Resources

5 Ways to Democratize Access to Clean Energy Technology

California recently became the second state to pass a 100% clean energy standard, three years after Hawaii passed a similar law. As the fifth largest economy in the world, California has a tall order to fill in terms of making the transition to clean energy. How can California, and other states that wish to follow suit, fulfill this ambitious task? They will need to provide affordable, relevant, and accessible energy options to every one of its residents, prioritizing those who have historically been overlooked and left out of the clean energy conversation due to economic circumstance or social inequity.

A Research Toolkit for Building the Ultimate Urban Forest

As communities and municipalities around America are grappling with extreme weather events, it is even more vital to incorporate smart urban tree canopy and green infrastructure planning into all resiliency and climate change planning. Assessing your community’s current green infrastructure assets and deficits provides immediate information for maximizing your quality of living but also sets out the road map for how prepared your community may be for extreme weather events – from flooding to hurricanes to drought. Take advantage of the Vibrant Cities Lab site and any of the tools in this urban forestry “starter pack” or wade in by reaching out to the experts at the USDA Forest Service.

The Frontlines of Community-Driven Clean Energy

What does an African-American church in East Oakland, California and a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Little River, South Carolina have in common? They both are solar powered thanks to the efforts (and dollars) of their empowered community members.

Cities Need Forecasted Data to Make Impactful Emissions Reductions

From an energy type standpoint, a city’s electric utility can make a big difference regarding which actions cities should undertake. For instance, a city in the service territory of an electric utility with ambitious plans to decarbonize its generation mix may want to focus greater attention on future emissions scenarios versus current emissions when making decisions on priorities. This would mean focusing actions on transportation, space heating, and industrial processes, since those would likely be greater contributors to emissions (vs. electricity) in such a future scenario.

An Overview of California’s Water Challenges and Solutions

The groundwater basin is only 46 percent full, but that is an annual improvement thanks to reduced pumping. Beyond centralized water recycling, water reuse is also done at the building level, following zero-energy and living-design principles. Water efficiency, AMI (advanced meters), leak detection, storage, infrastructure, and IoT with sensors are all helping.

Innovations in Urban Water Reuse

Water is valuable during all parts of this interconnected urban water cycle – there are opportunities at every step to maximize use that benefits the community, economy and environment. Viewing water as a resource and understanding the interconnectedness of One Water allows for innovative solutions to arise.

7 Strategies for Cities to Maximize Benefits of Community Solar

For cities, community solar is a way to vastly increase the amount of locally generated renewable energy, along with associated benefits of local jobs, property tax revenue, and local community investment. Other renewable energy strategies like purchasing Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), carbon trading and Virtual Power Purchase Agreements (VPPAs) may help cities meet their goals, but won’t drive investment and transition within communities or give cities a tool to address energy costs for low-income residents.

Better Green Infrastructure Starts with Benefits-Driven Design

In order to realize its potential, green infrastructure must be designed holistically in partnership with the community, delivered at scale, and maintained for the long-term.

10 Ways Portland is Addressing Housing Issues

Here are 10 ways Portland is tackling housing—along a spectrum from homelessness to homeownership, and creating affordable solutions along that spectrum. We have focused our efforts on leveraging funding sources, and maximizing strategic investment opportunities.

The Role of Utilities in Advancing Smart Cities

City Light became an early leader in acknowledging climate change and supporting business practices to reduce utilities’ carbon footprints. Acknowledging this was an important first step in reducing the communal impact of this city that lies in the heart of the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Strategies for Sustainable Food Systems in Smart Cities

In addition to the needs on the entrepreneurship side, it also became readily apparent that the urban farming industry is siloed and frequently disconnected from the outside world. To address this we have created workshops and conferences that focus on bringing people of diverse backgrounds together and introducing urban agriculture to a wider audience than just ag-tech entrepreneurs.

How to Create Successful Distributed Generation Programs

Market rules and regulations must be clear, simple, and visible to all market participants. They should allow for fair competition and for reasonable returns on investment. This way, sellers and buyers are encouraged to make investments.