Office of Energy and Sustainable Development
Office of Energy and Sustainable Development

Sustainable Success Stories

Berkeley Youth Help Residents Save Nearly $200,000 on Energy Costs

In 2006, California Youth Energy Services provided Berkeley households free energy conservation services and hardware. Funded by East Bay Energy Watch in partnership with the City of Berkeley, East Bay Municipal 
Water District, and PG&E funded programs, the initiative hires and provides Berkeley local youth with green job skills. This year, nine students provided free in-home energy education and hardware installation to 343 Berkeley households, saving Berkeley residents approximately $199,000 in energy dollars. Measures installed include compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), efficient-flow showerheads and faucet aerators, energy efficient torchieres, and attic insulation.

Berkeley Named 3rd Best City for Cleantech Incubation
The city of Berkeley was named by SustainLane Government as a top US city leading the Cleantech ("Clean technology") revolution. Cleantech refers to venture capital-funded start-ups in sustainable environmental technologies ranging from biofuels to renewable energy. With recent global climate change and energy price instability driving the industry, Cleantech companies ranked in the top 5 investment arenas for venture capital firms according to a recent Clean Edge report. The model for a Cleantech incubation cluster integrates venture capital and investor network access, including mentoring, with academic or federal research lab collaboration and active local government participation (field testing, prototyping and incentives).  Other leading cities include Austin, TX; San Jose, CA; Pasadena, CA; Greater Boston, MA. "These regions promise to be new economic power centers for the rest of the century," said SustainLane CEO James Elsen. "It all starts with cities attracting the money, brains and the means for Cleantech innovation on a massive scale." Berkeley was recognized for the new $500 million biofuels research center recently awarded by BP (British Petroleum) to the University of California at Berkeley and the City fleet's usage of biodiesel trucks.

Berkeley Named Top City in Disability Friendliness and Outreach
The National Organization on Disability (NOD) has chosen the City of Berkeley as the winner of its sixth annual Accessible America Contest. Berkeley will receive $25,000 to fund local disability-related efforts. Some the city’s best practices include the nation's first universally designed affordable housing development; free and reduced price accessible taxi services to people with disabilities; A Medical Return Transportation Improvement Program to subsidize taxi and van rides for people returning from medical appointments; a Citywide Inclusion Program within its Parks and Recreations Department; a comprehensive emergency preparedness plan for people with disabilities; emergency attendant care and transportation services funded by a self-imposed tax; programs promoting artists with disabilities; internship and mentorship programs for youth with disabilities, to promote their inclusion in the workforce.

Berkeley's PV systems estimated to offset 30,802 tons of CO2
Since 1998, 379 photovoltaic (PV) systems have been established in Berkeley under the California Energy Commission's Emerging Renewables Program, which offers rebates to consumers who install qualifying renewable energy systems on their property. These systems produce a total of 1.4 megawatts of peak power, from an investment of over $13 million. Gary Gerber of Sun Light and Power, a Berkeley-based design/build firm that specializes in alternative energy systems, estimates that most of these systems are residential and therefore it is the citizens of Berkeley who have made this investment. It is estimated that these systems will produce over  2 million KWh per year, and over 30 years, will produce more than 61 million KWh, the equivalent of taking 5,891 cars off the road for one year . What's more, the popularity of solar energy is growing; over a third of the totals above occurred only in the past year.

The Bread Shop Artisan Bakery Reduces Its Waste by 95%
With assistance from the StopWaste Partnership, Berkeley's The Bread Workshop implemented a food composting system that enabled the bakery to reduce its waste by 95%. In addition, the Bread Workshop now buys recyclable beverage and condiment containers, to-go containers that can be composted and soup cups made from waxed paper instead of plastic. Through simple adjustments to day-to-day operations, the bakery was able to reduce waste, cut costs significantly and enhance customer relations. "It's a win-win situation," Rory Bakke, director of the StopWaste Partnership explains. "You can't lose when you're making such positive strides toward becoming a more sustainable business." For more information about the StopWaste Partnership, visit their website or call 1-877-STOPWASTE. See the full article from here and The Bread Workshop case study here.

Berkeley Develops Its First Pedestrian Master Plan
The percentage of Berkeleyans who walk to work is four times the percentage of walking commuters for the county as a whole. In an effort to build on our successes and strengths, the City of Berkeley is developing its first citywide Pedestrian Master Plan. The Pedestrian Plan will lay out strategies to make walking safer and more pleasant for pedestrians. The goal is to make walking even more attractive as a transportation choice since human powered transport has the double positive impact of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles and improving health and wellness for local citizens. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2006. Learn more.

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