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. Check out current municipal projects to reduce energy usage, see: Municipal Energy Annual Report.

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. 

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.    

Precautionary Principle procurement activities include:

Transportation
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.

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.

Water Conservation
In response to the drought, the City has scaled back water use, fixed leaks, and is exploring the use of recycled water. Berkeley's Civic Center Building and the adjacent Martin Luther King Jr. Park received a Water Smart award from the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) for drastically reducing water use during the 2013-2014 drought. According to EBMUD, the Civic Center Building is one of the most water-efficient buildings in the East Bay.

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 www.cityofberkeley.info/climateprogress

Resources and More Information:

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