CURRENTS: Summer 2014

Net Zero and Me*
*Or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Grid

Article by Bob Riding
Intro by Joseph Oldham

The article “Net Zero and Me” is the last of a series of informative and amusing articles focused on issues related to sustainable resource use written by my friend and colleague, Bob Riding. “Net Zero and Me” is the journey of one family toward the goal of living a zero net energy (ZNE) lifestyle and spans several decades. Though the article was written a few years ago, it is very timely with today’s focus on new home construction and renovation of existing homes centered on the goal to creating structures that achieve zero net energy use.

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New Jersey Makes Energy Resiliency a Top Priority

Article by Elizabeth Daigneau

After struggling to restore millions of people’s power in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, New Jersey has become the first state with a “green” bank focused on energy resilience.

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The State of Zero-Net Energy New Homes in 2014

Article by Joseph Oldham

The Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan produced by the California Public Utilities Commission in 2008 contains a goal for achieving zero-net energy (ZNE) on all new homes in California by 2020. The idea behind this goal was that improvements in building materials and techniques, increasingly stringent Title 24 energy codes, and lower costs for on-site renewable energy would all come together by 2020 to make this goal a reality. However, the goal was set out prior to the Great Recession and the collapse of the housing market in 2009. Many people have wondered, since the collapse, if achieving the ZNE goal for residential new construction by 2020 is even feasible or if the marketplace is ready for the added cost of ZNE homes. The good news is that in spite of the Great Recession, significant progress has been made toward development of mass produced ZNE homes in various regions of California. This article is Part 1 of a two-part series and focuses on two examples of this effort in Northern California communities.

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US Bureau of Reclamation – Sacramento and San Joaquin Basins: Climate Impact Assessment

This report presents the results of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Climate Impact Assessment (SSJIA), which addresses impacts in two of these major basins in California. The SSJIA also includes the Tulare Lake Basin in the southern part of the Central Valley of California; part of the Trinity River watershed from which some water is diverted into the Central Valley; and a portion of California’s central coast region where Central Valley Project (CVP) and State Water Project (SWP) water supplies are delivered. The water supplies and demands analyzed in the SSJIA include CVP water users, SWP water users, and the other non-project water users in the study area.

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