2018 National Planning Conference

Oakland's Zero Net Energy Master Plan

Sunday, April 14, 2019 from 10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. PDT

CM | 1.25

Activity Type: Educational Sessions

Activity ID: NPC198116

Location: 2011

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  • Hear from a team of academic, research, utility, city and practice leaders designing a Community-Scale Zero Net Energy Retrofit Master Plan (ZNE-MP) for a street-car suburban city block.
  • Understand how retrofitting a residential neighborhoods represents an untapped resource to demonstrate immediate and large-scale emissions reductions and other co-benefits.
  • See how to transform what is now considered a resource-wasteful community building model into a sustainable community-building approach for consistency with state of California's suite of policy guidance.


This session examines the Oakland EcoBlock, which is like any other residential street-car suburban-style city block with about 30 homes arranged back to back surrounded by neighborhood streets. The block, serviced by conventional utilities, provides homes for about 100 people and was built at a time when rapid urban growth was consuming land and resources fueling prosperity throughout America. Today, these environments are unsustainable due to the resources they consume and the greenhouse gas emissions they emit.

To demonstrate how the transformation of the American residential fabric could happen, the Oakland EcoBlock team developed several energy and water scenarios. The definition and analysis of these scenarios led to a recommended Draft Community-Scale ZNE-MP for the block.

In addition, to learn from the research and promote broader application, the team developed a case study with a detailed description of the project planning process. The case study included the results from interviews of members of the Oakland EcoBlock project team to identify key decisionmaking points and factors (both positive and negative) that informed the community-scale residential retrofit effort. It also identified factors that are more likely to lead to scaling up of water, energy (and associated transportation) sectors.

This course is approved to offer 1.25 LU (AIA).
This course is approved to offer 1.25 PDH|HSW (ASLA).

Session Speakers

Amy Dryden
Build It Green

Anthony Nahas
University of California Berkeley

Daniel Hamilton
City of Oakland

Christine Scott Thomson, AICP
Page Southerland Page, Inc.

Gregory Thomson
California Institute for Energy and Environment, University of California
Berkeley, CA