counties, cities and towns throughout the state.

Benchmark and Audit
By working hand in hand with SBC’s Sierra Nevada Energy Watch team, we will benchmark and audit each jurisdiction’s municipal buildings and facilitate lighting upgrades.

The EAPs have been accepted or approved by each local government, but now we need to get out into the community and speak face to face about why residents and business should care. We will be attending at least two community events in 2016, so keep an eye out for the Climate Planning team at fairs, flea markets, festivals and more events in your community. We’ll have copies of the EAPs, information about energy efficiency resources, and maybe even some swag!

SBC also recently became a Champion of the Institute for Local Government’s Beacon Program, which will provide ongoing support for each local government in reaching their energy efficiency goals. We will be supporting each jurisdiction as they become participants in the program.

Creating Informational Materials
We have also been compiling informational material for each local government to share with their communities. Website content, links to rebates and incentives, informational graphics–these are all necessary tools to ensure that the people who will benefit from the EAPs and energy efficiency have access to it.

Implementation is an ever developing task here at SBC, but it is an important part of the Climate Planning Department, the success of the EAPs, and mitigating the effects of climate change in the Sierra. To learn more about how your community could develop a Climate or Energy Action Plan, contact Program Director, Nicholas Martin.

Jackson, CA image courtesy of Wayne Hsieh