Climate Action Program

Vision Statement

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 its Climate Action Plan (CAP) in a significant step toward achieving our greenhouse gas reduction goals. The City of Piedmont is currently in the process of developing an updated version of its Climate Action Plan.

Climate Action Plan

CAP 2.0

On January 10, 2018, the Climate Action Task Force voted to recommend that City Council approve the draft of the Climate Action Plan 2.0 with some minor edits. The City of Piedmont has incorporated these edits and developed an updated draft Climate Action Plan 2.0 that will be considered by City Council. The City of Piedmont has also prepared a proposed Negative Declaration pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) evaluating the potential environmental impacts of the CAP 2.0.

The City of Piedmont is asking residents, families, business owners and people who work in Piedmont to review and comment on both the Climate Action Plan 2.0 and the CEQA Negative Declaration and Initial Study. Both documents are available for review during a 45-day comment period lasting from January 16, 2018 through March 2, 2018. Written comments can be submitted during this period. An online survey on CAP 2.0 is also available to facilitate public comment. A limited number of paper copies of the CAP 2.0 and CEQA Negative Declaration are available for review at the Public Works counter in City Hall at 120 Vista Avenue.

CAP 2.0 replaces the previous Climate Action Plan, adopted by the City of Piedmont in 2010. That previous plan was developed by City staff and the consultant, AECOM. CAP 2.0 provides an update to the original plan. It was developed by City staff, CivicSpark Fellows, and a CAP Task Force of Piedmont residents with expertise in various aspects of climate solutions who were appointed by the City Council. While City staff researched the latest emissions reduction strategies and developed the draft CAP, the CAP Task Force provided review and advice throughout the process.

The CAP includes five major strategies intended to reduce GHG emissions:

For Information on the public process that helped develop the draft plan, please visit the Climate Action Plan Task Force page.

For information on early achievements and efforts by the City on preserving the environment and reducing community greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions , please visit the Early Achievenments Section.

2010 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.

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:

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

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.

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:

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:

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:

Early Achievements

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:

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.