Community Planners Early Action Handbook for Greenhouse Gas Reductions in New Development

This handbook published in early 2010 provides local planning officials with guidance and tools to reduce potential GHG emissions from new development under current law.

As California establishes aggressive targets for reducing GHGs, the policies and tools being developed under AB 32 and other state initiatives to guide local government land use planning are several years away. However, new development projects will not wait. Every subdivision and building that is built in the interim is likely to be here for the next 50 to 100 years. Simple measures taken today will give communities the opportunity to meet and exceed GHG reduction targets in the future. If the potential for future energy and GHG reduction in new buildings remains limited by current policies, it will be harder and more expensive for communities to achieve long-term GHG reduction targets and more dollars will leave local economies as energy prices rise.

Early action measures include solar access protection, making buildings future ready for current and developing technologies, cost-effective local codes that go beyond state Title-24 energy efficiency standards, and more efficient streets and parking lots. The measures covered are limited to critical early actions within the authority and control of the local planning process.

The Handbook provides the information needed to implement each early action measure including the concepts and technologies involved; why the measure is important; the potential benefits & costs; the existing or required legal authority and steps for taking action. Sample ordinances, implementing documents from other communities and other useful information are discussed in the Handbook and provided in a digital Resource Library.

Additional resources included with the Handbook:

  • Measure Impact Calculator

    An Excel-based workbook designed to provide regional data and calculations to support analysis of the measures recommended in the Handbook. The workbook models the potential energy, dollar and GHG savings to the community from early actions, and the loss of GHG reduction and economic benefits to the community if no action is taken.

  • Reference Library

    Nearly 100 useful reference documents are included in digital form to save you the time of searching for them. Hyperlinks in the Handbook allow you to quickly open and review relevant documents without leaving the Handbook.

  • Annotated Bibliography

    A comprehensive annotated bibliography of all references in the Handbook is provided in a separate document and all references are linked to documents included in the digital Reference Library.

Download Now

The Handbook is packaged in a zip file (70MB) containing a folder with the Handbook, Bibliography and Excel workbook, and subfolders containing the Resource Library documents. The uncompressed files require about 84MB of disk space. All files (except the Workbook) are in a pdf format and have been tested using Adobe Reader Versions 8 and 9. All files can be copied and printed.

The download links below will become live once you submit your name and email. (Your email will only be used to notify you if updates are made to the handbook.)


Stand-alone Handbook:
>> Early Action Handbook

Stand-alone Spreadsheet:
>> Excel Measure Impact Calculator

Zip file containing Handbook, Spreadsheet, and Reference Library:
>> Zip Package with Library