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Local Government Commission

Currents - A Quarterly Energy Newsletter For Local Governments

Winter 2012

New Partners for Smart Growth 2012: Climate and Energy Sessions and Tours

Registration is open for the 2012 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference ( in San Diego on February 2 – 4. With approximately 100 sessions, and participants from around the world, New Partners is the conference to attend on the smart growth topics of energy, climate, transportation, land use, health, social equity and more. This year, nearly all the sessions qualify for continuing education credits from the American Institute of Certified Planners. Some sessions also qualify for professional development hours (PDH) for landscape architects, and for continuing education credits for public heath, safety and welfare professions.

The following are session and tour descriptions for energy and climate program activities. For more information or to register, visit

Groundbreaking New Statewide Energy Retrofit Program: Resources, Models and Lessons Learned
California has led the nation in reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, now an innovative new program continues that tradition—and promises to revitalize local economies across the state. Energy Upgrade California® is advancing energy efficiency and resource conservation through upgrades of thousands of existing buildings throughout the state serving as a model for the rest of the nation. Energy Upgrade California® is an unprecedented alliance among local governments, non-profits, investor and publicly owned utilities leveraging more than $1.2 billion in investments.

This panel will present resources, models and lessons learned from local governments implementing Energy Upgrade California programs including Sonoma County, City of Fresno and Los Angeles County. You will learn about how these communities are substantively transforming energy behavior, industry and practice through Property Assessed Clean Energy commercial and residential programs, marketing campaigns, local rebates and financing, workforce education all under one brand and one statewide program, Energy Upgrade California.

New Tools and Practices for Measuring the Sustainability Impacts of Land Use and Transportation Policies
States, regions and jurisdictions of all sizes are challenged with measuring and communicating the critical linkages between land use and transportation investments, and critical fiscal, environmental and health challenges. This session will focus on new tools and recommended practices at varying scales that serve to quantify the climate, air quality, energy, water, land consumption, fiscal, health and household impacts of land use and infrastructure plans and policies. Experts from the public and private sector will demonstrate new techniques and tools, and highlight how transit systems, specific projects and places have measured impacts and effectively communicated them to the public, decisions makers and other key stakeholders. Specific attention will be paid to how these tools and processes are integrating into the implementation of AB 32 and SB 375, California's groundbreaking climate and land use regulations.

The Evolving Story of SB 375: California's Landmark Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Law
California's landmark Sustainable Communities law (SB 375) was enacted in 2008. Since then, California has adopted the first-in-the-nation greenhouse gas reduction targets for regional transportation plans, and planning agencies have been hard at work crafting plans to meet their targets. To date, only San Diego has completed a plan, but Southern California, Sacramento, and the Bay Area have made significant progress. For those curious to see how the California story is unfolding, this session will provide a timely update on implementation, including a briefing on San Diego's plan. Three years in to California's grand experiment in regional sustainability, what are the lessons learned? What's working, and what could be improved? Panelists will discuss where each of the regions stands in their plan development and how the process is playing out for decision makers, agencies and key constituencies.

Climate and Energy Planning: Community Partnerships that Work
Representatives from Arlington, VA; Ithaca, NY; Rifle, CO; and the San Francisco Bay Area will share their experiences in climate and energy planning, and how community partnerships have proven successful to their efforts. With examples from across the country and covering the rural to urban spectrum, this session has something for everyone interested in creating jobs, and reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in their communities. If you want to learn how to integrate energy and climate into your existing smart growth efforts, and strengthen your connections with members of your community and neighboring jurisdictions, this is the session to attend. You will learn about programs that build upon existing planning efforts to integrate energy; share energy/sustainability staff among smaller jurisdictions; craft an effective message that integrates energy, economic development, and smart growth; and build local capacity with projects that result in cost-effective breakthrough greenhouse gas emissions reductions through recruiting community volunteers.

Planning for Solar Energy in Your Community
This workshop will focus on overcoming planning and zoning barriers to adoption of solar energy technologies—primarily rooftop PV—at the local level. Increased solar adoption supports smart growth goals. Zoning codes and other local planning regulations can be a major barrier to solar installations. However, they can also facilitate the adoption of solar. Throughout the workshop, speakers will present zoning tools and innovative financing options that can make communities more "solar-friendly" and case study examples of what communities across the country are doing to address solar in their planning, zoning, and development decisions. By participating in this workshop, participants will be able to recognize zoning codes and other planning regulations that are barriers to solar adoption, identify best practices in ‘solar friendly' zoning codes, and bring this information back to their communities and affect positive change.

From Net-Zero Buildings to Net-Positive Neighborhoods: A Light Rail Tour
Explore two innovative smart-growth developments that incorporate high levels of green building and affordable housing. Participants will see how resident engagement in neighborhood planning can lead to strong support for both improved urban design and ambitious green building goals and whether these single-building projects can spark larger suburban transit-oriented development retrofits. You will explore Los Vecinos, a 42-unit affordable housing project in Chula Vista—an LEED Platinum, net-zero electricity building (producing all of its electricity needs on-site) located in a classic “suburban retrofit” setting that is three times as dense as the surrounding area. The second development is The Village at Market Creek, an 83-acre neighborhood redevelopment being constructed around the Euclid Avenue light-rail station by the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, a resident-led, non-profit community development organization. A recipient of an EPA Brownfield planning grant and California Catalyst Community development funds, the Village is pursuing LEED for Neighborhood Development certification. Transportation includes light rail and walking. Light refreshments will be provided.

Explore the Implications of a Rising San Diego Bay by Boat
The San Diego region has an enviable lifestyle and economy, both intricately connected to the vitality of our region’s 70 miles of coastline and renowned Mediterranean climate. However, our shoreline will be significantly impacted by pending climate change – challenging jurisdictions around San Diego Bay to manage critical resources such as economic and community centers, port maritime infrastructure, sensitive habitats, residential development and other key regional infrastructure such as San Diego International Airport. Join us on this exciting boat tour to explore the diverse communities and coastal resources at risk, as well as the innovative collaboration underway to proactively manage these risks from sea-level rise. Learn about the San Diego Bay Climate Adaptation Project, a stakeholder-driven process funded by The San Diego Foundation, managed by ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, and guided by a steering committee of local governments and agencies in the region. Representatives will discuss lessons learned, adaptation strategies, and their experiences educating key stakeholders and the public about climate adaptation.