Methodology to Develop Energy Baselines for California's Regions

Project: Research project

Description

Inefficient patterns of travel, building construction, and development have led to high energy use, environmental and human health degradation, and economic inefficiencies at the individual, regional, and state level. Assessments to create more sustainable communities have become increasingly important for regions and cities as they develop and implement land use and transportation policies designed to reduce energy consumption and its negative impacts. There is currently no set of integrated tools and methods to analyze and establish baselines of energy and materials flows for California's metropolitan regions. New methodologies and data are needed to establish baselines of existing energy profiles in order to establish, measure, and track progress toward sustainability goals, to examine the comprehensive impacts of multiple and interacting policies on land use and infrastructure investments, and to guide future land use, infrastructure, fiscal, and other decisions that make explicit trade-offs between energy, environmental, and socio-economic policy goals and regulations. This project"[will develop, and help bring to market] advanced transportation technologies that reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions beyond applicable standards, and that benefit electricity and natural gas ratepayers"(Public Resources Code 25620.1.(b)(1)), (Chapter 512, Statues of 2006)); and supports California's goal to establish a strategic planning process with local governments and regional planning organizations to reduce transportation fuel consumption through improved public transportation and land use planning per the Integrated Energy Policy Report 2005 (IEPR). This project will explain and quantify the effect land use has on energy systems and update existing modeling decision-support tools to improve the integration of energy considerations into future planning and development efforts per the 2007 IEPR. This project builds off of the recommendations in the Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) research roadmap, Creating Sustainable Energy Systems in California Communities and the PIER white paper Potential Targets and Benefits for Sustainable Communities Research, Development, and Demonstration. Specifically the road map states the need for careful accounting of the materials flows into cities, consumption and waste flows out of cities [which] contain substantial embedded energy. This project will develop accounting methods that enable regions to quantify these flows and will pilot these methods in Los Angeles County. The white paper states the need to identify and publicize transformative tools at the super-regional scale, such as statewide transportation, electricity, conservation, and water projects that promote energy-smart and sustainable policies in constituent regions around the state. This project uses and builds upon the statewide Production, Exchange, and Consumption Allocation System (PECAS) model to inform and promote sustainable community policies and to improve existing tools. O: rg 3/15/11 3 of 15 500-10-033 Exhibit A Scope of Work UCLA This project will also address recommendations from the SB 375 Regional Targets Advisory Committee for research and development of models that can: estimate Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reductions from such things as energy efficiency improvements that result from the various land use and transportation strategies considered throughout the implementation of Senate Bill (SB) 375; and estimate the potential co-benefits of various land use scenarios such as increased mobility, economic savings, reduced air and water pollution, preservation of open space, farm and forest land, and healthier, more equitable and sustainable communities. Assembly Bill (AB) 32 and SB 375 state the importance of local and regional measures in meeting GHG reduction goals and improving the sustainability of California's communities. SB 375 now requires the state's metropolitan planning organizations (MPO) to develop a Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) for their regions. The SCS is intended to achieve GHG reduction goals from vehicle travel and provide additional benefits including increased energy and water efficiency, reduced air pollution, increased taxpayer and household savings, and improved public health. A number of analytical tools and methods are currently being developed to support the objectives of SB 375 and other state energy and GHG policy goals. This project uses three specific emerging tools and methods for sustainable planning and development that go beyond GHGs to address the larger goals of sustainability. These include urban metabolism, PECAS, and life-cycle assessment.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date1/1/1210/30/14

Funding

  • California Energy Commission: $68,547.00

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methodology
energy
greenhouse gas
land use
atmospheric pollution
sustainability
energy policy
research and development
savings
electricity
transportation technology
infrastructure
transportation policy
building construction
project
advanced technology
energy flow
fuel consumption
open space
regional planning