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February 2022

Funding and Financing Building Electrification


February S/CAP Ad Hoc Committee Meeting


The next Sustainability and Climate Action Plan (S/CAP) Ad Hoc meeting on Thursday, February 10 from 9 – 11:30 a.m. will focus on funding and financing building electrification. Dr. Holmes Hummel, Founder and Executive Director of Clean Energy Works will present on the Pay-As-You-Save (PAYS) Utility Customer Project Financing Model, and Miriam Joffe-Block, Senior Manager at the California Hub for Energy Efficiency Financing will present on GoGreen Utility Customer Project Financing.

Pre-registration is required to watch the meeting in real time - register today!

We welcome your input on sustainability and climate action topics. Share your feedback through the Sustainability and Climate Action Plan Update Survey or submit comments and questions to sustainability@cityofpaloalto.org.

Meeting materials will be posted on the S/CAP Ad Hoc Committee page in advance of the meeting.
 
Register for the February Ad Hoc Meeting
The City of Palo Alto launched an update to the Sustainability and Climate Action Plan (S/CAP) in 2020 to help meet our City's sustainability goals, including our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. The S/CAP Ad Hoc Committee was formed by City Council on April 19, 2021 to guide the development, implementation, communication, and future community engagement of the S/CAP. Access previous webinars and Ad Hoc Meetings on the S/CAP Community Engagement page.

Previous Meetings and Climate Action Plan Blog Series


On January 13, 2022, community members joined the Sustainability and Climate Action Plan (S/CAP) Ad Hoc Committee meeting to discuss the health impacts of wildfires, climate adaptation planning efforts for wildfire protection, and sea level rise - including a preview of Palo Alto’s Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment. Notably at the January meeting, Marshall Burke, Stanford University Associate Professor in the Department of Earth System Science, discussed how wildfire risk is changing. Michael Wara, Director of the Climate and Energy Policy Program at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, discussed wildfire challenges. Jeremy Lowe, Senior Environmental Scientist at the San Francisco Estuary Institute, discussed the drivers of sea level rise (SLR) and SLR adaptation pathways.
 
The latest Climate Action Plan blog goes into more depth about the January Ad Hoc Meeting. Previous Climate Action Plan Blogs can be found on the Sustainability News page.

Watch the January 13 meeting here.

New Mandatory Statewide Water Use Restrictions Announced to Boost Drought Resilience 

On January 4, 2022, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted an emergency regulation that prohibits certain wasteful water use practices statewide and encourages Californians to monitor their water use more closely while building habits to use water wisely. In addition to Palo Alto's permanent water use restrictions, the emergency regulation prohibits irrigating within two days of a rain event and washing hardscapes, like patios and walkways, with potable water unless there is a health and safety need. The state regulation also ensures that Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs) don’t unlawfully restrain homeowners from taking water conservation actions. For more information see the Fact Sheet for Drought Conservation Emergency Regulation – January 2022: Frequently Asked Questions.
 
For information on the City’s permanent water use restrictions, visit cityofpaloalto.org/water.
 
For information about saving water while caring for trees, go here.
 
Help Save Water by Reporting Water Waste at cityofpaloalto.org/311,
Email drought@cityofpaloalto.org or leave a voice message at (650) 496-6968.

Celebrate Lunar New Year Sustainably


Lunar New Year - also known as the Chinese New Year and, in China, as the Spring Festival - marks the start of the new year based on the Chinese lunar calendar. The first day of Lunar New Year begins on the new moon that appears between January 21 and February 20. In 2022, the first day of the Lunar New Year was Tuesday, February 1, marking the end of the Year of the Ox and the start of the Year of the Tiger.

While Lunar New Year began on February 1, the holiday is celebrated for 15 straight days, with feasts, family reunions, street parades, visits to shrines, and fireworks to drive away bad luck. Like U.S. New Year's celebrations, Lunar New Year celebrations can result in large amounts of waste.

Although certain aspects of Lunar New Year celebrations are sacred, there are ways to limit or reduce your impact during the holiday. Here are a few tips to stay sustainable during Lunar New Year.
  • Make your own eco-friendly confetti. Like New Year's in the U.S., confetti is often a part of Lunar New Year celebrations. Unfortunately, confetti are often made from plastic or unsustainable dyes, which leaves behind microplastics and other unsafe materials in the ground and in waterways when it breaks down. Here is a guide to making your own eco-friendly confetti, so you don't need to worry about leaving an impact for years to come.
  • Reuse last year's red envelopes. At Lunar New Year, it’s tradition to give the gift of a bright, beautiful red envelope (known as 紅包, hóngbāo) to your friends and family. But not just any old envelope. These are filled with money - and symbolize good wishes and luck for the new year ahead. The importance of the hóngbāo isn’t the cash held inside; it’s the envelope itself. The red color symbolizes good luck and prosperity in Chinese and other East Asian cultures. While it's an important tradition, 320 million red envelopes are produced annually - the equivalent of more than 16,300 trees. Reusing red envelopes or making them from recycled paper makes the tradition more sustainable.
  • Try a plant-based recipe. Food is one of the most popular ways to celebrate the holiday, especially with dishes like dumplings, spring rolls, noodles, and whole fish that symbolize good luck and fortune in the year ahead. In many cases it’s pretty easy to swap out major meat ingredients for veggies. Kaitlin Leung from The Woks of Life has a delicious list of 19 vegan recipes for Chinese New Year, if you want some inspiration.
  • Be conscious of food waste. Those who celebrate Lunar New Year may receive an influx of edible treats during the holiday - such as pineapple tarts, cookies, or mandarin oranges. If it's too much for you to consume, consider donating any excess food instead of composting or throwing it away. 
Happy Lunar New Year!

Upcoming Events

Lunar New Year Celebration


Sunday, Feb. 06 | 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Join the City in celebrating the Year of the Tiger at Mitchell Park Community Center! Event highlights include a variety of performances from different members of the community, music, free food, and a variety of interactive booths for youth and families centered around Asian culture and traditions. This event is free and open to all audiences of all ages. This is an outdoor event, dress warm for the weather, and masks are required to attend. Learn more at www.cityofpaloalto.org/LunarNewYear.

EV 101 - Is an EV Right for You? 


Thursday, Feb. 17 | 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Join us next week to learn more about electric vehicles and if owning one is right for you – hot tip, everyone should go EV! This webinar includes a review of available models, charging at home and on the road, incentives, and total cost of ownership. Hear from EV owners about what they love most about driving electric. This event will be held virtually via Zoom.
Register for the EV 101 webinar here.
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