Blog

Photo of rain garden with flowering plants
Water

Rain Gardens: An Infographic

Rain gardens collect precious rain water and also help to beautify a yard. By providing a simple form of rainwater harvesting, rain gardens enable cities and homeowners alike tosave valuable rain water. Rain gardens can be particularly useful in water-stressed California where rainfall usually does not meet water demand and there is an increasing reliance on imported. As water prices climb and the frequency and severity of droughts increase, homeowners and municipalities across the state are looking toward simple and inexpensive ways to conserve critical water. Check out this infographic to learn more about stormwater runoff and how to make your own rain garden! 

Photo depicting Indigenous Peoples' Day celebration in Berkeley
Events

EcoBlock Celebrates Indigenous Peoples’ Day

The first declaration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day took place in 1992 in Berkeley, California. This year marks the first time a U.S. president has officially recognized Indigenous Peoples’ Day as a national holiday. The EcoBlock team recognizes and honors Indigenous People’s Day and the importance of recognizing the land we are on and our responsibility to become better stewards of the environment.

Installation of solar panel on roof
Energy

Power Distribution for the Oakland EcoBlock: A Conversation with Sascha von Meier

EcoBlock team member Eunice Chung interviews Alexandra “Sascha” von Meier, Principal Investigator and co-Energy team lead of the Oakland EcoBlock project. In her interview, Sascha discusses the technical and regulatory complexities of designing the EcoBlock microgrid and shares insights about opportunities for a more climate-resilient future.  

A large scale solar PV array and microgrid
Energy

The War of the Currents: DC vs. AC

The increasing frequency of power outages, as well as the growing rate and severity of natural disasters including wildfires and extreme weather patterns, poses significant threats to our current electric grid system. These risks, along with others such as cybersecurity threats, are a good reason to revisit the the 1880’s debate over whether DC or AC electrical currents would power the future. Read on to learn more about why this famous debate is being revisited and the potential for microgrids to provide backup generation during grid failure.

Karl the Fog drifting through the Golden Gate Bridge
Oakland

Bay Area Microclimates

San Francisco is famous for its microclimates, or local atmospheric conditions that differ from those in surrounding areas. In this blog, Miriam discusses how the area’s landscape and topography lead to these microclimates–and the Bay’s iconic feature, Karl the Fog.

Trucks leaving busy port
Community

Environmentalism in Oakland

Place-based efforts play a key role in improving communities’ sustainability and resilience to climate change. EcoBlock intern Amit Cohen writes about Oakland’s environmental journey and highlights how community groups have driven progress on climate and public health issues in the City.

A home in the Aardehuizen community in Olst
Community

The Aardehuizen Project: A Bold Vision for a Community Microgrid

The Aardehuizen Project is a community microgrid serving 23 homes in Olst, Netherlands. few other ecovillages around the globe that have been built at a scale as successful as the Aardehuizen. In this blog, Erin Yu highlights why Olst become the ideal location for a sustainable community and highlights several factors critical to the community’s success.

A sign that says "This House is Solarizing"
Business & Finance

Solarize: the Grassroots Initiative that Cut Solar Costs up to 35%

In 2009, a forward-thinking campaign in Portland, Oregon sought to speed up the transition towards clean energy by streamlining the installation process and reducing costs. The grassroots Solarize movement was able to foster a community invested in solar energy that could achieve cost savings through bulk purchasing. Read on to learn more about the innovative program and other more recent Solarize campaigns across the United States.

indoor air quality graphic
Design & Construction

Staying Safe: Indoor Air Quality and Ventilation

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) describes the quality of the air that circulates inside a building and how it affects people’s comfort and safety. With the average American spending 90 percent of their time indoors, it is important that our built environment supports our health and well-being. Read on to learn more how you can improve indoor air quality and stay safe during wildfire season.

children and adults gardening in a community garden
Community

Planting Seeds of Resilience

Urban beautification and community gardening are making the City of Oakland cleaner, greener, and more beautiful. While planting trees, flowers, and other greenery help provide shade, improve air quality, and increase access to local food, it can also bring people together to share knowledge and build meaningful relationships. Read on to learn about some of Oakland’s exciting urban beautification and gardening projects.