Paul Ahrns
Program Director

Paul Ahrns

Program Director

Paul grew up in Nevada City, spending his summers exploring the mountains and valleys around Truckee. His summers in the Sierra fostered his passion for protecting and sustaining the natural wealth and beauty of the Sierra Nevada region. Paul returned home to the region in 2010 to join the Climate Planning team and work on the first phase of the Green Communities Program. Paul has served as a Planning Technician and Project Manager for the Climate Planning team providing technical expertise and project management support to assist over 30 local governments, special districts and private developers with climate planning assistance. Paul brings his experience in sustainability, planning, community engagement and project management to his new role as the Climate Planning Program Director for the Sierra Business Council.

Personal Highlights:

Paul earned his Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science & Policy from California State University, Long Beach where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and was selected as the Department’s Outstanding Graduate for 2009. Paul combines his passion for the environment and desire to explore the world. He has had the pleasure of exploring 5 different continents and more countries than he can keep track off. The highlights of which have been working with communities in Kenya to drill water wells without using electricity or fuel and exploring the incredible history and culture of China.

 

Angels Camp and Biggs Sign On for Baseline GHG Inventories

The SBC Climate Team has begun working with two new local governments in our region to complete baseline greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventories. SBC will be completing 2010 baseline GHG emissions inventories for Angel’s Camp and Biggs documenting emissions from the cities’ municipal operations and major GHG generating activities within each community. In addition, SBC will be benchmarking the energy performance of the cities’ buildings and facilities using the U.S. Environmental ProtectionCOMM PA IntroImage 2014 07 Agency’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager software. Benchmarking buildings and facilities allows SBC and our partnering local governments to analyze their building’s energy use and develop cost-effective energy-efficiency measures that can reduce their energy costs and reduce the burden on local taxpayers.

The addition of Biggs and Angels Camp to our climate programs brings the total number of local governments in our region that have worked with SBC to develop GHG emissions inventories up to twenty-six. It is an incredible achievement that the majority of the local governments in our region have taken the first step towards understanding their communities’ energy use and GHG emissions.

A quick refresher on our inventory work: A GHG inventory accounts for activities within a community or municipal operations that generate GHG emissions. For example, a city vehicle travels across town to replace a water meter, combusting gasoline to power the engine, which emits GHGs into the atmosphere. Our staff uses verified protocols and emissions factors to estimate the GHG emissions from these activities.

COMM PA Blog BiggsImage 2014 07This is done across many sectors, from passenger vehicles to wastewater treatment using the best available data. While it is not a perfect science, it is the widely accepted method for determining a jurisdiction’s GHG emissions. Once completed, the inventory can be used in conjunction with an energy or climate action plan to develop strategies to reduce emissions over time.

While we have made significant progress to date, there is still a lot of work to do. The next step is to develop the policies and programs that can cost-effectively reduce GHG emissions in our region. SBC is actively working with several local governments in our region to develop Energy Action Plans with the goal of developing policies and programs that will help communities reduce their energy use and the associated costs, improve our local air quality and help community members live more comfortably. Stay tuned for the next blog from our climate planning team discussing the Energy Action Plans that are currently in development.