The Energy Analysis and Environmental Impacts Division prioritizes energy and environmental justice. Through research and demonstration at the community level, with input from and in partnership with community members, we support the mission to ensure clean energy transitions lift up all communities.
Photo Courtesy of New Partners Community Solar. All rights reserved.
Building Healthier and More Energy-Efficient Communities in Fresno and the Central Valley
To simultaneously achieve climate benefits, air quality improvements, and greater clean energy equity, an action plan has been developed for prioritizing the deployment of energy efficiency measures, electrification, and distributed energy resources in the Fresno area. This action plan will also provide a blueprint for other disadvantaged areas of the state.
Contact: Max Wei
Toolkit for Heat Resiliency
A California Toolkit for Heat Resiliency in Underserved Populations
In collaboration with community stakeholders in the city of Fresno, California, our researchers have helped underserved communities in Fresno by developing a heat resilience toolkit to enable residents to better cope with extreme heat. Collecting and responding to community feedback was an important component of developing this toolkit.
Contact: Max Wei
Equity in Utility Regulation
Advancing Equity in Utility Regulation
Increasingly, states are recognizing equity as a goal of utility regulation, going beyond traditionally stated objectives to ensure that electricity systems are reliable, safe, and fairly priced. State initiatives are critical not only to address historical inequities, but to ensure equitable benefits and burdens in the transition to a clean energy future. This report provides four perspectives on advancing equity in electric utility regulation, from representatives of energy justice and consumer organizations and a leading utility in this area.
Contact: Lisa Schwartz
The authors provide recommendations related to regulatory issues such as stakeholder engagement, defining "public interest," intervenor funding, electricity infrastructure siting, access to distributed energy technologies, consumer protections, bill affordability programs, rate design, program design, and metrics to track and evaluate results of policies, regulations, and programs intended to deliver equitable outcomes.
The report, Advancing Equity in Utility Regulation, can be downloaded at https://emp.lbl.gov/publications/advancing-equity-utility-regulation.
Other reports in the Future Electric Utility Regulation series are available at https://emp.lbl.gov/projects/feur/.
Household Energy Efficiency
Energy Efficiency for Low-and Moderate-Income Households
The Division’s Electricity Markets and Policy Department has conducted research on expanding access to energy efficiency in low- and moderate-income (LMI) households for a number of years. Our work focuses on how to make capital available to LMI households for home upgrades and on understanding how well energy efficiency programs reach and serve LMI households.
Relevant products include:
- Performance of solar leasing for low- and middle-income customers in Connecticut
- Cost of saving energy, which includes information on energy efficiency programs for low-income households
- Energy efficiency financing for low-and moderate-income households: Current state of the market, issues, and opportunities
- Delivering energy efficiency to middle income single family households
- Who is participating in residential energy efficiency programs?
Berkeley Lab compiles and analyzes data to explore demographic trends in rooftop solar adoption
The Berkeley Lab has compiled a data set of the demographic characteristics of over two million rooftop solar adopting households. Lab researchers update the data and generate new analyses on demographic trends of rooftop solar adopters on an annual basis. Through this work, the Lab has shown that rooftop solar adopters differ in several demographic characteristics from the general population, but that these differences have diminished over time.
Contact: Galen Barbose
Community Solar Market Transformation through Technical Assistance
The National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) is on a mission to ensure that all Americans have access to community solar and its meaningful benefits. To support rapid deployment of affordable and accessible community solar, NCSP offers free, rolling technical assistance (TA) that provides the resources needed to swiftly and successfully implement affordable, sustainable community solar programs that ensure benefits flow to all.
Main NCSP Page: Community Solar | Department of Energy
NCSP TA Webpage: Technical Assistance Opportunities | Department of Energy
Link to CBO Convening/TA Overview Recording: NCSP Community-Based Organizations Convening: Tools for Equitable Community Solar - YouTube
Community Air Protection Program
Empowering a Neighborhood to Breathe Easy
California legislation created this program to monitor air pollution and mitigate sources to reduce exposure in communities most impacted by air pollution. Communities around the State are working together to develop and implement new strategies to measure air pollution and reduce health impacts. Here, we (and UCB) created a new air pollution monitor and deployed it in West Oakland and are actively deploying them in Richmond and Modesto.
Contact: Thomas Kirchstetter
Vehicle Air Pollution Emission Control Technologies
Heavy-duty diesel trucks are essential for the movement of goods in California and the nation, but they contribute significantly to the burden of diesel particulate matter and nitrogen oxides in the air. Nitrogen oxide emissions are linked to significant health impacts, and many low-income communities who live and work in close proximity to these sources of pollution have been more significantly impacted by these emissions. Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley scientists work together to lead research in measuring the performance and durability of after-treatment emission control technologies as well as effectiveness of vehicle inspection and maintenance programs in reducing emissions from other vehicle types in compliance with EPA standards.
Contact: Thomas Kirchstetter
Effective Kitchen Ventilation for Healthy Zero Net Energy Homes with Natural Gas
The overall project goal is to conduct field, laboratory, and simulation research to inform developers of kitchen ventilation requirements in residential building codes for new California homes. The field component of the project sampled 23 apartments at 4 properties that serve low-income households. The field study focused on this sector because the effect of pollutant exposure to cooking emissions (PM, NOx) is expected to be higher in smaller homes with higher occupant densities.
The report for the overall study: https://eta.lbl.gov/publications/effective-kitchen-ventilation-healthy
Papers from the field study:
Data set from the field study:
Mobility Modeling for Low-Income Communities
Our mobility modeling research is targeted at ensuring access to clean transportation for multi-family housing communities. Modeling individual decisions such as where and how to travel, and all of the interactions between travelers and mobility providers as they make them, allows researchers at Berkeley Lab to evaluate ways to ease congestion and improve mobility in the short term and to understand the long term implications of new technologies and travel patterns on energy use and city environments.
Contact: Anna Spurlock
To capture the operations of transportation systems in full detail, a joint effort between Berkeley Lab and the Institute for Transportation Studies at UC Berkeley has developed the Behavior, Energy, Autonomy, and Mobility (BEAM) Modeling Framework. This modeling framework incorporates four key components of metropolitan transportation systems: Behavior, Energy, Autonomy, and Mobility, enabling highly resolved simulations of current future mobility systems.
BEAM can simulate mobility decisions of individual travelers based on their socio-economic and demographic characteristics including EV charging behavior and interactions with charging infrastructure or provide detailed analyses of the energy impacts of changing mobility trends. BEAM harnesses cutting-edge concurrent computing technology to enable simulation of millions of agents and is at the forefront of modeling traveler behavior and the operations of emerging transportation modes.