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Oakland EcoBlock

EcoBlock is a radical retrofit of existing residential homes to improve resilience, sustainability, and quality of life for all community members. The Oakland EcoBlock project aims to demonstrate technical, social, legal, and financial methods for radically reducing the environmental footprint of buildings through cost-effective retrofits at the block scale.

Buildings consume about half the energy used in the US; globally, buildings account for 39% of greenhouse gas emissions. Getting all buildings to net zero emissions is a critical task for climate change mitigation, but new building construction creates significant new emissions—typically two to four times more than renovations—and house by house retrofits are too slow. The Oakland EcoBlock project aims to demonstrate technical, social, legal, and financial methods for radically reducing the environmental footprint of buildings through cost-effective retrofits at the block scale.

The project aims to create and pilot an Advanced Energy Community Model that equitably and radically reduces carbon emissions, and undertakes collaborative action that builds community and improves community resilience.

The project will:

  • Conduct energy and water efficiency retrofits in existing homes and small businesses
  • Leverage economies of scale of block-level retrofits
  • Switch appliances and equipment to electric
  • Couple energy efficiency with a renewable energy microgrid

EcoBlock aims to provide resilience through:

  • Affordable energy retrofits (e.g., insulation, air sealing, efficient electric appliances)
  • Water efficiency upgrades (e.g., efficient fixtures & appliances, reuse water/greywater)
  • Shared electrical assets (e.g., photovoltaic array & battery storage)
  • Mobility improvements (e.g., shared electric vehicle with curbside charging)

The EcoBlock team is partnering with the City of Oakland to address permitting and regulatory considerations.

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