The EcoBlock Project is a California Energy Commission-funded research project led by the University of California Berkeley, motivated by urgent societal questions, and California legal mandates related to climate change and urban vulnerability. For example, SB-32 (California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006) requires the state of California to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. Other mandates include:
- 50% renewable energy by 2026, 100% renewable energy by 2045
- SB 606: Water efficiency measures
- AB 1668: Drought preparedness
- SB 1339: Boost/streamlining microgrids
The EcoBlock project has taken the initiative to implement integrated systems that would apply existing renewable technologies to a block of 30 to 40 adjoining residences to help reduce their fossil fuel and water consumption, ultimately reducing carbon emissions by 85%. The affected area will produce close to zero net energy on an annual basis and lower the amount of greenhouse gases emitted in suburban areas.
The Pilot EcoBlock site is located in Oakland’s Fruitvale District. This will be the first-of-its-kind block to demonstrate neighborhood-scale solutions to urban resilience, including energy and water efficiency, a communal solar-powered microgrid, and shared electric transportation. The project, led by UC Berkeley, will run from 2020 to 2023, with efficiency retrofits and microgrid construction planned for 2021-22. CITRIS + CIEE will be working with a variety of different organizations for this project, including but not limited to Franklin Energy, Siegel and Strain Architects, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Stanford University, Berkeley Law, the Transportation Sustainability Research Center, and the City of Oakland.
To learn more about the EcoBlock project and how it seeks to transform how sustainability is approached at the residential level, you can visit the project’s website.
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