The Sacramento Promise Zone’s Sustainable Communities Collaborative is a community-focused initiative aligning with our funding partner’s core purpose and vision of enhancing the quality of life for everyone in the Sacramento Promise Zone, a 22 square mile area of some of the City’s most under-served neighborhoods. From Del Paso Heights in the North, to the Avenues in the South, the collaborative between the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce (SBCC), SMUD, Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency (SHRA), The Sacramento Kings and UC Davis/UC Davis Health, is determined to bring environmental equity and economic vitality to all communities within the Zone. Using cross-sector collaboration, the partners have adopted the following five goals to improve quality of life and accelerate revitalization:
Improving Educational Opportunities
Promoting Healthy Behavior & Wellness
Facilitating Neighborhood Revitalization
The impetus for the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce’s part in this program was launched in 2016, and came from a Brookings Institute study between 2006 and 2016 which revealed that the Sacramento Metropolitan Area ranks in the bottom-third of the 100 largest metro areas in the United States in terms of growth, prosperity and inclusion – three critical elements for successful regional economies.
The sharp economic downturn of the recession was deeper and more sustained in Sacramento than in other parts of the nation. In the Sacramento region, 34% of residents are struggling to cover basic household expenses and two-thirds of those struggling don’t have a high school degree. Of those struggling families, 47% and 42% of them are Black and Hispanic residents, respectively. Additionally, less than 70% of adult residents in the Promise Zone hold a high school diploma or GED. Nearly a quarter of residents are foreign-born, with limited English proficiency. Both high unemployment and higher mortality rates exist in the Promise Zone in comparison to average rates across the nation.
The Promise Zone, Sacramento
Energy Education In Action
Eco-Alpha Environmental & Engineering Services Energy Baron Program
The Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce is helping to tackle these inequities in our city through our Sustainable Communities Collaborative Program in several ways, and one of them is by supporting members like Eco-Alpha Environmental and Engineering Services and their Energy Baron Program. The Energy Baron program is an 8-Week Workforce Development Training Opportunity in the Facilities Energy Sector for those who live and/or work in the Sacramento Promise Zone.
What is an Energy Baron?
An Energy Baron is a facilities professional whose primary function is to help lower the energy usage and utility cost for buildings by implementing energy efficiency best practices. Eco-Alpha looks for 15-20 dedicated trainees who can participate up to 8 hours per week on Saturdays from October to December each year. During the fall and winter, trainees can participate up to 32 hours per month. The program provides hands-on work-force training, Eco-Alpha Certification, Job Placements and a stipend. Eco-Alpha is dedicated to empowering communities by providing equitable access to workforce development opportunities in the area of energy, while emphasizing collaborative learning, innovation, leadership, and technology.
Whether it be networking with established energy facilities career professionals, learning key energy management fundamentals, experiencing hands-on learning in new facilities technologies, touring facilities in the community, or even assistance with job-placement in the energy management sector, Eco-Alpha Energy Baron trainees have the opportunity to explore various energy career paths and gain valuable work experience in a workplace culture that’s second to none. Find out more, be a part of it and apply here.
The 2020 Energy Baron Cohort
Solar Trees Project
The Solar Trees Project is an ongoing community project with our sponsoring partners at SMUD and the Baker Energy Team, and to date, four trees have been installed on two sites, with a third site currently in development. The trees gather and produce energy which filters back onto the grid, off-setting energy and environmental costs for the regions where they’re installed. Additionally, they have USB and other port plug-ins for charging use by local residents who need them. Pictured below is one of two solar trees installed at the Simmons Community Center in South Sacramento.
The use of these dual array, 12-panel solar trees generates enough clean energy per year to:
- Power an electric passenger vehicle over 18,000 miles (based on 3.3 miles per kWh)
- Charge over 1 million smartphones (based on 5.5 watt hours per charge)
- Illuminate 380 LED lightbulbs (based on a 9.5 watt LED lightbulb)
- Replace the burning of over 4000 pounds of coal (based on 779 pounds per 1000kWh)
- Equal the same carbon benefit as planting 70 natural trees (based on 11.7 trees per 1000 kWh)
The two solar tree locations that have been completed include a site near the Greater Sacramento Urban League in Del Paso Heights, and another location in South Sacramento near the Simmons Community Center. A third site is in development in Oak Park, with the exact location still being determined as permitting for potential sites is in progress. Our goal is to build sustainability in our underrepresented communities. One of the other strategies we have is to keep land use as a priority for our projects within the Promise Zone. Careful consideration is given to where our projects are placed, and what the physical impact on the land use might be as a result of the chosen project. All solar array photos courtesy of our sponsoring partner, SMUD.
Additionally, as part of the Solar Trees Project, there is an Energy Pathways Program in collaboration with SMUD which fulfills a workforce component goal of this program. The Energy Careers Pathways program educates adults ages 18 and up in the hands-on technical skills needed to work in the solar energy field. Students receive classroom education, hands-on training in the installation of solar arrays and, upon graduation, opportunities to interview with industry employers.
Above, SBCC CEO & President, Azizza Davis-Goines with the two installed dual array solar trees at the Simmons Community Center.
Below, meet Dusty Baker, Founder & CEO of the Baker Energy Team.
Getting Involved – A Call to Action
Interested in becoming a sponsor, having a conversation, learning more, or becoming part of our Sustainable Communities Program Collaborative? Please fill out this short form, and email us at email@example.com and we’ll be in touch! We’re excited for you or your organization to join our mission to build and support sustainability in our underrepresented communities.
Special thanks and acknowledgement to our sponsors who make these important initiatives happen: