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Office of Energy and Sustainable Development
Office of Energy and Sustainable Development

Sustainability News:

 New Building Energy Saving Ordinance Requires Energy Assessments for all Berkeley Buildings

Effective December 1, 2015, Berkeley's Energy Saving Ordinance (Berkeley Municipal Code 19.81) will replace both the Residential and Commercial Energy Conservation Ordinances (RECO and CECO). BESO stipulates that owners of all buildings in Berkeley must conduct an energy assessment and report on building efficiency or document high performance building status.

BESO requires energy assessments at time of sale for medium, small, and single family buildings, as well phased-in by building size for all buildings, with the exception of homes (1 to 4 units). Highly efficient buildings that have completed a qualified energy upgrade are exempt from the assessment requirement.

With nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions in Berkeley coming from buildings, it is critical that we continue to advance innovative and smart energy efficiency strategies for our homes and businesses. 

For more information, see:  

 The City of Berkeley Selected as a Semifinalist for $5 Million Energy Reduction Prize

The City will be vying with 49 other cities nationwide - including five others in Northern California - to see which municipality can reduce its energy the most over the next two years and win the Georgetown University Energy Prize, which comes with a $5 million award.

"We have a legacy of innovation and leadership in energy efficiency and we've been making steady progress on our Climate Action Plan commitments," said Neal De Snoo, Energy Program Officer for the City of Berkeley. "Berkeley is ready for a bit of friendly competition, and we're ready to bring home the prize."

Saving energy also means saving money. Resources that provide financial and other incentives for residents to reduce energy costs can be found at  

The City's Georgetown University Energy Prize plan proposes to reduce energy use by leveraging energy savings from municipal energy projects such as the recent citywide LED streetlight upgrade and the construction of the Net Zero Energy West Berkeley Library Branch project, as well as working with residents to take advantage of rebates and technical assistance to advance comprehensive energy efficiency upgrades in Berkeley homes. These projects are designed to achieve deep, sustained energy reductions in residential and municipal energy consumption and build on the foundations established by Berkeley's Climate Action Plan. Berkeley residents are already conscientious energy users and have the values and creative spirit to make Berkeley competitive for the prize. PG&E will award Berkeley up to $20,000 in funding to provide programs and services for Berkeley residents and schools to advance Berkeley's efforts in the competition.

The winner will be selected in 2017 on the basis of energy performance, the quality and community-wide energy efficiency strategies and the ability to replicate those approaches to other cities. To learn more about the Georgetown University Energy Prize and to track the competition's progress, visit

The Rockefeller Foundation Names Berkeley as an Inaugural City of the 100 Resilient Cities Network

The Rockefeller Foundation announced that Berkeley was selected as an inaugural member of the 100 Resilient Cities Network. Berkeley was one of nearly 400 cities across six continents to apply for The Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge, and one of only 33 cities to be selected.  

The Rockefeller Foundation defines resilience as "the ability of a community to withstand shocks while still maintaining its essential functions and to recover quickly and effectively." 100 Resilient Cities enables cities around the world to develop and implement resilience plans, provides city leaders a forum to share and learn from others' experiences, and connects them with suppliers, thinkers, and stakeholders who can help them improve their city's resilience. 

For more information, see:  

Announcing the Home Energy Analyzer 

Check out the new, free online tool, Home Energy Analyzer. It's available to all Alameda County residents with a PG&E Smart Meter. The Home Energy Analyzer uses advanced analytics to monitor your home's energy use. It then offers specific tips to help you save money on your energy bill and make your home more comfortable. 

  • Visit  
  • Enter your PG&E account information 
  • Receive a customized report for your home with tips for saving energy and money 

For more information and to find out about rebates for energy upgrades visit Bay Area Regional Energy Network / call (866) 878-6008 or attend an upcoming workshop.  

Be the Action in the Climate Action Plan: Join the Berkeley Climate Action Coalition 

The Berkeley Climate Action Coalition works to accelerate implementation of the Berkeley Climate Action Plan. Your leadership and expertise can more fully turn this plan into action.  

Join the Coalition and a working group! The Coalition has six active working groups, each focused on carrying out at least one action from the Climate Action Plan within a year. The working groups are:

  • Land Use and Urban Gardening 
  • Water 
  • Community Choice Energy 
  • Walking, Cycling and Public Transportation 

 Get involved! Join one of the working groups of the Berkeley Climate Action Coalition.  



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