City of San Diego receives national award for commitment to energy efficiency

US Department of Energy honor bestowed at 2024 summit

SAN DIEGO – With a goal of removing natural gas from all city facilities by 2035, the City of San Diego was honored on Wednesday, April 3 for its innovative zero emissions municipal buildings policy during a Department of Energy summit in Washington, D.C.

The city received the Better Practice Award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as part of its Better Buildings Initiative at the 2024 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit. This competitive nationwide award recognizes San Diego’s success in implementing energy efficiency and decarbonization practices.

San Diego’s Zero Emissions Municipal Buildings and Operations Policy (ZEMBOP) project was selected for its efforts to meet the city’s ambitious Climate Action Plan targets. Among them, the city has:

  • Established a goal of zero emissions in all municipal buildings by 2035.
  • Set a target to remove natural gas from 50% of municipal facilities by 2030 and all municipal facilities by 2035.
  • Made plans to transition all of its municipal fleet vehicles to zero emissions vehicles by 2035.

“This is a tremendous honor and we are delighted to be recognized national leaders in addressing climate change,” said Alyssa Muto, Director of the city’s Sustainability and Mobility Department. “This is the culmination of many years of work by our staff and other city departments, as we move toward a more sustainable, livable future for San Diego.”

In October 2022, the San Diego City Council adopted the  Zero Emissions Municipal Buildings & Operations Policy (ZEMBOP) which establishes a framework to ensure the city leads by example in decarbonizing the municipal building sector. The policy’s goals will be achieved by prioritizing proven energy efficiency strategies, eliminating the use of non-emergency fossil fuel systems, requiring electric vehicle charging and requiring renewable or zero-carbon energy to power municipal building operations.

This award was given to the city for its outstanding performance in the DOE’s Better Climate Challenge, which challenges organizations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% within 10 years.

“Partners in the Better Climate Challenge are industry leaders in energy efficiency and decarbonization,” said Carolyn Snyder, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Buildings and Industry at the U.S. Department of Energy. “As a winner of a Better Practice award, the City of San Diego has demonstrated an innovative pathway to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions that other organizations can learn from.”

The DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative is a partnership of over 900 organizations, including more than 90 state and local governments, pursuing energy, waste, water and greenhouse gas reduction goals.

The partners demonstrate and share successful strategies to overcome common barriers and inspire others to make significant progress in energy efficiency and decarbonization. This collaboration serves to advance energy independence and propel our nation toward a clean energy future.

(City of SD Release) n

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