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Buildings, Energy & Climate
Buildings can be designed to support the health of occupants, minimize resource use, and make our community a more enjoyable place to be. Optimizing use of energy, water and other resources can lower associated costs, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Increasing local energy security and planning for future climate impacts can increase the resilience of our community. Oakland’s comprehensive approach to improving local energy and climate performance is reducing waste and pollution, keeping money in the local economy, improving local infrastructure and encouraging new investment. Learn more about Oakland's efforts regarding:
- Green Buildings
- Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy
- Improving Energy Performance in City Operations
- Climate Protection
Sustainable City Highlights
Green Building Ordinance for Private Development - The City adopted a green building ordinance for private development in 2010. Oakland’s ordinance applies to construction projects for most types of buildings, including residential and nonresidential new construction, additions and alterations, and alterations to historic buildings. Visit the City's green building portal to learn how this ordinance may affect you and to find resources to help you build green.
Civic Green Building Ordinance - On May 17, 2005, the Oakland City Council unanimously adopted a Civic Green Building Ordinance, adding Oakland to a growing list of U.S. cities that officially promote green building techniques. Oakland’s Green Building ordinance requires that all new buildings owned or occupied by a City Department or Agency that equal or exceed $3 million in construction costs meet a minimum Silver rating under the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, and be so certified by the USGBC.
Assistance for Private Developers - In 2006, the City adopted a Green Building Guidelines Resolution promoting the use of the Alameda County Residential Green Building Guidelines [for new home construction, home re-modeling and multifamily residential development], U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Rating Systems [for new commercial construction and remodeling], and Bay-Friendly Landscape Guidelines. These guidelines can be found at at the City’s Zoning Permit Center, the City’s Environmental Services Division, Oakland’s Main Library, West Oakland Branch Library, Temescal Branch Library, and the Temescal Tool-Lending Library.
Green Building Resource Center - The City's Green Building Resource Center (GBRC) is conveniently located next to the Planning & Zoning Counter on the 2nd floor of 250 Frank Ogawa Plaza. The GBRC was established in 2000 to provide the public with easy access to educational materials about the benefits of sustainable building practices. Over 23,000 people have visited the Center since its opening in 2000.
Oakland Green Buildings Map - Oakland is home to many commercial, institutional and residential certified green buildings. Visit the Oakland Green Buildings Map to learn more about local green buildings.
Green Roofs for Healthy Cities - In conjunction with Oakland’s Laney College and a non-profit called Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, the City of Oakland developed a one day seminar on Green Roofs which was held on February 9, 2006 at Laney College. Green roof technology has significant potential to improve the health and well-being of citizens in communities across North America and advance green building and sustainable community goals.
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Oakland Shines Downtown Commercial Energy Retrofit Program - The City of Oakland has teamed with local partners QuEST, Community Energy Services Corporation and PG&E to recently launch the Oakland Shines program – an exciting energy upgrade program for downtown businesses. Oakland Shines offers free-start-to-finish technical assistance, free energy audits and big cash rebates to eliminate or help defray the cost of installing energy-efficient lighting and HVAC equipment. The program is targeting all businesses in a 200-block area of downtown. One of the most ambitious central business district energy programs in the country, Oakland Shines is helping businesses reduce energy costs, enhance the economic value of their properties, attract and retain tenants, and achieve energy savings of up to 20%. Visit the Oakland Shines website.
Energy Upgrade California - Through the Energy Upgrade California program, it's now easier than ever for Oakland homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, saving money, increasing comfort and helping to protect the environment. Energy Upgrade California helps property owners to plan and carry out upgrades by providing technical guidance and links to qualified local contractors and financing assistance. Visit the Energy Upgrade California website.
Weatherization and Energy Retrofit Revolving Loan Program Income-eligible property owners can access 0% interest loans ranging from $6,500 - $30,000 for weatherization and energy efficiency improvements to owner-occupied residential properties of 1 - 4 units. View eligibility requirements and instructions to apply.
Weatherization Assistance Program - Income-eligible residents, including both owners and tenants, may qualify for free weatherization services under a Stimulus grant received by the City of Oakland and administered by Alameda County for 1-4 unit homes. Learn more about eligibility requirements, covered weatherization measures, and application procedures or contact Alameda County at (510) 670-6125 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Weatherization Assistance Program is funded in whole or in part by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 in cooperation with the California Department of Community Services and Development. See a brief promotional video.
Other Energy Efficiency Partnerships & Progress - Oakland is taking a comprehensive approach to improving local energy performance. These efforts are reducing waste and pollution, keeping money in the local economy, and improving local infrastructure and encouraging new investment. Energy efficiency programs now operating in Oakland are separately targeting downtown commercial, small commercial, residential market-rate, residential renter-occupied, and multi-family affordable housing market segments. Partnerships that include Oakland secured more than $61 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for energy efficiency retrofits, and are projected to generate about 1,000 new jobs for Oakland and the region and about 2,000 jobs statewide. According to PG&E, provider of electricity and natural gas throughout Oakland, businesses and residents have saved more than 180 million kilowatt-hours of electricity and 900,000 therms of natural gas over the past four years through PG&E programs, the equivalent of powering over 26,000 homes for one year. Learn more about energy programs available for Oakland residents and businesses.
California Youth Energy Services - The California Youth Energy Services (CYES) program has been providing Oakland residents free energy conservation services and hardware since 2005. CYES hires and trains local youth to provide free in-home energy audits, education, and hardware installation to low income homeowners and renters.
Improving Energy Performance in City Operations
In addition to supporting energy efficiency throughout Oakland, the City is leading by example by reducing energy use in its own municipal operations. Highlights include:
- Facility Energy Retrofits - The City of Oakland has retrofitted 129 of its 141 largest facilities, creating savings of over $1 million per year to the City's budget.
- Civic Green Building Ordinance - The City adopted a Civic Green Building Ordinance requiring all new City facilities over $3 million in construction costs to meet LEED Silver green building standards.
- Solar Energy - The City has installed 1 Megawatt of solar electric panels on the rooftops of our Municipal Service Center and the downtown ice rink. These panels provide approximately 2.3% of our municipal electric load.
- Green Business Certification - The City has received green business certification for its Civic Center and Municipal Services Center facilities.
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Projects Generate Energy and Cost Savings!
The City of Oakland, Public Works Agency received $3.9 million in ARRA stimulus funding for an Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) from the U.S. Department of Energy. This funding is being used for six projects in the City to improve energy efficiency and city operations, retain jobs, and lower operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions. The six projects are: lighting upgrades to City facilities including City Hall; heating and ventilation upgrades to old systems at the Police Administration building and Civic Center; bicycle lane improvements; conversion of Civic Center data center servers to virtual servers; green building training for City staff, and synchronization of traffic signals near the Coliseum and Hegenberger Road to improve traffic and transit flow during events and reduce fuel use. For more information about the City of Oakland ARRA projects please visit the City's Economic Recovery and Reinvestment page.
View more information about Oakland's internal operations Energy Group.
Oakland Energy and Climate Action Plan - The Oakland Energy and Climate Action Plan (ECAP) was adopted by the Oakland City Council on December 4, 2012. The purpose of the ECAP is to identify and prioritize actions the City can take to reduce energy consumption and GHG emissions associated with Oakland by 36% below 2005 levels. The ECAP establishes GHG reduction actions, as well as frameworks for coordinating implementation and monitoring and reporting on progress. The ECAP will assist the City of Oakland in continuing its legacy of leadership on energy, climate and sustainability issues. Learn more about the development of the ECAP.
The City and its partners throughout the community have made significant implementation progress on priority actions identified in the ECAP. These include adoption of the City's Green Building Ordinance, identification of Priority Development Areas, expansion of bicycle networks, participation in the Oakland Shines and Energy Upgrade California energy efficiency programs, release of the City's Zero Waste RFP, and many more actions that are advancing GHG reductions. View the November 2012 ECAP Implementation Progress Report.
Oakland also participates in a number of sustainable city networks and initiatives, including:
- ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability
- Green Cities California
- Bay Area Climate Collaborative
- East Bay Green Corridor
- World Wildlife Fund's Earth Hour City Challenge
Climate Adaptation - Oakland's Energy and Climate Action Plan (ECAP) includes a set of actions aimed at increasing local resilience and helping Oakland to adapt to the projected impacts of climate change.
Oakland is also participating in the regional Adapting to Rising Tides (ART) project, led by the San Francisco Bay Conservation Development Commission (BCDC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The ART project, which began in late 2010, was created to advance regional understanding of how sea level rise and other climate change impacts will affect the Bay Area's ecosystems, infrastructure, and economy. The ART project will also begin to explore adaptation strategies that may benefit Oakland and the region.