Sustainability and Climate Change

We believe it is possible to balance the needs of communities with the needs of nature, and sustainability is at the center of our approach to planning. We also believe that Smart Growth and New Urbanist development achieves a lower Ecological Footprint than typical suburban development — the buildings themselves use less energy and less new building material, and compact urban form induces more energy-efficient transport patterns and preserves ecological areas on its edges. All our projects are oriented around the triple bottom line - environmental, social and economic sustainability - and we have extensive experience in planning sustainable neighborhoods, developing climate action plans, completing sustainability assessments, and understanding the sustainability impacts of land use and transportation policy.

In addition to our sustainability  and climate change projects, sustainability and climate change are taken into consideration in all of the work that we do, such as our General Plans/Vision Plans (see e.g. Lennox Vision Plan) and Specific Plans (see e.g. Moreno Valley Alessandro Boulevard Corridor). A representation of our work is described below. Projects marked with an asterisk (*) were completed by a R+A team member before joining the firm.

Silicon Valley 2.0

Santa Clara County, CA

Home to approximately 3 million people, Silicon Valley represents one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse communities in the county. The region is an engine for innovation technology, venture capital, and agriculture with a gross domestic product of nearly $200 billion. Although these characteristics make Silicon Valley a desirable place to live and work, regional climate change presents a challenge to future health, safety, and regional prosperity.

Raimi + Associates is leading the effort to create a regional plan to minimize the anticipated impacts of climate change on Santa Clara County for the public health sector. Working closely with the County Public Health Department, R+A evaluated the vulnerability of County residents to likely climate impacts and developed adaptive strategies that improve community resiliency. R+A will prepare the public health chapter of the climate change adaptation plan which will identify the region’s top priorities and near-term strategies for an effective and equitable response to climate change.

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Western Riverside County, CA

As part of the second phase Western Riverside Council of Government’s (WRCOG) Sustainability Framework, Raimi + Associates is developing a health tracking and assessment tool for WRCOG’s regional Climate Action Plan (CAP) measures. R+A is creating and easy-to-use tracking tool for CAP implementation strategies which includes baseline data for select health indicators and 2020 targets.The Health Assessment Tool will be used to support decision-making by WRCOG and its members by estimating the health co-benefits of WRCOG’s CAP measures. Health benefits will be calculated by linking health impacts with changes in physical activity and air quality. The tool will estimate and allow comparison of the health co-benefits of each CAP measure, allowing WRCOG and local stakeholders to perform scenario-based, what-if analysis of CAP measures.  

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Inglewood Energy and Climate Action Plan

Inglewood, CA

During the last decade, the City of Inglewood has become recognized as an environmental leader. The City has taken steps to reduce energy and water use, lower vehicle fuel consumption, minimize employee commuting, and divert solid waste from landfills, and the Energy and Climate Action Plan (ECAP) was the next step. The City hired the Raimi + Associates team to prepare the ECAP as a roadmap for achieving long-term municipal and community-wide energy use and greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

Funded through the Energy Efficiency Community Block Grant Program, the ECAP is focused on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and energy saved. It includes a multi-sector greenhouse gas emission inventory, emissions reduction targets, five energy and greenhouse gas reduction strategies which identify specific actions for reducing municipal and community-wide greenhouse gas emissions and strategies for adapting to a warmer climate. The targets and reduction strategies were developed through several City-run community workshops. The ECAP rests on a multi-faceted implementation program designed to streamline the environmental review process. The program includes low-carbon design guidelines, flexible performance-based compliance paths, and the framework for one of the State’s first local greenhouse gas impact fee programs. As part of this effort, the Raimi + Associates team also conducted environmental review of the plan, resulting in the City’s first qualified climate action plan.

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San Luis Obispo County Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plans 

San Luis Obispo, CA 

Raimi + Associates is working as a subconsultant to Rincon Consultants to develop a Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan and climate action plans for six cities in San Luis Obispo County. R+A is leading the policy analysis effort, evaluating greenhouse gas reduction efforts to date, assessing policy gaps across the energy, land use, transportation, solid waste, and water sectors, and identifying future opportunities for greenhouse gas emission reductions. R+A is also developing a toolbox of energy efficiency and renewable energy generation measures for the six participating cities that includes the effectiveness, implementation cost, and co-benefits of each measure.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan for San Luis Obispo County will tailor climate action plans for six jurisdictions: Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Grover Beach, Morro Bay, Paso Robles, and Pismo Beach. These plans will build upon the County's Energywise Plan and the City of San Luis Obispo's Climate Action Plan. Each tailored CAP will commence a comprehensive public education and outreach effort in an effort to establish feasible, "cutting-edge," and effective implementation strategies.

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Bellflower Climate Action Plan

Bellflower, CA

Raimi and Associates prepared the recently adopted, EECBG-funded City of Bellflower Climate Action Plan. The effort included the development of detailed GHG inventories of municipal operations and community-wide activities, a comprehensive analysis of emissions reduction strategies including potential land use and transportation changes, and community workshops. With an eye on the future, the plan was prepared with a strong emphasis on implementation.

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El Segundo Greenhouse Gas Inventory Update and Climate Action Policy

El Segundo, CA

Raimi and Associates worked as a subconsultant to Willdan Energy Solutions to provide the City of El Segundo with an update of their 2007 GHG inventory. Under this contract, Raimi and Associates also trained City staff on GHG inventory preparation, developing emissions reduction targets, and developing a City policy for reducing GHG emissions and regular maintenance of the City’s GHG inventory.

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Coachella Climate Action Plan

Coachella, CA

Raimi + Associates is preparing the Climate Action Plan for the City of Coachella. The effort includes the development of detailed municipal and community GHG inventories, identification of GHG emissions reduction strategies, and quantification of emissions reduction potential of the strategies. Funded by the California Endowment, the effort also considers both the need for climate adaption strategies and the healthy communities benefits of the Climate Action Plan strategies.

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City of Encinitas Climate Action Plan

City of Encinitas, CA*


Recognizing the value of early identification of greenhouse gas emissions reductions opportunities, the City of Encinitas initiated the development of its Climate Action Plan as a precursor to the development of the City’s General Plan Update. The early phases of the project were expedited In order to comply with US Department of Energy EECGB funding requirements. As part of the work effort while with another firm, Mr. Burris peer reviewed existing ICLEI inventories for the City, made recommendations on areas of improvement, and prepared alternative GHG inventories for comparison. Additionally, Mr. Burris conducted stakeholder workshops to garner input on overall goals and emissions reduction strategies that would acceptable to the community, prepared an emissions reductions analysis, and drafted the Climate Action Plan.

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South Gate Greenhouse Gas Inventory and Climate Action Plan

City of South Gate, CA


In coordination with the effort to update the South Gate General Plan, R+A completed a Greenhouse Gas Inventory for the City. R+A also drafted the resolution that committed the City to pursuing ICLEI’s five milestones of climate planning, including setting targets and creating a climate action plan. Findings from the Greenhouse Gas Inventory are informing policies included in the General Plan, and include recommendations for municipal and community-wide actions to reduce emissions in support of AB 32. In 2011, Raimi + Associates began working as a subconsultant to Willdan Energy Solutions to provide the City of South Gate with an update of their 2007 GHG inventory. Under this contract, Raimi + Associates is also training City staff on GHG inventory preparation, developing emissions reduction targets, and developing a City policy for reducing GHG emissions and regular maintenance of the City’s GHG inventory.

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Tierra Luna Specific Plan and Form-Based Code GHG Inventory

City of Downey, CA*

While working for another firm, Mr. Burris prepared a greenhouse gas inventory and developed an emission reduction strategy (examining building operations, transportation, construction, water, and solid waste) for the 79-acre site, including 4 million sq. ft. of residential, commercial, and office uses. Ultimately, the study found that the project would be able to realize a 37% emissions reduction at buildout.

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Redwood City General Plan Sustainability Consultant

City of Redwood City, CA

Raimi + Associates was the sustainability and public health consultant for Redwood City’s General Plan update. Redwood City’s guiding general plan principles emphasize the sustainable use of natural resources and healthy communities. The city has a strong history of initiatives promoting healthy communities and environmental and social sustainability, and sought to parlay existing efforts into an integrated approach within the General Plan. Raimi + Associates created a technical report assessing opportunities and constraints for sustainability and health in the city, and developed relevant policies to be integrated throughout the various elements of the General Plan.

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Hercules Greenhouse Gas Inventory

City of Hercules, CA

Raimi + Associates completed a Greenhouse Gas inventory for the City of Hercules, including potential policy responses to be included in the City's anticipated Climate Action Plan. The inventory serves as the 2005 baseline year inventory that several cities have developed in response to direction from the State Attorney General and other state agencies. Hercules has pursued a land-use strategy of mixed-use, compact development and was the first city in California to adopt a form-based building code. The list of potential policy directions in the Hercules Greenhouse Gas Inventory recommends continuing this approach, and recommends additional land use, transportation, and design strategies for reducing community-wide emissions. The inventory also includes a list of strategies for reducing emissions from municipal operations.

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City of Irvine Climate Action Plan

City of Irvine, CA*

Recognizing the need to establish an enforceable, actionable Climate Action Plan, the City of Irvine worked with a multi-disciplinary team of consultants to establish a new generation of Climate Action Plan based on quantitative analysis, linked to real world data, and designed for implementation. The City of Irvine’s goal was to create a Climate Action Plan which goes beyond simply stating goals to providing rational GHG reduction targets within a comprehensive regulatory framework. As part of the project, while working for another firm, Mr. Burris helped to develop and implement tools designed to quantify GHG emissions from buildings and infrastructure, and worked to develop approaches for prioritizing emissions reduction opportunities for new and existing buildings and communities. 

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Irvine Business Complex EIR Greenhouse Gas Analysis

City of Irvine, CA*

While working for another firm, Mr. Burris prepared a greenhouse gas inventory for the re-circulated Global Climate Change section of the Irvine Business Complex EIR. Activities included reviewing the existing CEQA documentation, calculation of the existing emissions profile, projected Business As Usual emissions, development of an analysis strategy to correlate with AB 32, and completion of the CEQA technical study.

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City of Claremont Greenhouse Gas Inventory and Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy Development

City of Claremont, CA*

For the City of Claremont, CA, while working for another firm, Mr. Burris served as project manager in the creation of an energy and greenhouse gas inventory. The inventory was created using CTG’s Sustainable Community Model (SCM) – one of the few tools recognized by the CA State Attorney General as a reliable resource for quantifying emissions. Once baselines are established, the city will have the ability to compare individual projects or strategies based on their relationship to city-wide performance. The team worked to identify targets based on city goals and focus options which provide the greatest benefits relative to costs.

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Merriam Mountains Project EIR Greenhouse Gas Analysis

County of San Diego, CA*

While working for another firm, Mr. Burris analyzed the emissions generated from project-related vehicle miles traveled and estimated the emissions reduction potential of project site design featuring for the 2,700 dwelling unit, 1.1 million sq. ft. commercial plan. Mr. Burris utilized URBEMIS2007 to calculate emissions and emissions reductions potential within a framework adapted the World Resources Institute greenhouse gas inventory protocols in support of the Merriam Mountains Master Plan EIR (Environmental Impact Report). The study also evaluated a range of sustainable design measures and their impacts on the project carbon emissions and contributed to strategy development for compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act.

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Green Building Outreach and Education Program

Pasadena, CA*

While working for another firm, Mr. Burris served the City of Pasadena as Project Manager, assisting the City with implementing its green building program. The program requires new commercial and municipal buildings of certain sizes to utilize the LEED green building rating system a framework for guiding building design. Mr. Burris assisted the City in developing and outreach and education strategy, development of promotional and educational materials, and conducted a series of green building workshops to help residents and developers better understand green design.

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Steamboat 700 Sustainability Master Plan and Green Design Guidelines

Steamboat Springs, CO*

As part of a master plan for development application, Mr. Burris, while with another firm, assisted in the development of a vision for sustainability and a Sustainability Master Plan for the 700-unit Steamboat 700 project outside Steamboat Springs, CO. As a part of this effort, Mr. Burris participated in a one-day project charrette, evaluated the project’s form-based code for sustainable design opportunities, and recommended sustainable design features for the project.

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