The Cool Davis Annual Partner meeting was held Monday, December 4th from 5pm to 7pm at the US Bicycle Hall of Fame. Representatives from local businesses and organizations shared their wisdom and experience in making change. Over 30 people attended to learn about solutions and options for reducing and managing building energy use and promoting low carbon transportation solutions for organizations, their employees and members/customers.

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Building Community

As Cool Davis has grown and evolved, our vision and mission have as well. Our board president, Jason Bone, kicked off the partner meeting by emphasizing the importance of our main goal of building community. “We’re all in this together, right? We all need to support each other and find those resources. Davis is a part of the region… but there are other communities that also need support,” he said. Our partners, consisting of faith communities, nonprofits, university and student groups, and businesses, support this mission.

Board member Ken Kirsch explained how partnership is mutually beneficial, saying, “One of the great benefits of being a partner of Cool Davis is that we’re able to support each other, learn from each other, and to support our common goals here.” After Ken and Jason gave their speeches, they introduced the representatives who were there to share their companies’ wide range of sustainable practices and goals.

Yolo Commute envisions a multi-modal transportation system

A reliable transportation system is vital for a community to thrive, which is what Yolo Commute is working hard to implement. Their mission is to reduce single-occupant (drive alone) commutes throughout Yolo County through an accessible, multimodal transportation system for any kind of commuter. “Supporting Yolo Commute is more than just a symbolic exercise, it’s being part of the solution,” explained Brian Abbanat, Director of Yolo Commute. Yolo Commute has programs such as the Transportation Rideshare Incentive Program (TRIP), the Guaranteed Ride Home program, an E-bike loan program, the discount transit pass program, and Cycling Savvy Bicycle Education. All of these programs benefit businesses, employees, and society by lessening the environmental impact of single-occupant commutes, reducing transportation costs, and providing more transportation options. For more on Yolo Commute see this article too!

Aztec Solar makes the business case for installing solar and energy management systems.

As our dependence on fossil fuels and coal becomes less and less sustainable, it is more important than ever to switch to alternative energy sources. Jonathan Gemma, Vice President of Aztec Solar, made the business case for installing solar as not only good for the environment, but cost-effective as well. Rates for residential electricity have continued to climb. According to Jon, “San Diego Electric is almost at one dollar per kilowatt… and PG&E is not that far behind.” More concerning news is that “PG&E got approved for massive increases over the next three years.” Aztec Solar is committed to being a part of the solution by offering top quality solar products and technologies to home and business owners. Jon also shared some new solutions available for commercial and multifamily locations.  By partnering with Cool Davis, Aztec helps promote our shared mission of sustainable energy in our community.

Connected Technology electrifies their fleet

Connected Technology, has been electrifying people’s homes since 2016 and recently decided to electrify their motor vehicle fleet as well. “We want to be a good neighbor and do things well and sustainably also, so it was important to us to start to use electric vehicles in our fleet,” explained Bill Horbaly, Connected Technology’s founder. Their six electric vehicles have brought many benefits to the company and customers, including being environmentally responsible, building rapport with their customers, matching expectations for a responsible company, cutting operational costs (gas and maintenance) and boosting employee morale. These electric vans can do everything that a gas-powered van can do without contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, so Bill encourages other businesses to take the plunge and electrify their fleet!

Electrify My Home makes electrification easy

Since gas furnaces contribute a lot of greenhouse emissions, environmentally conscious homeowners should consider switching their heating and cooling system to an electric heat pump. (Other electrical appliances include heat pump water heaters and induction cook-tops.) Although fully electrifying your home might seem overwhelming, Larry Waters, founder of Electrify My Home, said that it doesn’t have to be. Electrify My Home walks customers through the entire home electrification process so that it is hassle free. “It’s really important that when you’re going to do these electrification projects that you start with somebody who’s going to plan you all the way through,” Larry emphasized.

Larry is optimistic that what was once an expensive process has become more accessible due to growing numbers of qualified contractors, rebates, incentives, and planning resources (like those on the Cool Davis Energy page).  Larry is a lead trainer for contractors and their home energy crews who are responsible for installation of systems under the state’s TECH program.  He encourages all local energy contractors to get certified and to make sure their staff are trained up in these new programs.  With 10 years of rebates/tax credits available the work of transitioning all our natural gas systems to all electric is a full-time business opportunity that needs more practitioners right now!

Greiner Heating Air & Electric takes a systematic approach as long term partner of Cool Davis

Greiner was one of the first businesses to say yes to partnering with Cool Davis starting with sponsoring our early Cool Davis Festivals.  As advisors to the Cool Davis Make A Plan Home Energy programs they contributed their experience with customer decision-making to the original planning for the the Make A Plan program.

“The house is a system,” explained the last presenter, Nathan Breeding with Greiner Heating Air & Electric, “you can’t just do one thing and expect everything to be alright.” Griener and Nathan help homeowners see the “big picture”  of the electrification process, in collaboration with Cool Davis resources and guidance, by giving people an overview of how a home functions as a system and how all their appliances and energy solutions are interconnected.

Looking ahead

The future of our planet is in a precarious balance, and it is up to individuals, communities, and policymakers to get us down to net zero carbon emissions. Sustainable organizations provide hope for our future by making it their mission to reduce their climate impact and aligning their goals with Cool Davis’s.

There is strength in building community; climate action is not an undertaking that can be done alone. Resilience starts at the neighborhood level and includes everyone, especially our most vulnerable, and now is the time for action!

Want to learn more about partnership?

Yolo Commute

More on Electrification and Solar Options for Individuals and Organizations from our partners: