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What is Building Decarbonization?
Building decarbonization means reducing the emissions associated with building electricity and natural gas consumption. This includes reducing a household’s or business’s energy consumption by switching to energy efficient appliances, doing energy efficiency upgrades, or reducing energy demand. Decarbonizing also means switching building’s energy source from natural gas to electricity generated from renewable sources.
What does Transitioning Energy Production and Storage mean?
To achieve long-term GHG emission reduction goals, non-renewable sources of energy consumption (e.g., natural gas) will need to transition to renewable sources, like electricity produced from solar and wind energy. This involves reducing the quantity of electricity produced from fossil fuels at power plant and including both large-scale (e.g., commercial solar farms) and small-scale (e.g., solar on residential rooftops) to account for the increased electricity demand from transitioning away from natural gas. Since solar and wind energy are dependent on environmental conditions, these sources of energy are not continuous throughout the day. That is why it is important to have energy storage (e.g., in the form of batteries) for distributing peak energy production to times when there is little to no energy production.
What are the Benefits?
Transitioning to more renewable energy sources has many benefits, such as:
- Improving air quality by reducing byproducts such as particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon monoxide
- Lowering public health risk (e.g., asthma) from exposure to elevated air quality concentrations
- Creating jobs in the construction, energy, and manufacturing industries
REDUCE ENERGY CONSUMPTION
Every time someone turns on their stove, heats water, uses their heater / air conditioner, or plugs in and uses an appliance, energy is being used. The specific type of energy consumed depends on the fuel source of the equipment or appliance. Unlike natural gas, electricity may be supplied from several sources, including non-renewable sources (e.g., natural gas power plants) and renewable sources (e.g., solar or wind). The specific breakdown of sources that provide electricity to the unincorporated community can vary from year to year, and depends on where the utility providers, Clean Power Alliance and Southern California Edison, procures the electricity from. The graphs below summarize Ventura County’s annual natural gas and electricity consumption within the unincorporated community from 2016 to 2022.
Chart footnote: “The decrease in GHG emissions in 2019 is due to switching electricity provider from SoCal Edison to Clean Power Alliance (CPA) and joining CPA’s 100% Green Power energy mix.”
General Plan CAP Program COS-W Energy Efficiency and Conservation Program
Actions such as switching over to more energy efficient appliances will lower a building’s energy usage and save the rate payer money. The County of Ventura’s Tri-County Regional Energy Network (3C-REN) and Ventura County Regional Energy Alliance (VCREA) initiatives aim to do just that. The two initiatives have programs that support the electrification of households and businesses and completing energy efficient upgrades. The results of these programs, both in terms of energy savings and GHG reductions, are shown in the graph below.
Chart footnote:3C-REN’s first programs in Ventura County launched in 2022, which is why data prior to 2022 is not shown for 3C-REN in this chart.
Increase Renewable Electricity Generation
Most of the residents and business in the unincorporated areas of Ventura County receive their electricity from Clean Power Alliance (CPA). CPA is a locally-operated clean electricity provider that allows customers to choose how much of their electricity will be supplied from renewable energy sources. In 2022, CPA’s entire electricity portfolio was comprised of 70% renewable energy.
Promote PV Solar Installations
Having more residents and businesses install solar panels and solar farms increases the availability of solar energy to be used as the source of electricity. Unincorporated Ventura County had a total of 42,626 kW of photovoltaic solar system capacity in 2022. The graph below shows how much electricity solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems in the unincorporated county have generated and the GHG savings associated their use. The County is undertaking actions to encourage and incentivize the expansion of PV systems in the unincorporated community. View the CAP programs to learn more about these programs.
General Plan CAP Program COS-S Building Code Update
The County’s Building Code specifies that, with limited exceptions, all new residential and commercial development and major remodels shall be constructed without natural gas plumbing, equipment, and appliances. Project compliance with these building reach code provisions has reduced building GHG emissions by approximately 4 MTCO2e since 2023.
General Plan CAP Program COS-T Energy Consumption Performance
The County of Ventura is leading by example by implementing energy efficiency upgrades and reducing building energy consumption. The County of Ventura has been enrolled in Clean Power Alliance’s (CPA) 100% Green Power Program since the middle of 2019, meaning that County government buildings have 100% of their grid-sourced electricity supplied from renewable sources. Cumulatively, the County government has avoided the generation of approximately 50,652 MTCO2e since 2019 by enrolling in the 100% Green Power Program. To learn more about CPA’s 100% Green Power Program, visit their webpage here.
View the graphs below to see how much natural gas and electricity County buildings have used on an annual basis since 2016.
Chart footnote:The County’s large decrease in GHG emissions that occurred in 2019 is attributable to enrollment in CPA’s 100% Green Power Program which, for that rate, sources 100% of supplied electricity from renewable sources.
Promote PV Solar Installations
The County of Ventura has worked to install more PV systems on County facilities, including solar panels on carports and a solar panel array in Fillmore. As of 2022, the County’s PV systems had a solar capacity of 7,586 kW. The graph below shows the amount of electricity generated by the County’s PV solar systems and the quantity of GHG emissions that have been offset by their use.
Chart footnote: The GHG savings from PV solar system generation on County facilities in 2019 decreased due to all county-wide accounts being enrolled in CPA as opposed to Southern California Edison. CPA’s renewable mix is greater than SCE’s, meaning that less electricity generated from non-renewable sources (e.g., fossil fuels) is being offset from PV systems.