It Takes a Village

 

Our Commercial Outreach Team Member, Robert Carr, shares with us the goal of bringing commercial establishments on board with the Net Zero Energy plan for the EcoVillage. Interspersed among the words are photos of our neighbors

To borrow from the proverb that “it takes a village…”, in this case it literally will take everyone in our Chollas Creek Ecovillage to create a Net Zero Energy (ZNE) community.  This will require residents and commercial businesses alike to create and adopt a lasting culture of climate action needed implement our goals.  Groundwork San Diego has already started engaging community residents helping them implement sustainable energy and water strategies.  Now the time has come to engage our commercial businesses, so that they can participate in our Ecovillage.

Commercial businesses within the Chollas Creek Ecovillage are important stakeholders due to the fact that they use approximately 41% of the electricity delivered to our area.  Without significant participation from these commercial businesses, our ZNE goal will be not be possible.  To that end, we at Groundwork have launched a campaign to educate and collaborate with commercial entities to promote implementing energy efficiency upgrades, driving electric vehicles, and switching to renewable energy sources.

Solar Canopies for commercial businesses create shade and generate clean renewable energy

To make our ZNE community a reality, a key step is to make sure our commercial building stock is as energy efficient as possible and being powered by renewable energy sources.  Many of these buildings were built years ago, and as a result are not as energy efficient as they can be.  Working with our partners, we hope to show Chollas Creek businesses ways to retrofit their buildings without impacting their bottom line.  Actually, our goal is to energize their bottom line since being energy efficient and using renewable energy will save these businesses money.   Imagine an Ecovillage where the free rooftop spaces of our supermarkets, doctor offices, and industrial buildings are covered with solar panels, providing clean renewable energy to energy efficient buildings and fleets of electric vehicles.

Stormwater capture bioswales are easily integrated into solar canopy designs

Thankfully there are many local and State incentives that can assist with the financial demands of these critical retrofits.  Groundwork’s commercial outreach includes educating commercial businesses what these financial incentives are and how they can take advantage of them.  We will be there every step of the way assisting our commercial stakeholders through this process.  However, we are not limiting our outreach to just energy. Storm water capture, potable water use and conservation will also be an integral piece of our message.  It is critical that the water-energy nexus be understood if our community is truly to become an Ecovillage.  There is lots of work to be done, but we are confident our village is up to the task.