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Tools and Links

Data Sources

  • Newly created under the Obama administration, meant to bring access to most major federal data sources
  • Federal Executive Branch

    •    Multiple GIS-ready data sources posted by the City. Parcels, transportation routes, 1-foot and 6-inch orthoimagery, LIDAR, and DEMs are among the many available data sets.
    •    CIRGIS/Ventura City

  • Maps of existing and planned wind farms, large-scale solar installations and biomass installations
  • National Resources Defense Council (NRDC)


  • EPA-created database for converting kWh to CO2, N20 and CH4. Annual output emission rates for greenhouse gases (GHGs) can be used as default factors for estimating GHG emissions from electricity use when developing a carbon footprint or emission inventory Annual non-baseload output emission rates should not be used for those purposes, but can be used to estimate GHG emissions reductions from reductions in electricity use.

  • Enter a zip code and the website will inform you what hardiness zone you are in as well as what trees can be planted there.

Research Databases

  • Large scientific, technical and medical information provider and publishes over 2,000 journals as well as books and secondary databases
  • Allows searching of past news articles
  • A wide variety and easy to use academic journal searching, does not have visible scope

General Links

  • The environmental branch of the Fortune-500 company acting to be a "global network of environmental experts provide seamless delivery of comprehensive environmental health and safety (EHS) services worldwide to industrial, commercial and government clients."
  • This study was completed by environmental professionals who were trained and educated at the Bren School, a college of the University of California at Santa Barbara
  • The focus of this project is on the City of Ventura, California. This city has a rich heritage, cultural diversity, and a mixture of economic activities all centered around a coastal California community. Their ongoing efforts to prepare for a new 21st century economy hope to lead them towards an even more sustainable community that serves as an example to the country.

Software Used

  • RETScreen is available in many different languages. It uses Microsoft Excel to perform analysis of renewable systems in a number of different configurations. It generally evaluates the performance of systems based on statistical monthly averages. RETScreen is largely a stand alone system -- it has a lot of geographical information built-in. The documentation of RETScreen is a strength. Many people will want to read the documentation simply because it helps to explain the issues involved in renewables. Economics modeling is the strength of RETScreen.
  • The EMission FACtors (EMFAC) model is used to calculate emission rates from all motor vehicles, such as passenger cars to heavy-duty trucks, operating on highways, freeways and local roads in California. EMFAC2007 is the most recent version of this model.
  • CACP 2009 is a one-stop emissions management tool calculates and tracks emissions and reductions of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide) and criteria air pollutants (NOx, SOx, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, PM10) associated with electricity, fuel use, and waste disposal.
  • HOMER is a stand alone program, and as such it can handle a much denser simulation. While RETScreen might split its model into monthly chunks, HOMER can handle fluctuations on an hourly basis. This makes HOMER useful for modeling the intermittancy of solar and wind power. HOMER is also capable of doing brute-force system optimization, given a number of variables. While HOMER is more powerful than RETScreen, it requires much more in the way of data inputs. As such, HOMER is better suited for the more advanced user. Personally, since I don't have access to actual utility power data, I tend to simulate data in MATLAB. HOMER's economic model is not comparible to that of RETScreen.