City of Beverly Hills | Community News
BY Bianca Heyward July 24, 2022
Reading time: 3 minutes
On July 20, the Beverly Hills Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) Community Advisory Committee hosted a climate action movie night in Roxbury Park that included a screening of the documentary “Ice on Fire” followed by a climate action panel with experts and leaders in sustainability. The evening also included food trucks, stalls with a variety of eco-friendly vendors, music and activities. Produced and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, the documentary explores the effects of climate change and how it is being felt around the world, while examining the need to reduce carbon emissions. Moderated by Public Works Commissioner Wendy Nystrom, the panel included Chris Liban, Director of Sustainability at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), Jessica Aldridge, Director of Sustainability and Zero Waste Programs for Athens Services , Executive Director of the US Green Building Council’s Los Ben Stapleton, Angeles Chapter, and Gina Goodhill, Policy Director of the Clean Power Alliance.
Panelists were asked about best practices in energy and sustainability, steps the city is taking to meet its climate goals, and simple daily actions Beverly Hills residents take to reduce their carbon footprint.
“As they said in the movie, one of the best ways to sequester carbon is to be able to put it back into your soil and create healthy, resilient plants,” Aldridge said. “And that’s what you do specifically every time you go to use that kitchen bucket.”
California law has set targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and requires the state to reduce emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality nationwide. by 2045. CAAP aims to achieve long-term community goals by providing cleaner energy, reducing air pollution, supporting local economic development and improving public health.
To stay in compliance with Senate Bill 1383, a new mandatory statewide organic waste collection law, every jurisdiction, including Beverly Hills, is required to provide waste collection services organic to all residents and businesses. All city entities will be asked to contribute to the reduction of methane by collecting and separating their food scraps.
The city is providing residents with 90-gallon “GREEN” green waste collection containers as well as a kitchen bucket to help meet state-mandated reduction goals. According to the city, green waste accounts for approximately 40% of all waste generated by Beverly Hills residents. To avoid bugs and odors when composting, Aldridge suggested sprinkling baking soda or spraying the bucket with soap beforehand.
As buildings sought an energy-efficient retrofit to offset carbon emissions, panelists were asked for recommendations regarding electrification and water conservation.
“There are four main sources of emissions in our homes, and they are our cooktops, clothes dryers, heating and hot water heating,” Stapleton said. “And that’s what creates emissions in our homes.” According to Stapleton, buildings account for about 48% of our greenhouse gas emissions.
“Things like LED lights, like insulation, some of those things aren’t rocket science, but it all adds up and we really have to consider that,” Stapleton said. “We can’t keep finding new ways to use more energy, we need to be more efficient with the electricity in our homes. And then, as we consider the transition, there are currently a lot of discounts available for things like HVAC heat pump, heat pump water heating, induction cooktops drop in price, and there are incentives for those, but it’s going to require infrastructure changes for our home.”
Stapleton also encouraged the use of more native plants, explored drought-tolerant landscaping, and addressed water use by switching to a drip irrigation system instead of sprinklers.
Beverly Hills is currently enrolled in the Clean Power Alliance’s 100% Renewable Energy Program, which means the electricity used will be purchased by the Clean Power Alliance
“Currently, Beverly Hills gets 50% of that electricity under our rate that we offer, which is 50% clean,” Goodhill said. “But starting in October, it will be 100% renewable energy from the sun, wind and other renewable energy sources. So this is a huge and very exciting decision that Beverly Hills has signed on to.
According to Goodhill, moving Beverly Hills to 100% clean energy will have the impact of reducing 186.4 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions each year, “which is equivalent to planting 1.4 million trees or to take 18,182 cars off the road”. However, the transition to clean energy comes at a cost. Goodhill explained that customers can expect a 3% cost increase on their bills and no cost increase for low-income customers.
To learn more, visit beverlyhills.org/BHCAAP.