Joint Venture Silicon Valley provides ANALYSIS, ACTION, LEADERSHIP

Joint Venture Silicon Valley provides




What's Happening Now

SVEDA hosts 3rd-annual conference November 14 & 15 in Santa Cruz

SVEDA logoOctober 21, 2019 - The Silicon Valley Economic Development Alliance - SVEDA - will hold its 3rd-annual regional conference in Santa Cruz November 14 and 15. Join economic development professionals from across the region for insight on pressing issues such as housing, taxation, AI, and business resiliency. SVEDA is committed to addressing business needs through local government policy, streamlined permitting processes, and linking businesses to local and regional resources that add value to company innovation and growth.

Click to register

Q3 Commercial Space Report released

report coverOctober 18, 2019 – Joint Venture’s Institute for Regional Studies today released its third-quarter 2019 report on Silicon Valley commercial space. New data shows that year-to-date completions have already exceeded 2018 totals. With 13 million square feet of commercial space under construction, the numbers were only slightly lower than the 19-year high of the previous quarter and indicative of a resurgence of R&D development within the region.

Learn more


Rachel Massaro talks Silicon Valley exodus

October 18, 2019 - Rachel Massaro, Vice President & Director of Research at Joint Venture's Institute for Regional Studies, appeared on Valley Politics with Terry Christensen. The topic is what is being described as an "exodus" from Silicon Valley. Forty-four percent of Bay Area residents say they’re thinking about leaving the area. Rachel quotes the Silicon Valley Index, "For the third year in a row, people are moving out of Silicon Valley nearly as quickly as they are moving in. Between July 2015 and July 2018 (over a three-year period), the region gained 61,977 foreign immigrants, but lost 64,318 residents to other parts of California and the United States." Watch the interview

Institute Names Margaret O’Mara Distinguished Fellow

Margaret O’Mara speakingOctober 18, 2019 - Joint Venture has named Margaret O’Mara a Distinguished Fellow at the Institute for Regional Studies, its research arm. Considered one of Silicon Valley’s foremost expositors, O’Mara is the Howard & Frances Keller Endowed Professor at the University of Washington and a contributing opinion writer at The New York Times. An award-winning historian, she recently published a history of the Valley that is being hailed as definitive, The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America (Penguin Press, 2019.

Learn more about Professor O’Mara’s research.
Read Margaret's bio.

Talent Partnership lands Wells Fargo grant, launches Oracle project

team members meeting at white boardOctober 21, 2019 -Wells Fargo Bank has awarded a $15,000 community grant to Joint Venture’s Silicon Valley Talent Partnership (SVTP). Funds will be used to support SVTP’s work connecting pro bono consultants to community projects. As part of its endeavors, SVTP has matched a team of talented volunteers from Oracle to the NOVAworks Foundation (NOVA). The Oracle team will develop a strategic fundraising plan for NOVA, to bolster the group’s programs aiding Bay Area job seekers.

Do you have a project idea? Would you like to be a pro bono consultant? Or would you like to support SVTP financially?

Meet John Lang, economic development manager, Morgan Hill

October 21, 2019 - “Local government doesn't always do a good job of communicating to the public what we do,” says John Lang, economic development manager for Morgan Hill and chair of Joint Venture’s Silicon Valley Economic Development Alliance (SVEDA). Lang is working to upend that paradigm in Morgan Hill, a city of 45,000 at the southern tip of Silicon Valley. In this relatively smaller town, Lang and staff can shepherd business owners through layers of processes with what he calls “a warm hand off” between city departments.

Read John's profile

Save the Date: State of the Valley 2020

Mark your calendar for the 16th-annual State of the Valley conference February 14, 2020 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose. Last year a capacity crowd of Silicon Valley leaders filled the convention center for reports on the economy, trends and challenges, and a changing investment landscape. Watch for details soon!

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Silicon Valley Indicators

indicators home page Comprehensive information and data about the Silicon Valley ecosystem is available at

Data and charts from the Silicon Valley Index (and more) are presented on an interactive website that allows users to explore Silicon Valley trends.

Investors Spotlight

Donors invest in Joint Venture with both general support and project-specific gifts. Support from the community enables us to provide innovative solutions to issues that confront our regional economies and quality of life. Here are just a few of our many investors:

TDA Group logo Technology Credit Union logo city of Portola Valley logo

Joint Venture offers a variety of support and sponsorship opportunities for individuals, corporations, and public sector organizations. To inquire about becoming a member of our Investors Council, call (408) 298-9330 or visit our Become an Investor page. To see our current investors, visit our investors pages.

What is Joint Venture Silicon Valley?

Established in 1993, Joint Venture brings together Silicon Valley’s established and emerging leaders—from business, government, academia, labor and the broader community—to spotlight issues and work toward innovative solutions. In this short video see what Silicon Valley leaders have to say about the organization.


What are we doing?

Joint Venture and a consortium of local organizations are planning a project aimed at retrofitting existing commercial buildings to enable auto-demand response (Auto-DR), which means the ability to react automatically to changes in energy demand. In order for a building to be both efficient and “smart” it must be able to react to these utility pricing signals (i.e., adjust electricity usage when there are changes in prices due to peak load) through Auto-DR.  This will become more important in the coming years as utilities shift their pricing structures to encourage customers to decrease peak load.

The goal of this project is to increase the Auto-DR participation of commercial leased buildings to 26 Mega Watts (MW) load shed - about 10 times current levels in California - within 24 months.

Grant Opportunities

The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) issued a funding opportunity for the Smart Grid Investment Grant (SGIG) program in June 2009.  Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, this grant is intended to promote Smart Grid technology and deployments that will result in lower energy demand and better performance of the electrical grid. 

In addition to the DoE funding, the California Energy Commission (CEC) is offering a cost-sharing grant which would provide a maximum $1,000,000 or up to 10% of the DoE award amount (whichever is less).  The combination of DoE and CEC with utility matching funds, assuming continuation of existing incentive programs, will amount to $600 per kilo Watt (kW) load shed (i.e., per amount of decrease in energy use). This amount per kW will entice building owners/managers to participate in the program and will therefore stimulate the Smart Grid industry.

The total project cost is $18 million.


Cypress Envirosystems, based in San Jose, California, introduced a Wireless Pneumatic Thermostat solution in 2008 which accomplishes a pneumatic retrofit in less than 15 minutes per zone and only 20% of the cost of a conventional Direct Digital Control (DDC) approach.  Just like a DDC system, it can programmatically change thermostat setpoints in response to Auto-DR events, and includes a built-in interface to the Open-ADR communications standard developed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Akuacom, a San Francisco company.

This technology has been successfully deployed in a number of buildings, including an Auto-DR project for the County of Santa Clara for two buildings totaling 300,000 sq-ft.   The entire project was completed in eight days and less than $175,000, compared to six months and $880,000 for a comparable DDC retrofit.  The full cost of the project was reimbursed via PG&E incentives and represents 300kW of load shed potential.

Why are we doing it?

Commercial Building Pneumatics

In California, 46% of electricity use is related to commercial buildings (more than residential or industrial).  Peak electrical consumption for these buildings accounts for up to 30 Giga Watts, and represents a huge reservoir of potential decreased energy use through Auto-Demand Response (Auto-DR). 

While commercial buildings are the largest contributor to peak electrical load, they comprise less than 4% of the Auto-DR portfolio for PG&E and Southern California Edison (SCE).  To date, a key reason for this under-representation is the high cost and disruptive nature of upgrading older buildings for Auto-DR, and also the complications of multiple decision makers in multi-tenant buildings.  Without Auto-DR, in order for commercial property managers to react to peak load events they must dispatch a person to each thermostat to change them manually.  This method is inefficient in terms of both labor costs and reaction time, hence electricity costs.

From a technical point of view, the majority of commercial buildings in California remain off-limits for Auto-DR because they do not have communicating thermostats.  In fact, most of these are older buildings still use pneumatic HVAC control systems with no electronics of any kind.  This makes implementing Auto-DR difficult.  

Retrofitting these buildings for Auto-DR has traditionally been very costly and causes disruption to building tenants.  Upgrading pneumatic thermostats to Direct Digital Control (DDC) typically cost upwards of $2,500 each (achieving 1 to 2 kW of load shed), which makes it difficult to justify economically.  Replacing pneumatic actuators and piping with electronic versions require workers to go behind walls and above ceilings, possibly exposing asbestos or other harmful materials to tenants.

Climate Prosperity

This project amounts to a significant increase in building energy efficiency and will stimulate the Smart Grid industry in California.  Efforts will be focused on identifying Silicon Valley buildings for Auto-DR retrofit, although the scope of the project will extend beyond the Valley to other California PG&E and SCE territories.

This project is aligned with two of the five initial Climate Prosperity action items:  1) Accelerate improved energy efficiency in existing buildings; and 2) Grow the smart grid industry in Silicon Valley.  It will also help create green jobs, which is one of the indicators of achievement for the Climate Prosperity project.

Project Benefits

  • Deliver 26MW of load shed in the difficult-to-reach commercial lease building segment
  • Create green jobs immediately – more than 50% of funding is for installation labor for shovel ready projects
  • Train a workforce - create an eco-system of service providers that can sustain effort for future retrofits in California and nationwide, once stimulus funding is over
  • Showcase proven Silicon Valley technology and innovation

Who’s involved?

In addition to Joint Venture's Climate Prosperity Council, a Consortium has been formed around this Smart Grid project.  Consortium members include:

  • Cypress Envirosystems: wireless pneumatic thermostat technology
  • Echelon: technologies for building communications control
  • Akuacom:  “open” ADR to communicate pricing signals
  • Honeywell:  project implementation
  • County of Santa Clara:  target potential buildings in Santa Clara County
  • County of San Mateo:  target potential buildings in San Mateo County
  • CB Richard Ellis:  target potential buildings in both PG&E and SCE territory
  • Global Energy Partners:  reporting, funds management & disbursement
  • work2future: workforce recruitment and training

What are the latest developments?

On August 6, Joint Venture and a consortium of local organizations submitted an application to the U.S. Department of Energy for $9 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Smart Grid Investment Grant (SGIG) funds for this project. An additional cost-sharing application was submitted to the California Energy Commission (CEC) for $1 million.

Seven million square feet of commercial building space has already been identified for retrofit.

We received a letter from the CEC which stated that they intend to provide funding if we receive the DoE funds and follow all application guidelines.

What are the next steps?

We anticipate a reponse from the DoE in October.

Other next steps include:

  • Identify commercial leased buildings for Auto-DR retrofit and participation
  • Revise agreements with and educate existing tenants/owners/building managers
  • Implement pneumatic HVAC upgrade of existing commercial leased buildings
  • Where necessary, integrate upgrade with existing building automation system
  • Enroll buildings in existing Auto-DR programs from PG&E or SCE
  • Verify functional integration with Demand Response Automation Server

Where do I find out more?

To learn more about the initiative, contact Kelly Krpata or Rachel Massaro


1 Decision 06-11-049  November 30, 2006. Order Adopting Changes to 2007 Utility Demand Response Programs.  In response to the application of PACIFIC GAS AND ELECTRIC COMPANY (U 39-E), for Approval of 2006–2008 Demand Response Programs and Budgets, Application 05-06-006, Filed June 1, 2005

2 Decision 08-07-045 July 31, 2008. Application of Pacific Gas and Electric Company To Revise Its Electric Marginal Costs, Revenue Allocation, and Rate Design. Application 06-03-005, Filed March 2, 2006.

3 FERC Policy Statement, Docket No. PL09-4-000 paragraph 29.

4 Global Energy Partners, LLC.  2009.

5 Proposed Decision of Administrative Law Judge Jessica T. Hecht (Mailed 6/30/2009) adopting demand response activities and budgets for 2009 through 2011 (pp. 182, 214).

In The News

October 18, 2019 - (San Jose Spotlight) - Report: Downtown San Jose businesses move northward as tech keeps Bay Area market hot.  The report, released Friday by Joint Venture Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies ...shows that commercial development is going strong along the Peninsula and in Silicon Valley, with 13 million square feet under construction, a 19-year high, according to the report.  More

October 18, 2019 - (Palo Alto Online) - Peninsula cities, companies explore partnership to tackle traffic congestion: Launched by Joint Venture Silicon Valley, the series sought to bring all the parties together to exchange knowledge about transportation-demand management... More

October 16, 2019 - (KPIX CBS TV) - Salesforce CEO Says Facebook Is 'Like Cigarettes,' Should Be Broken Up: "We have a long-standing tradition of breaking up monopolies in this country," said Russell Hancock, CEO of Joint Venture Silicon Valley. More

October 15, 2019 - (CBS News) - #DeleteFacebook trends after report Zuckerberg secretly dined with conservatives: Russell Hancock, President and CEO of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, said it would take time to figure out if the hashtag had any impact on Facebook. More

October 14, 2019 - (Stanford Daily) - Students recover 1,000 pounds of leftover food from Stanford Stadium concessions: ...A La Carte, launched last year as a pilot program between Stanford and Joint Venture Silicon Valley, a local nonprofit which analyzes the impact of local public- and private-sector projects. More

October 11, 2019 - (Mountain View Voice) - Mountain View lays out $81 million plan for El Camino Real: More than 15 years ago, the nonprofit think tank Joint Venture Silicon Valley urged Peninsula cities to seize a "golden opportunity" by harnessing the demand for redevelopment to transform El Camino Real into an urban neighborhood corridor.  More

September 28, 2019 - (Detroit Free Press) - GM strike is a surprising modern test of the power of workers versus corporations:“We don’t have big factories in Silicon Valley where people are punching time cards and doing grueling physical labor,” said Russell Hancock, president and CEO of Joint Venture Silicon Valley. More