By Michele Millet

Since taking over as the CEO of Yolo County Housing (YCH) in 2006, Lisa Baker has instituted “green” policies and programs that significantly reduced the operational costs of her agency and cost of living expenses for the Yolo County residents her agency serves, while promoting environmental sustainability and greenhouse reductions.

Lisa’s dedication has turned around YCH, noted as a “troubled agency” in 2006, into a nationally recognized low-income housing operation known for its range of green initiatives, built sustainable efficiencies, better deployment of resources, and minimized waste.

Her efforts include:

  • A partnership with PG&E which provided no-cost weatherization, light bulb replacement, and energy efficient refrigerators for qualifying housing units and free energy audits.
  • A habitat restoration project along Putah Creek adjacent to a small housing community consisting of 124 family units owned and operated by YCH. The project, which enlisted the help of residents, restored the area with native plants, improved salmon spawning conditions, and provided natural flood and erosion control.
  • A partnership with the Davis Energy Group, Aztec Solar, the Department of Energy, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory resulted in the installation of 20 experimental solar hot water heaters on the roofs of the agency’s seasonal migrant center in Davis.

Asked about the successful implementation of her ideas, Lisa says, “I don’t present my ideas in terms of climate change because that is a fraught conversation, instead I make it about wise use of resources and cost reduction, which results in increased economic stability for my constituents, and the long term viability of my agency’s assets.”

Cool Davis is pleased to honor Lisa’s work by naming her an Eco Hero in the Energy Category.

2016 Eco Hero Award: Energy

2016 Cool Davis Award Recipients

Eco Heroes: Steven Wheeler, Lisa Baker, Parvaneh Keivanfar and Dana “Alex” Gray, Mike Hart

Climate Solutions: Davis Bicycles!, Mutual Housing Yolo, UC Davis Aggie Reuse Store



Each year Cool Davis recognizes individual Davis residents as Eco-Heroes. The winners are residents who model how to incorporate sustainable practices into their work, civic, and everyday lives. Acting out of personal conviction, they do “the right thing” for themselves, our community, and our planet.

The Cool Davis Climate Solution Awards go to local businesses, groups, or organizations for exemplary efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  As they model ways to reduce their environmental impact, they become leaders in creating options to conserve resources, reduce fossil fuel dependence, and stabilize the climate.

In its efforts to work with our community on carbon reduction and sustainability, Cool Davis awards focus on Energy, Transportation, and Consumption.