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. . One of the results of this program is that the overall tonnage of organic materials sent to landfill in 2010 was 63% less than in 2005, resulting in a 60% decrease in landfill emissions. If you don’t currently place your food scraps and yard debris in the green organics cart, please start doing so today.
- Municipal Retrofits – The City has conducted a number of energy and water efficiency upgrades on municipal buildings, facilities, and landscapes. Please see the May 5, 2014 City Council Report for a current list of municipal emissions reduction projects.
- Bus Stop Improvements – In 2008, the City constructed a covered bus stop on Highland Way near the intersection with Highland Avenue.
- Smart Growth Policies and Code Changes – 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. In 2012 the City Council modified the Municipal Code to conform with these policies by allowing mixed use commercial/residential development in Zone D (Sec. 17.8).
Piedmont Environmental Task Force
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; adopted thirty-one of the recommended actions addressing municipal operations, legislation, purchasing, capital infrastructure, transportation and outreach; and dissolved the Task Force upon completion of its mandated tasks.
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 provides periodic reports 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. The reports also provide updates on the implementation on the adopted measures recommended by the Environmental Task Force. 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. You will find a copy of the update reports by following the links below:
- September 20, 2010 City Council Report
- July 18, 2011 City Council Report
- May 5, 2014 City Council Report
2010 GHG Emissions Inventory
With funds provided by PG&E’s Green Community Program, StopWaste.Org assisted its member local governments in the completion of municipal and community greenhouse gas emissions inventories for the calendar year 2010. The report staff provided to Piedmont’s City Council on May 5, 2014 includes an inventory of Piedmont’s community wide GHG emissions in 2010. The 2010 Inventory revised the 2005 inventory using refined data and protocols, finding that 2005 greenhouse gas emissions in Piedmont totaled approximately 48,300 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). The 2010 inventory also revealed that activities in the Piedmont community resulted in approximately 44,800 fewer metric tons CO2e in 2010, which is about a 7% reduction from 2005 levels.
Both inventories found that approximately half of Piedmont’s emissions are a result of energy use in the residential sector and that vehicular transportation accounts for 41% of the total.
As indicated in the 2010 Inventory and the May 5, 2014 Council Report, progress has been made in implementing CAP measures and reducing GHG emissions in Piedmont. Using currently available data including estimated reductions since 2010, today’s (May 2014) emissions are approximately 7.8% lower than 2005 levels. However, a significant portion of these emission reductions are a result of greater hydroelectric generation during a rainy 2010 calendar year. Although the Piedmont community has made measurable progress towards reaching its emissions reduction goal and regional energy efficiency programs continue to be available, the City must take further action to ensure that the community’s GHG emissions are reduced 15% from 2005 levels by 2020.
Fortunately, there are opportunities – from regulations to financing programs to “cleaner” energy mixes – of which the City and community can take advantage. The opportunities may require City resources and place obligations on property owners, but with careful analysis, the City should be able to select GHG reduction programs and projects that minimize costs and regulations while maximizing reductions. For a more thorough analysis of Piedmont’s GHG emissions projections and reduction progress and opportunities, please refer to the May 5, 2014 Council Report.
The Community's Goals Depend on Individual Actions
Achieving Piedmont’s GHG emissions reduction target will require a significant amount of work by members of all sectors of the community: homeowners, the municipal government, business owners, houses of worship, and public and private schools. In particular, Piedmont’s Climate Action Plan notes that 52% of the City’s 2010 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%.
The 2020 GHG Reduction target is achievable, but only with your participation.
There are a multitude of ways to reduce your carbon footprint, some of which you are already doing or have done: using CFL or LED lightbulbs, recycling, composting, improving your homes energy efficiency, installing a low flow toilet, replacing your lawn with drought-friendly landscaping, driving a hybrid or electric vehicle, bicycling to work, and so on. To help you start or do more, a list of available programs and links is provided below:
Local and Desktop Sources of Information
- Piedmont Public Works Department – Please 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.
- The City of Piedmont has streamlined the process and reduced the fees for Building Permits to install solar energy systems. Call (510) 420-3050 for more information.
- 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.
Carbon Emissions from the Residential and Non-Residential Energy Sectors
As noted in Piedmont’s 2010 GHG Emissions Inventory, 46 percent of the community’s emissions come from energy use in residential and commercial buildings. Listed below are programs and policies that incentivize energy efficiency:
Energy Upgrade California 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. According to the Energy Upgrade California 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. A convenient way to start evaluating your home for energy improvements is to use the Home Energy Analyzer, a free online tool that uses data from your PG&E Smart Meter so that you can monitor your home's energy use.
- Rebates and Incentives
By participating in the Energy Upgrade program, homeowners can take advantage of financial incentives. PG&E offers rebates of up to $4,5000 for efficiency improvements.
- Qualified contractors
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 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.
- 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.
CaliforniaFIRST is a Property Accessed Clean Energy (PACE) program that provides residential and commercial property owners property-assessed loans that finance energy and water efficiency upgrades. CaliforniaFIRST offers affordable long-term financing you can repay on your property taxes without relying on your credit rating or the need to put any money down.
Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) offers several programs to help Piedmonters improve energy efficiency in their home and business, including:
- Home Energy Checkup and Business Energy Checkup are on-line tools that let you quickly learn ways to save that are specific to how you use energy. All you need to do is answer a few simple questions about your home or business and energy usage.
- Home Money Saver is PG&E’s on-line guide to rebates. PG&E offers a wide range of rebates that are designed to help Piedmont residents save energy, money and the environment’s natural resources. Through instant savings on lighting products to appliance recycling programs, you can find ways to save energy and money.
- Go Solar - Learn more about going solar, including information on the California Solar Initiative, which provides incentives on solar installations.
- Plug-In Electric Vehicles may require special electrical equipment, and may allow you to take advantage of lower rates. Find out more from PG&E. Please note that a Building Permit is required for the installation of electric vehicle charging equipment.
East Bay Energy Watch: As noted on its website, “East Bay Energy Watch is a collaboration between Pacific Gas and Electric Company and local governments, non-profit and for-profit energy service providers in the East Bay dedicated to providing innovative energy efficiency solutions for residents and businesses in communities throughout Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.” It offers several energy efficiency programs available to Piedmont residents and businesses, such as:
- Green House Calls result in personalized lists of easy steps that residential property owners can make to reduce your energy consumption.
- Smart Solar is a program that offers a free assessment, analysis, advice and guidance to residential and commercial property owners considering installing photovoltaic panels or a solar water heater.
- The SmartLights Program assists small businesses with free start-to-finish technical assistance and instant rebates to help defray the cost of upgrading and/or repairing existing equipment. SmartLights can help with comprehensive lighting retrofits, refrigeration tune-ups, controls, and seals replacement, replacing domestic hot water heaters, and referrals to appropriate HVAC programs.
The California Energy Efficient Program offers commercial energy customers plug load occupancy sensors and screw-in LED light bulbs at little or no cost.
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 for appliances, a “cash for grass” lawn conversion program, free conservation devices, Waterwise self-survey kits, and on-site water surveys. For additional information these and other EBMUD programs, please email customer service or call 1-866-403-2683.
Carbon Emissions from the Transportation Sector
As noted in Piedmont’s 2010 GHG Emissions Inventory, 41 percent of the community’s emissions come from vehicles. Listed below are programs and policies that incentivize low- or no-carbon transportation:
- Personal Vehicles: By making your next car purchase an all-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle, you can reduce your carbon footprint and fuel costs significantly. Plus, you may be eligible for Tax Incentives offered by the U.S. Government. Please be sure to call Piedmont’s Building Department at (510) 420-3050 before installing any electric vehicle charging equipment.
- Public Transit: Piedmont is served by AC Transit and BART. A 15 minute bus ride on AC Transit’s bus #11 gets Piedmonters to downtown Oakland, the 19th Street BART Station, and destinations beyond. As such, the #11 Bus acts as “Piedmont’s BART Shuttle.” AC Transit service also includes two transbay bus lines that transport commuters between Piedmont’s Civic Center and downtown San Francisco. Visit Piedmont’s Public Transit Webpage for more information on bus, train and paratransit services in Piedmont.
- Casual Carpool