Climate Action Program
For information on the Energy Upgrade California in Alameda County program, please click here.
Human-induced climate change is a global crisis with the potential for environmental and social misfortune. Ever mindful of the consequences this crisis poses for future generations, the residents of Piedmont recognize that we must all take action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. By acting locally, our small city can make a contribution to a worldwide effort. Accordingly, the City of Piedmont has developed this Climate Action Plan (CAP) in a significant step toward achieving our greenhouse gas reduction goals.
Prior to development and adoption of the Piedmont Climate Action Plan, the city implemented a number of policies, programs, and incentives to assist the community in preserving the environment and reducing community greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. They include:
- Construction and Demolition (C&D) Debris Recycling Ordinance requires projects with a valuation of $50,000 or more to divert 50% of construction and demolition waste from the landfill.
- 75% Waste Diversion Goal – In 2008, the City adopted a resolution to divert from the landfill 75% of the waste generated in the city. Current reports from the City’s franchised waste and recycling service provider, Richmond Sanitary Service, indicate that Piedmont has achieved this goal.
- Civic Green Building Ordinance - Adopted in 2008, the ordinance requires civic building projects costing $3 million or more to be LEED© Certified. (Piedmont Municipal Code Sec. 17.11.10)
- Civic Bay-Friendly Landscaping Ordinance – the City council adopted this ordinance in 2009 (Piedmont Municipal Code Sec. 17.11.10). It requires the use of Bay-Friendly Landscaping practices on all municipal landscaping projects costing $100,000 or more..
- Food Scrap Recycling Program – As part of its weekly collection services, the City implemented in 2008 a food scrap recycling program in which residents, business owners and schools may place food scraps and food-soiled paper in their green organics carts along with plant debris. The material is taken to a facility where it is turned into compost for use by farmers, landscapers and home gardeners.
- Municipal Retrofits – The City has conducted a number of energy and water efficiency upgrades on municipal buildings, facilities, and landscapes.
- Bus Stop Improvements – In 2008, the City constructed a covered bus stop on Highland Way near the intersection with Highland Avenue.
- Smart Growth Policies – The 2009 General Plan update contains two policies that encourage smart growth in the community. Policy 2.2 encourages mixed use development in the Grand Avenue commercial district and Policy 2.6 calls for pedestrian oriented and mixed-use multi-family residential development in the Commercial Zone.
Piedmont Environmental Task Force is formed
After 16 months of actively investigating ways in which the City might improve its energy efficiency and waste diversion efforts, and receiving periodic briefings on the progress of the Climate Action Plan development, Piedmont’s Environmental Task Force presented its Final Report to the City Council on January 4, 2010. Council thanked the Task force for its efforts and thoughtful recommendations, accepted the final report of the Task Force, adopted thirty-one of the recommended actions, and dissolved the Task Force upon completion of its mandated tasks. In September 2010, Council received an update on the implementation of the adopted measures, which address municipal operations, legislation, purchasing, capital infrastructure, transportation and outreach.
Alameda County Climate Protection Project
In May 2006, the Piedmont City Council adopted a Resolution for the City to participate in the Alameda County Climate Protection Project, sponsored by StopWaste.Org and the Alameda County Conference of Mayors. In so doing, Piedmont became a member of ICLEI local governments for sustainability, completed a baseline 2005 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory, and adopted a Climate Action Plan (CAP) that includes a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 15% below 2005 levels by 2020.
Climate Action Plan
With grant funds provided by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and StopWaste.Org, the City was able to employ a climate consultant to assist the city in developing a Climate Action Plan (CAP) that was adopted by the City Council in March 2010. The CAP defines climate change and its potential effects, outlines the actions the City and State are taking to address climate change, describes how residents and business owners can participate in greenhouse gas reduction efforts, details the City’s strategy to be consistent with applicable state regulations, and provides guidance to City officials and departments charged with implementing the measures and policies contained within the plan.
The CAP includes three major strategies intended to reduce GHG emissions:
- Buildings and Energy: Minimize energy consumption; create high-performance buildings, and transition to clean, renewable energy sources. The buildings and energy strategy recommends energy efficiency retrofits for existing buildings, enhances energy performance requirements for new construction, increases use of renewable energy, and improves community energy management.
- Waste and Water: Minimize waste and celebrate water as an essential community resource. The waste and water strategy builds on past City successes by increasing waste diversion rates and recommending water conservation measures applicable to both indoor and outdoor water use.
- Transportation and Land Use: Create an interconnected transportation system and land use pattern that shifts travel from personal automobiles to walking, biking, and public transit. The transportation and land use strategy identifies ways to reduce automobile emissions, including improving pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, enhancing public transit service, and improving the City’s vehicle fleet.
CAP Implementation and Monitoring
City staff will be reporting to Council on the status of implementation of the actions and measures in the CAP that will enable the City to meet its GHG emissions reduction target. On September 20, 2010, Council received an update that noted that of the thirty-two measures included in the CAP, fourteen are in some initial or partial stage of implementation. In order to measure the success of implementation strategies and the progress being made toward meeting the GHG reduction goal, the City will need to conduct future GHG emissions inventories on a regular basis.
Get Involved – Start at Home
Achieving Piedmont’s GHG emissions reduction target will require a significant amount of work by the whole community: the municipal government, business owners, houses of worship, public and private schools, and city residents. In particular, Piedmont’s Climate Action Plan notes that 50.3% of the City’s 2005 GHG emissions originated from the residential sector. This is because the vast majority of structures in the City are single family homes, which – for the most part – were built prior to modern efficiency standards and therefore have minimal insulation, antiquated furnace systems, single-pane windows, and drafty gaps in the building envelope. To achieve the City’s GHG emissions reduction target by 2020, the CAP estimates that approximately 2,150 residences (55% of the houses in Piedmont) will need to improve energy efficiency by at least 20%.
- This is achievable. According to the Energy Upgrade California in Alameda County Program, the basic “prescriptive” set of efficiency and safety upgrades should achieve an improvement of approximately 10%, acknowledging that every home is unique. This set of upgrades includes attic insulation, attic air sealing, duct sealing, hot water pipe insulation, low flow showerhead, carbon-monoxide/smoke alarm installation, and combustion safety backdraft test. A “performance” package of upgrades, from new windows to an on-demand hot water heater to solar panels, would further increase your homes energy efficiency.
The Place to Start is Here
There is a multitude of ways to reduce your carbon footprint, some of which you are already doing or have done: using CFLs, recycling, composting, improving your homes energy efficiency, installing a low flow toilet, driving a hybrid car, bicycling to work, and so on. To start or do more, here are some suggested contacts, programs and links:
- Piedmont Public Works Department – contact us for information regarding city recycling programs, permits for your home energy upgrade projects, and information on other local and regional energy and water efficiency programs. Please also let us know if you want to receive future notices of meetings and activities related to the Climate Action Program.
- Carbon Footprint Calculators are available from PG&E, the Nature Conservancy, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Piedmont Connect is a local community group that supports local efforts toward environmental sustainability in Piedmont.
- StopWaste.Org is the Alameda County resource for recycling, reducing waste, Green Building, Bay-Friendly Landscaping, and composting, all of which help reduce carbon emissions.
- The California Climate Change Portal is a source for state GHG emissions reduction programs and global climate change information.
Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) offers several programs to help Piedmonters improve energy efficiency in their home and business, including:
- ClimateSmart Program - This program helps residents balance out their homes’ greenhouse gas (GHS) emissions through environmental conservation, restoration and protection projects. By adding a voluntary, tax-deductible $5 donation (for a typical home), Piedmont residents can reduce or absorb the GHG emissions associated with their homes’ energy use. A helpful Home Carbon Dioxide footprint quick calculating tool is provided on this site.
- Smart Energy Analyzer - Is your home energy efficient? Which appliances use the most energy? Which home improvement projects have built-in energy savings? These questions and more can be answered through this self-audit tool and calculator that focuses on a specific area of your home. This is a good way to get bottom-line information on specific energy-saving ideas that will work in your home.
- Rebates - A wide range of rebates are offered to help Piedmont residents save energy, money and the environment’s natural resources. Through instant savings on lighting products to appliance recycling programs, find out ways to participate in energy saving programs.
- Go Solar - Learn more about going solar, including information on the California Solar Initiative, which provides incentives on solar installations.
East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) offers a variety of programs that assist property owners in improving water efficiency, and thereby reducing their carbon footprint, including rebates, free conservation devices, Waterwise self-survey kits, and on-site water surveys. For additional information on any of these and other EBMUD programs, please email customer service or call 1-866-403-2683.
Energy Upgrade California in Alameda County
Energy Upgrade California in Alameda County is your one stop shop for finding everything you’ll need to make improvements to your home that will save energy and water and help lower your utility bills. By participating in the program you can take advantage of rebates offered by PG&E.
Rebates and Incentives
By participating in the Energy Upgrade program, homeowners can take advantage of financial incentives. PG&E offers rebates between $1,500 and $4,000 for efficiency improvements of 15% to 40% and beyond. Effective February 3, 20123, the financial incentive program offered by the CIty of Piedmont ended because allocated grants funds had been expended.
All Energy Upgrade California contractors have completed rigorous training to provide the highest quality of service. Certified contractors will assist homeowners with: Taking advantage of all available rebates and incentives, Completing a professional “whole house energy performance” assessment, and making the most appropriate improvements for their home.
DO NOT DELAY! All funding is limited and available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Sign up now by going to the Energy Upgrade California in Alameda County website where you can learn more about the program, locate a certified contractor, and begin to improve your home’s efficiency and comfort. You are also encouraged to call Piedmont Assistant Planner Kevin Jackson at (510) 420-3039 if you are interested in participating in the Energy Upgrade program or have any questions regarding the program, rebates, qualified contractors, or the need for a Piedmont building permit or design review application.
- Energy Upgrade California in Alameda County fact sheet
- Energy Upgrade California in Alameda County announcement
Terms and Conditions for Piedmont homeowners participating in the Energy Upgrade California in Alameda County program.
- For improvement work undertaken within the City of Piedmont, the Applicant or person undertaking the improvement work must obtain all necessary building permits and design review approval from the Department of Public Works (510-420-3050) prior to the commencement of all improvement work.
- Contractors and design professionals working within the City of Piedmont must obtain a City of Piedmont business license from the City Clerk (510-420-3040).
- The professional “whole house energy performance” assessment must be performed by a professional that is registered with the Energy Upgrade California program.