Local Government Leading: City of San Diego

This installment of the Local Government Leading blog series highlights the City of San Diego, California.

In addition to being a Better Buildings Challenge (BBC) Partner, San Diego was recently selected as a winner of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities Climate Challenge. San Diego was selected because of its ambitious sustainability goals and robust plans to achieve those goals. San Diego plans to use the technical assistance provided through Bloomberg Philanthropies – valued at up to $2.5 million dollars – to support programs that propel the city toward its goal of achieving 100% renewable energy citywide by 2035 and to spur active transportation and transit use through changes in land use code, new housing near quality transit, and the development of a comprehensive mobility app.

These initiatives San Diego is planning to target with the technical assistance provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies are key focus areas of the city’s Climate Action Plan. Under the plan, San Diego is pursuing a range of approaches to meet its 100% renewable energy goal, including the adoption of sustainable practices in building construction and operation, onsite photovoltaic (PV) arrays, and energy storage systems. In areas around major transit stops, the city aims to increase the share of commute trips taken via mass transit to 12% by 2020 and to 25% by 2035 and the share of combined bicycle and walking commute trips to 10% by 2020 and to 25% by 2035.

In addition to its Climate Action Plan, San Diego also established a goal to reach a 20% energy reduction across its 7.6 million-square-foot municipal building portfolio by 2023 through a separate, voluntary commitment to the BBC. The city has achieved a 6% improvement in energy use intensity as of 2017 through a range of building improvements, including lighting retrofits, HVAC upgrades, and integration of building controls. As a BBC partner, San Diego has also showcased its leading-edge energy work on citywide street lighting retrofits with smart technology – cutting street light energy use by more than 50% – and on installation of solar PV arrays across the city, with expected cost savings of $14 million over 20 years.

Through its ambitious goals and innovative initiatives, San Diego is demonstrating leadership in sustainable energy and securing a better economy and environment for its citizens.

Be sure to check out our previous Local Government Leading installments featuring the City of SeattleDistrict of Columbia, City of Philadelphia, City of Los Angeles, and City of Boston.