2020 in Review

EcoBlock Year in Review Infographic
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2020 will surely be remembered for its challenges—from the pandemic, economic hardships, and the struggle for racial justice to horrendous wildfires and the undeniable realities of climate change. But it also marks the beginning of new conversations and new hope.

In the spring of this year, the first Oakland EcoBlock found its perfect home, with more than two dozen committed families, a big research team, and supporters of the project coming together to pioneer a new approach to sustainable living. Working around COVID-19 restrictions in our bi-monthly community meetings, along with many individual conversations, we managed to get to know each other and better understand the needs and concerns of property owners and renters. And then, with energy assessments in houses and apartments up and down the block, it started to get real!

Our team was also busy behind the scenes. We’ve crunched numbers on solar panels and utility bills and researched the latest in efficient appliances. We studied the legal details of homeowners’ associations, co-ops, and different financing tools so everyone will know exactly what they’re signing onto and feel confident that the risks are managed. We also held many meetings with PG&E and the California Public Utilities Commission to decide how the microgrid will be connected, and who will be responsible for each of its parts—and beyond that, how new rules may allow more community microgrids to thrive in the future.

The EcoBlock hypothesis is that the most cost-effective way to drive zero-carbon energy, deep water conservation and resilient urban systems is by addressing components together, on the block-neighborhood-district scale.

EcoBlock is a radical retrofit of existing residential homes, creating a block that is more resilient to power outages, has improved indoor air quality, and allows residents to co-own the main means of their energy production. The Oakland EcoBlock project is creating a technical, legal, financial, and social roadmap to decarbonize cities through block-by-block urban retrofits that reduce energy and water consumption and reduce tailpipe emissions from gasoline powered cars through support of electric mobility and carshare.

The EcoBlock project proposes an integrated approach that combines many disciplines related to sustainable urban living:

Urban Planning and Process
Design and Construction
Business and Finance

The California Energy Commission (CEC) funded Phase 1 and is now funding Phase 2 of the Oakland EcoBlock Project (Contract Number: EPC-18-013.).

uc berkeley logo

Design and Construction team:
Spie Batignolles Logo

Energy team:
spectrum energy logo
Water team:
Legal, Business, Finance team:
david taussig associates
perkins coie logo
Transportation team:
Urban Planning team:

Community Engagement team:

Phase 1 Sponsors and Partners:
Veolia Logo
rexel logo
arnold & porter logo
perkins coie logo
lawrence berkeley national lab logo
PG&E logo
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill logo
stanford university logo
NASA logo

Disclaimer: This website was prepared as the result of work sponsored by the California Energy Commission. It does not necessarily represent the views of the Energy Commission, its employees or the State of California. The Energy Commission, the State of California, its employees, contractors and subcontractors make no warranty, express or implied, and assume no legal liability for the information in this website; nor does any party represent that the uses of this information will not infringe upon privately owned rights. This website has not been approved or disapproved by the California Energy Commission nor has the California Energy Commission passed upon the accuracy or adequacy of the information in this website.