08/12/15 :

Bay Area Boasts Strategic Policy and Programs to Increase Energy Productivity

The San Francisco region is a proven leader in energy productivity and energy efficiency policy.

The Alliance’s Energy 2030 On the Road campaign is making its next stop in the “city by the bay” today, bringing efforts to double energy productivity by 2030 to the community of San Francisco. The half-day event, sponsored by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), has been organized to foster dialogue between leaders from state and local government, utilities, business, academia and nonprofit organizations regarding ways these stakeholders can help drive energy productivity through modernization and investment, consumer education and work in the public sector.

The state of California has recently been ranked second in the nation by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) on the State Efficiency Scorecard due to its leadership in implementing various efficiency standards and programs, all of which have delivered enormous savings. Read on to learn more about a few particularly exciting programs in honor of the Energy 2030 On the Road campaign event.


Known as a national leader for building energy codes and compliance standards, California became the first state to adopt legislation requiring commercial buildings to benchmark their energy use in 2007. Since then, California’s energy code has continued to be one of the most comprehensive in the country, with excellent compliance enforcement. Because of California’s adoption of a new standard in 2013 that increases efficiency standards by 25 and 30 percent for residential and nonresidential buildings respectively, it is estimated that the state will save $1.6 billion over the next 30 years through building efficiency alone.

Following San Francisco’s adoption of the Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance in 2011, building efficiency has become a top priority for many businesses in the area. The ordinance requires owners of all nonresidential buildings larger than 10,000 square feet to undergo energy efficiency audits every five years and benchmark their energy performance annually. The results of pursuing energy benchmarking for municipal buildings have been significant: total energy intensity improved 7.4 percent between 2009 and 2013, while the carbon footprint of the facilities improved by 12.7 percent during the same time period.


Transportation remains a cornerstone of the region’s clean energy vision. San Jose established its Green Vision with 15 year targets for clean technology jobs, clean technology venture capital investments, LED street lighting transportation and more. The plan specifically supports intensive job growth at planned and existing regional transit stations such as BART, High-Speed Rail and Caltrans to support increased transit ridership and regional use of the transit system to save energy and limit emissions. Impressively, 41 percent of the San Jose vehicle fleet runs on alternative fuels, while Zipcar, the city’s car share program, has more than tripled the number of cars in the program since its inception.

Looking Forward

We’re happy that our Energy 2030 On the Road campaign provides an opportunity to build upon the momentum of long-term efforts in the region. At the same time that technology incubators in Silicon Valley are increasing venture capital investment for efficiency, Californians are saving billions on their energy bills as a result of successful public-private sector partnerships. The Alliance is hopeful that dialogues between these leaders at events like Energy 2030 On the Road will foster continued innovation and collaboration to double energy productivity in the region and beyond.