News at ABAG

Posted Friday, April 3, 2015
For local leaders and regulators, this report was designed to identify and share best practices and improve building code enforcement and building performance rates on a regional level. The report represents the collaborative efforts of the nine San Francisco Bay Area Counties and 15 Bay Area building departments to learn about energy code enforcement barriers and challenges, identify successful enforcement strategies, and gather data about the impact of discrepancies on building performance. The BayREN Codes and Standards program was designed to identify and share best practices and improve building code enforcement and building performance rates within the region. In 2013-2014, BayREN launched its Codes & Standards Permit Resource Opportunity Program (PROP), funded by public goods charges collected from energy utility customers. After conducting a survey of stakeholders, BayREN's energy code experts conducted a series of visits to fifteen Bay Area building departments to learn about energy code enforcement barriers and challenges, identify successful enforcement strategies, and gather data about the impact of discrepancies on building performance. This report examines the results of that effort.

The PROP Final Report is available at

Key findings of BayREN's 2014 PROP research include:

Other report highlights include:

In addition to PROP findings and recommendations, this report describes resources available to
local governments seeking to improve energy code enforcement, including BayREN-developed
guides and tools. Finally, this report provides considerations for future programs that could be
developed regionally or statewide to target energy code compliance.

In 2015, BayREN will revisit building departments that participated in the 2014 PROP program.
Each jurisdiction will receive training tailored around their specific needs. The goal of these
visits is to encourage jurisdictions to reach beyond minimum code compliance and adopt a
strategy that promotes better-than-code building practices.

The BayREN team is happy to answer any questions you may have after reviewing this report and can be reached at Additionally, interested parties are invited to the April BayREN Forum, where highlights from this Final Report will be presented and discussed. For more information and to register for the April Forum, visit

BayREN is a collaborative of the nine bay area counties working together to increase energy savings throughout the region with Codes and Standards, Residential, Multifamily and other similar programs. The BayREN Codes & Standards Program focuses on improving enforcement of Title 24, Part 6 of the California Code of Regulations, California Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Standards). BayREN Codes & Standards is funded by California utility customers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.

Posted Monday, March 2, 2015

Homeowners Access BayREN for Energy Efficiency Homes
2015 Promises More for Bay Area Homeowners

Enrollment in the Bay Area Regional Energy Network's (BayREN) multifamily and single family programs has achieved significant ground in capitalizing on energy savings potential. BayREN provides cash rebates to both multifamily and single family homeowners who undertake energy efficient property improvements. While both programs have received great interest and participation, BayREN's multifamily program stands out as it has outperformed other multifamily energy upgrade programs in California by a factor of three to four.

As of December 2014, rebates totaling over $6.2 million were paid to multifamily property owners in the Bay Area, and $2.2 million was paid to or reserved for single family homeowners. These programs create meaningful impact across the region with job creation, economic stimulus, cost savings, and the advancement of environmental policy. Participating multifamily properties reduced their total energy use on average by 16 percent.

"The BAYREN programs are protecting California's energy and air resources, reducing property owners' energy bills, helping Bay Area governments meet their Greenhouse Gas reduction targets, and contributing to the growth of the green building industry which in turn creates jobs," said San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Pine. Local businesses benefit from access to green job training and job creation, which stimulates the regional economy.

Administered by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), BayREN implements effective energy saving programs on a regional level and draws on the expertise, experience, and proven track record of Bay Area local governments to develop and administer successful climate, resource, and sustainability programs. The BayREN program is one example of ABAG's leadership in delivering innovative programs for regional environmental sustainability. BayREN is a collaborative program with all nine Bay Area counties participating. Each county has a representative to respond to homeowners and help them access funds and program upgrades.

BayREN offers a Home Upgrade Advisor Service, which provides free one-on-one assistance to homeowners and contractors. Home Upgrade Advisors are Building Performance Institute certified energy efficiency professionals who can inform homeowners about their energy efficiency options, help select an appropriate participating contractor for the single family program, and navigate project installation and financing processes.

For more information, homeowners can contact a Home Upgrade Advisor by calling 866-878-6008 or by submitting a brief form to

Founded in 1961, ABAG is the official regional planning agency for 100 cities and towns, and nine counties of the Bay Area and is recognized as the first council of governments in California.

Posted Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Finance Authority for Nonprofit Corporations (FAN) Votes to Restore Embezzled San Francisco Funds

The Executive Committee of the Finance Authority for Nonprofit Corporations (FAN) today voted unanimously to use approximately $1.3 million from FAN reserve funds to make San Francisco whole, in the wake of an apparent embezzlement of that amount by a senior manager at FAN. The money will be returned to the account from which it was stolen, restoring control of these funds to San Francisco and the South of Market Community Stabilization Committee. It is expected that legal documents effectuating the transfer of funds will be finalized by early next week. Click here for full press release

Posted Monday, December 8, 2014

Priority Development Area Showcase Launched -- New PDA Applications to be Accepted

An updated online resource, called the Priority Development Area (PDA) Showcase, launches today. The Showcase is an easy to use, interactive mapping tool, highlighting the Priority Development Areas throughout the Bay Area. ABAG Planning and Research staff have updated the PDA Showcase to provide interactive maps, key facts, implementation needs, and a description of the goals and vision for each PDA.

Click the PDA Showcase map link


ABAG staff plan to edit and update site content with direction from local jurisdiction planners on a bi-monthly basis. Some updates and edits need to be verified internally before they are changed on the site. If you have comments or questions about content appearing on the site, please contact ABAG Regional Planner Christy Leffall: ABAG staff are accepting applications for new PDAs, and for changes to existing PDAs until June 30, 2015. Click here for PDA Applications.

Priority Development Areas (PDAs) are locally nominated infill areas where there is local commitment to developing more housing along with amenities and services to meet the day-to-day needs of residents in a pedestrian-friendly environment served by transit. The growth envisioned through these PDAs is based in large part on local aspirations and community context. The PDAs reflect the diversity of the communities in the Bay Area.

Posted Wednesday, December 3, 2014

San Francisco Estuary Partnership Awarded a $32 Million Drought Related Grant

Drought response efforts just got a major boost in the Bay Area. On November 12, 2014, the San Francisco Estuary Partnership was awarded a $32 million Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) Grant (Proposition 84) from the California Department of Water Resources to address Bay Area drought relief, critical water supply, and water quality. The Estuary Partnership is providing grant management for projects to be completed by water districts and community organizations throughout the region.

"This important state investment of grant funds for Bay Area Projects will help address the impacts of the statewide drought and speed up the ability of Bay Area communities to prepare for extended drought conditions," says Judy Kelly, Director of the San Francisco Estuary Partnership.

The Estuary Partnership is one of 27 agencies statewide to be awarded the IRWM 2014 Drought Grant -- part of $200 million in state money resulting from Governor Jerry Brown's January Declaration of Drought State of Emergency. IRWM is a regional collaboration tasked to better integrate water resource management. The IRWMP process and projects cross jurisdictional, watershed, and political boundaries bringing together diverse agencies and groups to create solutions that provide multi-benefit solutions to our pressing water issues.

Types of projects being funded include emergency rehabilitation, drought preparedness and relief, water recycling, water storage, flood control, and water conservation for safe drinking water, water quality and supply. Funding is slated for 10 Bay Area projects, which include the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission's Lower Cherry Aqueduct Emergency Rehabilitation Project; the Alameda County Zone 7 Water Supply Drought Preparedness Project; and the Santa Clara Valley Water District/City of Sunnyvale's Continuous Recycled Water Production Facilities and Wolfe Road Pipeline.

The San Francisco Estuary Partnership is a coalition of resource agencies, non-profits, citizens, and scientists working to protect, restore, and enhance water quality and fish and wildlife habitat in and around the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary. The Partnership is a program of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). Founded in 1961, ABAG is the regional planning agency for the nine counties and 101 cities and towns of the Bay Area and is recognized as the first council of governments in California.

For more information, contact Jennifer Krebs, Principal Environmental Planner, San Francisco Estuary Partnership, 510-622-2315.

Posted Monday, December 1, 2014

Presidio Bank first to offer low-interest financing for
Multifamily Property Owners through Bay Area Regional Energy Network

Presidio Bank is the first lender to participate in a regional financing program offered by the Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN). Administered by the Association of Bay Area Governments, BayREN implements effective energy saving programs on a regional level and draws on the expertise, experience, and proven track record of Bay Area local governments to develop and administer successful climate, resource, and sustainability programs. Through the program, Multifamily real estate owners may now access lowered interest rates financing, no-cost consulting with multifamily energy efficiency experts, and rebates of $750 per residential unit to complete energy efficiency upgrades.

The Bay Area Regional Energy Network is designed to encourage multifamily property owners to improve their real estate assets through upgrades to their energy systems. Upgrades can address the building shell with new windows or added insulation, the heating systems with new boilers or furnaces, the water heating systems with efficient heaters and water conserving devices, appliances, and lighting. Interested property owners may also access no-cost consulting to advise them on upgrades that are appropriate for their building, and prioritize cost effective upgrades.

Borrowers approved for loans with participating banks to cover the cost of the energy upgrades would receive a reduced interest rate. The subsidized program brings down the interest rate by up to half of the rate that the bank would otherwise offer for a standard loan of equivalent size and terms. Qualifying upgrade scopes that save 10% or more of the whole building's energy usage may also access the $750 per unit rebate.

"Presidio Bank is proud to be part of a program that has so many benefits," said Steve Heitel, Presidio Bank President & CEO. "It helps our clients improve their multifamily assets while doing the right thing to conserve energy and water, helping the environment, and enhancing comfort for their residents."

The financing, consulting, and rebate program are offered through the Bay Area Regional Energy Network, a collaboration of nine local county governments. The program is funded through energy utility ratepayer funding under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. The program is available to multifamily buildings with five or more attached dwelling units in the nine Bay Area counties receiving PG&E gas or electric service.

To learn more about the offering through Presidio Bank, contact Lisa Zuffi, Senior Vice President:

About the Bay Area Regional Energy Network

The Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN) is a collaboration between the ABAG cities and counties. Administered by ABAG, BayREN implements effective energy saving programs on a regional level and draws on the expertise, experience, and proven track record of Bay Area local governments to develop and administer successful climate, resource, and sustainability programs. For more information, visit or call Karen Kho, Program Manager, at 510-891-6500.

Posted Monday, September 29, 2014

Employers Now Required to Offer Employees Commuter Benefits by September 30, 2014

San Francisco Bay Area employers with 50 or more full-time employees including public agencies, private businesses, and non-profit organizations are now required to register at and offer commuter benefits to their employees in order to comply with the Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program developed pursuant to CA Senate Bill 1339. The program is modeled on local ordinances in several Bay Area cities (Berkeley, Richmond, San Francisco, and the San Francisco International Airport). Through this program, employers must offer their employees one of four Commuter Benefit options:

What are my options?

1. Option 1 - Allow employees to exclude their transit or vanpool costs from taxable income, to the maximum amount, as allowed by federal law (currently $130 per month).

2. Option 2 - Employer-provided transit subsidy (or transit pass) or vanpool subsidy up to $75 per month.

3. Option 3 - Employer-provided free or low cost bus, shuttle or vanpool service operated by or for the employer.

4. Option 4 - An alternative employer-provided commuter benefit that is as effective as in reducing single occupant vehicles as Option 1-3.

The various commuter benefits outlined are designed to encourage employees to take transit, vanpool, carpool, bicycle and walk, rather than drive alone to work. It is anticipated that employees will be more willing to use commute alternatives when encouraged by their employer’s through this Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program. The program is designed for employers with 50 or more full-time employers. However, some employers with fewer than 50 Bay Area employees may be subject to a local commuter benefits ordinance that have been adopted by the cities of San Francisco, Berkeley, and Richmond, as well as the San Francisco International Airport.

Employers are required to notify employees of the commuter benefit that they will provide and document implementation of their commuter benefits program and make records available to the Air District and/or MTC upon request.

Visit and click on Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program, for more information and to register for the program. To request free assistance or for more information, just click on the "Needs Assistance" section or call 511 and say "Commuter Benefits." Employer Services Representatives are available in each county to provide free assistance to employers in setting up programs. There is a help line specialists available at (510) 273-3680.

The Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program is a partnership of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, managing employer outreach for the Program, and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, developer of Regulation 14, Rule 1: Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program and managing compliance for the Program.

Posted Friday, September 19, 2014

Priority Conservation Areas
Revised Application Process

As part of the broader Plan Bay Area Implementation effort, ABAG staff worked with local jurisdictions, the ABAG administrative committee and stakeholders to develop a Priority Conservation Areas (PCA) program update. Adopted July 17, 2014, this update specifically addresses the Open Space and Farmland implementation areas and introduces four categories to recognize the role of different kinds of PCAs in supporting the vitality of the region's natural systems, rural economy and human health.

All new and modified PCAs must apply or re-apply. The revised guidelines for new PCA nominations, review and adoption, and confirming existing PCAs are summarized below.

Updated PCA Application Process and Requirements
The application requires that new PCA nominations include:
1. An adopted resolution of support from the jurisdiction(s) in which it is located

2. A map and text describing the general area and boundaries of the PCA

3. Selection of one or more of the PCA designations described below and text and supporting text and data

4. Discussion of the regional and local importance of the PCA

Sponsors of proposed PCAs are required to complete the applications by May 30, 2015. For more information, go to

Posted Thursday, August 28, 2014

ABAG Response to South Napa Earthquake

ABAG sends its sympathy and concern to the North Bay communities hit by the South Napa earthquake, especially to those that have been injured, and have sustained damage to their homes and businesses. We are working together to provide as much support as we can. ABAG recognizes the outstanding work, effective coordination, proper support and strong community spirit of the City and the County of Napa.

At 3:20 AM (local time) on Sunday, August 24, 2014, a magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck, centered near American Canyon in Napa County. Unreinforced masonry buildings, mobile homes, single family homes, and infrastructure systems all sustained damage in the earthquake.
The California Earthquake Clearinghouse immediately organized teams to survey and report on the damage from the earthquake. Reports and photos from the field can be found on the virtual clearinghouse. ABAG also responded by participating in the field reconnaissance efforts, sharing lessons learned from Napa with ABAG's elected officials from other communities, and will be working with local governments in the coming weeks to support resilience building efforts for future earthquakes.
The link,, provides a list of actions that local governments and residents can take now to prepare for earthquakes, and a digest of the pertinent media coverage compiled for members to use. At there is alos a toolkit compilation of disaster recovery and resilience policies, regulations and materials to support current planning, the latest on housing and community risk assessments, and a section on infrastructure and airport resilience.
To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, ABAG is sponsoring a public policy symposium, Loma Prieta 25: Still on Shaky Ground--Building Bay Area Resilience, on Thursday, October 16th, at Oakland's Kaiser Center.

Visit the conference site for more information and to register:

Community and business leaders are encouraged to join this critical regional gathering and support the policy recommendations for safer communities that ABAG and its partner agencies have developed for implementation.

Posted Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Save the Date
Loma Prieta 25: Still on Shaky Ground
Building Bay Area Resilience
Conference on October 16, 2014

The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), the United States Geological Survey (USGS), and the Structural Engineering Association of Northern California (SEAONC) will convene the Loma Prieta 25 Symposium on October 16, 2014, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake. This public policy symposium will be held at the Kaiser Center in Oakland at 300 Lakeside Drive. Expert speakers will include panelists from local Bay Area jurisdictions, and state, federal and regional agencies. Critical analyses about strengthening Bay Area communities, lifeline systems, and policies since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake will be presented.

Speakers--policy experts, community leaders and local, state, and national elected officials, and engineering and mitigation/resilience experts--will examine resilience progress accomplished in the last twenty-five years; discuss infrastructure interdependence; review best ways to finance community safety; and explore how cities apply implementation for a safer, smart future, as well as recommendations for community resilience building for future regional earthquakes.

Visit the conference site for more information and to register:

Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014

New Bay Area Water Trail Web Map Launches

Looking to spend some time this summer on the Bay in your kayak or other small watercraft and don't know where to go? The San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail is launching a new web-based interactive map! This trip planning tool for non-motorized small boat users showcases Water Trail launch and destination sites. Boaters can view information about each designated Water Trail site, complete with description, photos, directions, and a link for more detailed information about each site. View the Water Trail map at

The nine-county Water Trail program is intended to promote recreational water access opportunities and increase an appreciation of the Bay and its unique resources. Trip planning resources give boaters information about where they can go to access the Bay. This valuable information is featured on the Water Trail website, which also includes links to real-time water and weather conditions, information about the Bay's wildlife, and a list of outfitters and clubs where people can rent boats, take classes, or go on guided trips. The Water Trail web map complements the information already provided and is designed to grow as more Water Trail sites are added. Future updates could include the location of waterfront lodging, camping, or boat rental locations.

The base map used to create the Water Trail web map is the same one created and used by the San Francisco Bay Trail Project. The Water Trail map has Bay-side details that are of interest to both Water Trail and Bay Trail users and having both trails share the map is a good example of different programs working together to leverage funds and share resources. The State Coastal Conservancy provides funding for both trail programs. For more information, visit the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail website at

The San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail program is a four agency partnership led by the State Coastal Conservancy, in close collaboration with the Association of Bay Area Governments, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, and Division of Boating and Waterways (now part of the Department of Parks and Recreation).

Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Local Governments Honored with Growing Smarter Together Awards
View Videos of these Award Winning Projects

ABAG's Eighth Annual Growing Smarter Together Awards were presented during its Spring General Assembly to the cities of Redwood City, Walnut Creek, Campbell, Richmond, Fremont, South San Francisco, and Vallejo. The role of the cities' public private partners was also recognized with representatives praised for their contributions. Video presentations of the projects were a special highlight, visually documenting the cities' innovative collaborative efforts in revitalization, planning, innovation and technology to create sustainable communities and promote conservation and green community.

Redwood City received the first Powering Forward--Innovation and Technology Award for their milestone social media and Police Public Safety Campaign. Two Public Private Partnership Awards were presented, with the City of Walnut Creek and Habitat for Humanity-East Bay Silicon Valley recognized for their innovative collaboration to create Pleasant Creek Homes with its affordable home ownership units. The City of Campbell, Santa Clara Valley Water District, and Summerhill Homes received the second Public Private Partnership award for their groundbreaking work together to develop Maravilla affordable workforce housing.

The City of Richmond was honored with two awards in the categories of Start It Up for its sustainable, healthy community-driven General Plan, and a Preserving and Protecting the Environment Award with Marin Clean Energy (MCE) as a Community Choice Aggregator. The City of Fremont was praised for its implementation of its Downtown Fremont-General Plan with an On the Ground-Getting It Done award. The groundbreaking development by South San Francisco with MidPen Housing for creating 636 El Camino, affordable housing for families offering a full range of services and amenities, exemplified the Sharing the Benefits award. The City of Vallejo and Domus Development received the special Urban Design award their adaptive reuse of Temple Arts Loft into residential-commercial artist lofts and strategic redesign of surrounding downtown area into an arts and entertainment district.

The cities' award winning projects exemplify the goals of the Growing Smarter Together Awards to strengthen and support existing communities and create a better connection between jobs, housing and transportation to address residents' daily needs. These local government efforts help create a sustainable community protecting our Bay Area environment while also creating a strong economy and supporting social equity through innovation and collaboration.

View videos at

Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2014

View PowerPoint Presentations from ABAG Spring 2014 General Assembly Sharing Opportunity in the Bay Area: Access to Jobs and Housing

Jed Kolko, Chief Economist and Vice President of Analytics, Trulia

Dena Belzer, President, Strategic Economics

Kate Sofis, Founding Executive Director, SFMade

Ada Chan, Board Member, Eastside Cultural Center

Julien Gervreau, Sustainability Manager, Jackson Family Wines

Meea Kang, President, Domus Development

Carlos Romero, Director, Urban Ecology

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