ITS Leads Transportation Initiative for California Energy Commission Oakland EcoBlock Project

June 21, 2019

Rendering of the water and sewer system for the Oakland Ecoblock project.The Institute of Transportation Studies Berkeley is excited to lead the transportation efforts in the recently awarded Oakland EcoBlock Project from the California Energy Commission. UC Berkeley was awarded $8.6 million for “The Oakland EcoBlock: Phase II” under its Electricity Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program.

“This is a great opportunity for a large group of campus and lab researchers to work with the community residents and an impressive team of planners, builders, lawyers, and Oakland government and community leaders,” says Transportation Sustainability Research Center Co-Director Tim Lipman. “We’re excited to bring our transportation system expertise at TSRC and the latest wave of EV technologies to help provide key enhancements for the project.”

This ambitious project will consist of deep energy efficiency retrofits for several houses along a neighborhood block in North Oakland, creation of a community-based solar PV installation with a DC microgrid and flywheel storage, installation of EV chargers and an EV carsharing program, and water end-use efficiency measures.

The project will be led by the campus Center for Institute of the Environment (CIEE) with support from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, ITS, campus academic departments including Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Energy Resources Group, and Stanford University. 

EcoBlock project leads include project PI Professor Alexandra von Meier, Professor Daniel Kammen, Professor Harrison Fraker, Dr. Rich Brown, and Anthony Nahas. 

 Recognized as one of Scientific American’s Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2017, the EcoBlock Project is the first of its kind: The concept applies existing renewable technologies to a block of 30 to 40 adjoining residences to help reduce their fossil fuel and water consumption, ultimately lowering the amount of greenhouse gases emitted from them. The EcoBlock integrated systems will produce close to zero net energy on an annual basis and reduce carbon emissions by 85%, greatly exceeding CO₂ emissions mandated in SB-32, which requires the state of California to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

The project would specifically target older, “first-ring” suburban homes that make up 30-40 percent of California’s housing stock but would otherwise not receive drastic energy retrofits.

The project will run through 2022 with construction expecting to start in early 2021. Please contact Nahas for general questions about the project and co-sponsorship opportunities ( 

Read more about the EcoBlock Project here.