The Oakland EcoBlock - A Zero Net Energy, Low Water Use Retrofit Neighborhood Demonstration Project
Analyzing a block-scale retrofit concept for accelerating the deployment of Advanced Energy Communities
The project team completed a Community-Scale Zero Net Energy Retrofit Master Plan that includes 27 houses and 2 multi-family buildings in Oakland. The plan features a DC solar, storage, EV microgrid; energy efficiency retrofits; hybrid AC/DC homes; and a house scale water efficiency systems. The planned systems are estimated to reduce block-wide CO2 emissions by about 65 percent, with near zero net energy reduction at the house scale. The project also identified Community Facilities Districts (CFD) as a viable mechanism for residents to collectively finance communal energy and water installations—both upfront capital and ongoing O&M costs—via assessments on property tax bills. The City of Oakland is using the results of this project to examine any needed changes to its planning or permitting policies to accommodate block-scale DER developments such as the EcoBlock.View Final Report
This project developed a model for a residential block-scale retrofit development of an integrated energy system combining energy efficiency, renewable generation, and water conservation technologies, called the EcoBlock. The development of the energy and water system components of the model served as a case study to analyze different owner-operator, and financing structures that may be applicable to a residential community. This case study can help transform the EcoBlock model from a one-off demonstration to a sustainable and replicable model for the entire state. The City of Oakland will also use the EcoBlock model to develop new planning and permitting processes that can lower the time and cost of similar block-scale developments throughout the city.
Greater deployment of AECs will increase consumer familiarity and comfort with ZNE homes and communities, increasing the likelihood of consumers choosing to live in an AEC.
Streamlined planning and permitting, as well as new financial models will lower the time and capital costs associated with AEC developments. This will make AECs more affordable for both developers and consumers.
Increased AEC deployments can lead to increased demand in clean energy technologies and services resulting in broad economic benefits to the clean energy sector.