Municipal Energy Conservation

How the City of Berkeley is Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Municipal Operations While municipal operations contribute to less and 1% of the community-wide greenhouse gas inventory, the City plays an important role in providing leadership and demonstrating implementing actions.  

The Berkeley City government has an active alternative fuel vehicle program, including electric, natural gas, and bio-diesel vehicles. Berkeley reduced its conventional fleet vehicles and replaced them with City CarShare hybrid-electric, plug-in electric vehicles and bicycles and refuse and greenwaste trucks run on compressed natural gas (CNG).The City is making it easier for City employees to commute by public transit, cycling or walking (see: employee trip reduction) by supplying employees with AC transit bus passes and pre-tax Commuter Checks and offering employees.

LED Streetlights
The City is upgrading all 8,000 streetlights to energy efficient LED (light-emitting diode) lighting. In addition, all red and green traffic signals and orange pedestrian signal lights are LEDs. See:

Building Energy Use
The City of Berkeley is actively working to reduce the amount of energy used in municipal facilities. Check out progress towards reducing municipal building energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions. Energy use reductions are accomplished by retrofitting existing buildings for energy efficiency, encouraging energy smart behavior, and by including energy efficient design as a key element in new construction and rehabilitation projects. The importance of design, construction, operation and maintenance of municipal buildings is reflected in the City’s Green Building Resolution, adopted by Council in 2003, the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy adopted in 2004 and the Precautionary Principal Ordinance adopted in 2006. 


Score (1-100)

Year Rated

Mental Health/ 2640 MLK Way



Main Library



Civic Center Admin Offices



1947 Center Street



Veterans Building



* Buildings with an ENERGY STAR energy performance score of 75 or higher—meaning they are in the top 25 percent for energy efficiency in the nation compared with similar buildings.

Renewable Energy 
The City uses solar installations to offset energy consumption, including solar photovoltaic systems on the new West Berkeley Library, at the City’s Corporation Yard on Allston St., and on the Shorebird Park Nature Center at the Marina. The City installed a solar hot water system to offset natural gas consumption at the West Campus Swimming Pool for the showers, and the Shorebird Park Nature Center, where it provides space heating as well as hot water. The City is also participating in the Regional Renewable Energy Procurement Project, a collaboration involving over 25 Bay Area agencies seeking to collectively negotiate to purchase and finance clean energy systems, including on-site solar photovoltaic, solar thermal and wind turbines. 

Renovation and New Construction 
Berkeley requires that all new municipal construction and remodels achieve a LEED Silver certification or higher. In addition, municipal remodels and new construction must meet green specifications and use green cleaning supplies and building materials.

Environmental Preferable Purchasing and the Precautionary Principle
The Precautionary Principle serves as a guide to making decisions involving the acquisition and use of commodities, services, and activities that minimize the negative impacts on human health and the environment. The City implements the Precautionary Principle by specifying standards for environmentally preferable products and services, as well as adopting maintenance and operations procedures. The City participates in the Alameda County Green Purchasing Roundtable to share resources and technical assistance and explore opportunities for collaborative procurement.   

Precautionary Principle procurement activities include:

Waste Reduction & Recycling
All City buildings have active recycling service. Compost collection is encouraged with compost collections kitchens and paper towel collections in each restrooms. The Parks Department also separates all plant debris for compost. In addition, single-use water bottles and polystyrene foam are prohibited at all City sponsored events.

The City of Berkeley is committed to meeting its Climate Action Plan goals of decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by 33% below 2000 levels by 2020 and 80% by 2050 and by creating a healthy and sustainable community. Track our progress at For more information about other Climate Action Plan see:  

Resources and More Information:

Back to homepage for Energy and Sustainable Development