FirstCarbon Solutions (FCS) facilitated new green developments for the Scannell Properties Project, setting the tone and foreshadowing what the future holds for this growing industry.
Rising concern for protecting the environment and our communities has led to the introduction of new approaches aimed to reduce adverse environmental and health effects caused by the construction and operation of new developments, particularly those involving extensive trucking activities. To accelerate environmentally conscious and sustainable developments, the County of Contra Costa utilized FCS’ services to analyze a design that paves the path for electric trucking fleets impacting the future of sustainable developments in the logistics industry.
Setting The Tone
FCS recently prepared the EIR, Cultural Resource Assessment, and Noise Study for the Scannell Properties Project in the Bay Area. The Scannell Properties Project is in the North Richmond community, a community which currently experiences disproportionate environmental and health impact burdens from existing pollution sources. This innovative project laid the groundwork for future projects located in other impacted communities and elsewhere aiming to improve air quality by utilizing vehicle electrification and transitioning to a fully electric vehicle fleet. With a lack of resources to develop the sustainable project upfront, the Scannell Properties Project set the tone to develop a solution to phase in a green development plan within the next 6 years with an accelerated schedule starting in 2021 and ending in 2027. The Scannell Properties Project went beyond what was otherwise required in the California Building Code concerning installing preferential and clean air vehicle parking and EV (electric vehicle) charging infrastructure, as well as a nonresidential rooftop solar system.
Facilitating The Way
In an everchanging environmental and policy landscape, FCS further facilitates environmentally conscious and sustainable developments by advising project proponents on innovative technologies and techniques and aiding in the navigation of dynamic environmental policy and legislation, and the Scannell Properties Project can be used as a pilot project to successfully showcase an environmentally and financially beneficial design for future developments. To achieve this new accelerated phase development plan, FCS leveraged our strong working relationship with the county supervisor, who is a strong advocate for both environmental justice and working towards a community-oriented strategy to address the pollution burden. Throughout the planning of this project, it was of great importance to go beyond fulfilling the basic requirements measures in the California Building Code’s Tier 2 requirements, which lead to implementing clean vehicle parking and EV charging infrastructure.
A Growing Industry
The overall goal for the Scannell Properties Project was to create a sustainable design and improve the overall footprint the business would have on the environment, which leads to the question: What does the future hold for this growing industry?
Sustainable business has been on the rise and continues to grow. Developers need to understand the obstacles that stand in the way of delivering a sustainable strategy for future projects involving electric trucking fleets. The biggest obstacle will be the cost and availability of alternatively fueled HHD (heavy-heavy duty) trucks (>33,000 lbs.) and their associated charging/refueling infrastructure.
According to the BAAQMD’s EV Acceleration Plan, the goal is to increase the EV share in the Bay Area to 90% by 2050. This plan will significantly impact the overall design of all fleet projects moving forward in the Bay Area.
Moreover, AB 617 will have a major impact on the future of new developments. AB 617 was put in place to address air pollution impacts in environmental justice communities. This legislation requires local air districts and the California Air Resources Board to reduce air pollution in these most impacted communities. AB 617 sets in motion a wide-reaching program and contains many complementary components, including:
- Community Plans: Communities may be designated for a Community Emissions Reduction Plan (CERP), a Community Air Monitoring Plan (CAMP), or both. These plans are developed in close collaboration with the community, through the Community Steering Committees.
- “BARCT” Implementation: The BAAQMD must assess technology that helps reduce air pollution and adopt or amend our rules to ensure that Best Available Retrofit Control Technology (BARCT) is required for facilities in the state greenhouse gas cap and trade program.
- Emissions Inventory Enhancements: The enhancements include moving towards more uniform statewide reporting of emissions. The BAAQMD will seek additional sources of funding to cover the added cost of these new requirements.
- Incentive Funding: To support the implementation of AB 617 community plans and to reduce air pollution emissions in disadvantaged communities, the BAAQMD is implementing incentive programs to replace older, more polluting equipment with cleaner technologies.
- Penalty Limits: AB 617 requires increases in civil and criminal penalties for air pollution violations, resulting in the adjustment of strict liability penalty limits that had not been increased for decades.
With AB 617 and BAAQMD’s EV Acceleration Plan put into action, the focus on environmental justice in the Bay Area will continue to strengthen significantly. And AB 617 will continue to strengthen the focus on environmental justice considerations beyond the Bay Area. If developers can overcome the obstacles of the cost and availability of EV trucking fleets, it is safe to say that we should expect upcoming projects to replicate a similar design as the Scannell Properties Project. With a growing spotlight on electric vehicles, AB 617 makes it possible to require developers to design a strategy to phase in electric fleets within every upcoming project.
FirstCarbon Solutions (FCS) offers a full complement of efficient, practical, and cost-effective services to assess and manage the environmental impact of new and modified projects. Want to learn more?
Contact us for a free consultation to find out how we can help.