Climate Action Blog Series: Resources to Take Local Climate Action & Connect as a Community
Connect through a new online sustainability community forum, explore home electrification resources, and catch-up on upcoming Council discussions
To achieve City sustainability goals, residents are encouraged to act locally by switching natural gas appliances to electric appliances and making other adjustments at home that are focused on reducing gas emissions. In doing so, we can collectively have a global impact on reducing the effects of climate change. In this new community update, learn about the recently launched “Sustainability Hub,” a new digital engagement platform to connect about actions residents are taking to address climate change. In addition, the City launched a new online resource to streamline going electric at home. Learn about the upcoming sustainability items that will be presented to the City Council at two meetings in late September and early October and find climate action events to aid in acting now to address climate change.
Sustainability Hub & Electrification Portal Launch
The City recently launched a new online interactive resource to connect the community on ways they can address climate change locally. Visit the Sustainability Hub to track the ways you are taking climate action on an interactive map, see what your neighbors are doing and learn more about how you can be more sustainable at home. Use the map to show your neighbors how you’re electrifying your home or business, share best walking and biking routes around the City and connect with other community members to collaborate on best sustainability and climate action practices. The Hub was created to better connect Palo Altans who are looking for ways to be more sustainability minded and demonstrate and celebrate the progress that residents are making. Click here for more.
How to Use the Sustainability Hub
Explore the Act Locally story map and identify direct actions to take to live a more sustainable lifestyle
Connect with neighbors, businesses, and non-profit organizations on the Climate Action Map
Learn about the City’s progress towards its S/CAP goals
Answer your questions and gain important resources to act locally
Share the best ways to take climate action and be sustainable!
In other climate action news and to help residents go electric, a new website streamlines information about ways to make better choices at home through switching out your gas appliances for electric appliances. Find out what you need to do if you are considering installing an electric vehicle charger, heat pump water heater, solar system, and more, all in one convenient location. Get started with a contractor, learn the cost of installation, and gain financial support for upgrading electric heat pump water heaters and HVAC systems. Switching to an all-electric household is better for your health, for your wallet and for the environment. Make the switch today by visiting www.cityofpaloalto.org/goelectric.
Sustainability & Climate Action Council Discussions Coming Up
At the September 27 and October 3 Council meetings, the City Council will consider a variety of Sustainability and Climate Action items. After a year of planning and discussing different programs and resources, the Council Ad Hoc Committee on S/CAP and Sustainability and Working Group Teams work is incorporated into the S/CAP Goals and Key Actions and the new proposed Advanced Heat Pump Water Heater Program being proposed. The program could be launched in late 2022 or early 2023.
A parallel and related effort is the 2022 Green Building and Energy Reach Code update taking place as part of the local adoption of Building Codes for the 2023 through 2025 code cycle. Several code updates include requiring new residential and commercial building and vehicle electrification requirements like prohibiting new gas outdoor equipment infrastructure for pools, spas, and BBQ grills and requiring electric heat pump water heaters when an existing water heater is replaced. Following the initial discussion with the Council at the September 27 and October 3 meetings, staff is tentatively scheduled to present the code requirements for Council consideration on October 17 with implementation in January 2023. Learn more here.
Combined, the Advanced Heat Pump Water Heater Pilot and new code requirements if approved are expected to result in 1.3% to 1.8% of the emissions reductions needed to meet the City’s 80 x 30 emissions reductions goal. The goal of the pilot, however, is to successfully scale up to convert all individual gas water heaters in Palo Alto to heat pump water heaters. If that effort becomes successful, staff estimates it would result in an additional 4% to 5% emissions reductions.
Lastly, the City Council will consider other items including setting a goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035 and a legislative priority on electrification workforce development. Find the full staff report here. Attend the meeting virtually or in person at City Hall. Learn how to participate in hybrid City Council meetings here.
Upcoming Climate Action Events
Several events are coming up for the community to learn more about ways to act locally to have a global impact on climate change. Join us and share details with your community networks! Find more workshops and community events here.
Electric Vehicle Financial Incentives Clinic
Wednesday, September 21 | 7 to 8 PM | Virtual
Many potential electric vehicle (EV) owners don’t think they can afford an EV. In reality, EVs can be affordable to most Bay Area residents if they take advantage of the many rebates and grants that bring down costs by thousands of dollars. Particularly income-qualifying residents and those who live in environmentally disadvantaged communities have potentially more savings. Some programs also help buyers secure low-interest loans. At this informative workshop, attendees will learn about the programs that can help make their dream of electric vehicle ownership a reality. And not just any vehicle — a non-polluting, climate-protective, fast, quiet, fun, low-maintenance electric vehicle — enabling residents of most income levels to participate in the clean-mobility revolution. Learn more and register here.
Green and Electrified Home Tour
Saturday, September 24 | 10 AM to 4 PM | 20+ Homes in Santa Clara & San Mateo Counties
Want to see how a house functions without using fossil fuels as their energy source? Visit several homes that have made the switch to clean, green electricity. See a variety of different homes from newly built, “totally green” to more typical houses that are getting started on their journey to being all-electric. Taste food made on an induction cooktop, learn about heat pump water heaters, and possibly ride in an electric vehicle! For more details about homes you can see, register for the free Green Home Tour here.
One Water Plan Community Workshop
Wednesday, September 28 | 6 to 7:30 PM | Hybrid
The One Water Plan will create a more resilient water supply by leveraging previous efforts to evaluate alternative water supplies. Palo Alto is assessing key regional uncertainties and water supply risks such as projected shortages under multi-year droughts. We want to hear from you! Join the One Water Plan community workshop to share your community water supply needs and priorities. If you are joining in person, please remember to bring your reusable water bottle, and make sure to have a cell phone to participate in real-time polling during the meeting. Learn more and register to join in person or via zoom here.
Rain Barrel Workshop
Saturday, October 1 | 10 to 11 AM | SummerWinds Nursery at 725 San Antonio Rd.
Is a rain barrel right for you in your home? Join our free, in-person workshop with a rain barrel specialist to help answer your questions! Learn how rain barrels can improve your property and garden, conserve water, save money, and help protect local creeks and San Francisco Bay. Join specialist Chris Corvetti to understand the benefits of rain barrels, what’s involved in rain barrel installation and maintenance, and how they can help our environment. The workshop will also feature a chance for a Palo Alto resident to win a free 50-gallon rain barrel to take home right after the workshop! Learn more and register here.
Saturday, October 1 | 10 AM to 1 PM |Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve
Join the City and the Environmental Volunteers for a citizen science bioblitz at the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve. A bioblitz is simply a snapshot of the plants and animals found at a given location during a specific point in time. Attendees will record all the living things that are located using the iNaturalist app, and Environmental Volunteers educators will be present to help you learn about what you find! The data collected will inform the City’s Horizontal Levee Pilot Project that will study how habitat restoration and green infrastructure may be used in Palo Alto and the greater Bay Area as a method of shoreline protection in the face of future sea level rise. Note: All participants must wear a face mask and sign a waiver of liability. Baylands trails are wheelchair accessible. Go here for more details and to sign up.
Making Better Choices in Your Home Workshop
Saturday, October 15 |10 AM to 1 PM |Mitchell Park Community Center
Join the City for an upcoming workshop to learn about different climate-friendly choices you can make in your home.
Wondering about water heaters? Curious about electric cooktops? Excited about EVs and e-Bikes? Make an impact on climate change by acting locally through residential electrification options and tools. Save the date and join us at this open house style event to learn more, gain information from experts, and hear from other residents who have made the switch from gas to electric.
The Making Better Choices in Your Home Workshop will take place on Saturday, October 15 from 10 a.m. — 1 p.m. at Mitchell Park Community Center. Go here to save the date and register for the workshop.
MORE ONLINE RESOURCES
- Sign up to receive the City’s monthly Sustainability Newsletter here
- For details on the City’s Sustainability and Climate Action Plan and all S/CAP Ad Hoc meeting materials go to: www.cityofpaloalto.org/climateaction
- Read the previous Climate Blog Series postings here to learn about previous Ad Hoc meetings
- For more on the City’s Electrification programs, go here: www.cityofpaloalto.org/electrification
- For more on the City’s Green Building Program including trainings, go here
- For updates on California’s drought and water conservation tips go here