State and Local Policy Database

Chula Vista

City Scorecard Rank


Chula Vista , CA

45.50Scored out of 100Updated 8/2019
Local Government Score:
4.5 out of 9 points
Local Government Climate and Energy Goals List All

The City of Chula Vista’s City Operations Sustainability Plan establishes energy goals for the municipal government. The 2017 Climate Action Plan also highlights municipal actions.

Climate Mitigation Goal

The City of Chula Vista succeeded in achieving a goal to reduce municipal emissions 20% below 1990 levels, however, the city currently does not have a climate mitigation goal.

Energy Reduction Goal

The City Operations Sustainability Plan established a municipal energy reduction goal of 20% below 2010 levels by 2020.

Renewable Energy Goal

We did not find information regarding a municipal renewable energy goal.

Last updated: March 2019

Procurement and Construction List All

Fleet Policies and Composition

The City’s Climate Action Plan and 100% Clean Fleet Policy 2008 state that any replacement vehicles must be high efficiency, hybrid, or alternative fuel vehicles. Currently, Chula Vista is constructing over 120 EV charging stations for fleet and employee use and has purchased 15 fully electric vehicles for city fleet. The City Council voted in November 2018 to acquire 34 new vehicles, including 14 all-electric and 20 plug-in hybrid electric models. The new vehicles replace aging, gasoline-powered cars and trucks that are less reliable and cost more to maintain.  This purchase is the city’s first to be made as part of the Climate Mayors EV Purchasing Collaborative, a program launched by 20 founding cities of which Chula Vista is one. The program enables the City of Chula Vista to purchase vehicles using competitively solicited contracts from other agencies that meet or exceed city requirements.   Chula Vista’s fleet is composed of 15.2% efficient vehicles, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric.  

Public Lighting

We did not find information regarding the adoption of a policy requiring energy efficient outdoor lighting, such as the International Dark-Sky Association’s Model Lighting Ordinance. However, Chula Vista has replaced all outdoor lighting with LED lights.

Green Building Requirements

The City Operations Sustainability Plan, approved by City Council, states that all new buildings over 10,000 square feet must be designed and constructed to meet enhanced green building standards.

Last updated: June 2019

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

Chula Vista benchmarks facilities using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. The City’s Municipal Building Energy Efficiency Policy (2005) states that existing buildings should be retrofitted with more efficient technologies as available. Currently, Chula Vista is undergoing LED lighting retrofits in all buildings. A large scale HVAC and controls improvement project is in progress through 2019.

Public Workforce Commuting

Chula Vista has an Alternative Work Schedule policy.

Last updated: March 2019

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 4 out of 16 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

Chula Vista’s 2017 Climate Action Plan identifies pathways for the city to achieve a low-carbon future.

Last updated: June 2019

Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Climate Mitigation Goal

The City of Chula Vista adheres to California’s climate mitigation goals in its Climate Action Plan. These goals include community-wide greenhouse gas reduction goals of 15% below 2005 levels by 2020 and 55% by 2030. ACEEE does not project the city will achieve its community-wide GHG emissions reduction goal because no data was available to make a projection. 

The city conducts greenhouse gas inventories biennially. The city’s most recent inventory was released in 2018 and records emissions from 2014.

Energy Reduction Goal

The city does not have an energy reduction goal.

Renewable Energy Goal

As part of the city’s Climate Action Plan, the city has a community-wide goal of consuming 100% of its electricity from renewable resources by 2035.

Energy Data Reporting

Community-wide energy data is included in the city’s greenhouse gas inventories.

Last updated: June 2019

Equity-Driven Approaches to Clean Energy Planning, Implementation, and EvaluationList All

Equity-Driven Community Engagement

We were unable to determine whether permanent city staff have taken a unique and expanded approach in conducting outreach for multiple clean energy initiatives to marginalized groups compared with outreach to other city constituencies.

Equity-Driven Decision-Making

We were unable to determine if the city has created a formal role for marginalized community residents or local organizations representing those communities to participate in decision-making that affects the creation or implementation of a local energy, sustainability, or climate action plan.

Accountability to Equity

We were unable to determine whether the city has adopted specific goals, metrics, or protocols to track how multiple energy, sustainability, or climate action initiatives are affecting local marginalized groups. 

Last updated: June 2019

Clean Distributed Energy SystemsList All

California requires developers to install solar energy systems on all new homes. 

Last updated: June 2019

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

The 2017 Climate Action Plan sets a goal to expand the urban tree canopy to 15% by 2020 and 25% by 2035.

The City adopted a Shade Tree policy that includes a 50% tree coverage requirement for parking lots and 10% coverage for landscaped land. If a development project is not able to meet this requirement, it can install light colored surfaces as an alternative.  

Last updated: June 2019

Buildings Policies
Score: 17 out of 30 points
Buildings Summary List All

The City of Chula Vista complies with the State of California’s energy code, and requires both residential and commercial buildings adhere to CalGreen. The city has not passed a benchmarking and disclosure ordinance, nor does it require buildings to perform additional above-code energy-saving actions. Chula Vista offers residential and commercial buildings incentives for both energy efficiency upgrades and solar installations.

Last updated: March 2019

Building Energy Code AdoptionList All


The State of California requires all buildings to meet statewide codes, but grants local jurisdictions the authority to adopt more stringent codes. To learn more about building energy codes in California, please visit the State Policy Database.


The city requires commercial buildings comply with CalGreen. The city’s zEPI score for their commercial energy code is 49.1.


The city requires residential buildings comply with CalGreen. The city’s zEPI score for their residential energy code is 58.1.

Solar- and EV-ready

The city adopted a solar-ready ordinance for residential buildings in 2009. California state code will require solar system installation on all new residential construction beginning in 2020. California’s Green Building Requirements require residential and nonresidential building owners incorporate EV-charging infrastructure into the property. 

Last updated: March 2019

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

The city does not have any staff solely dedicated to building energy code enforcement. The California Building Energy Efficiency Standards includes commissioning and performance testing requirements for  all nonresidential buildings. The city offers free training and personal assistance on energy code compliance.

Last updated: March 2019

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

Commercial and multifamily

California has a statewide benchmarking and disclosure policy, outlined in Assembly Bill 802. As of June 2018, building owners of commercial buildings greater than 50,000 square feet must report and disclose their energy consumption annually. Starting June 2019, the policy extends these requirements to buildings with 17 or more residential utility accounts. In Chula Vista, the policy covers 49% of commercial buildings and 76% of multifamily buildings.


The city does not have a single-family benchmarking and disclosure policy.

Last updated: March 2019

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings and Renewable EnergyList All

The city offers five incentives and financing options for both energy efficiency upgrades and solar installation.

Chula Vista offers free home energy & water checkups for residents to determine opportunities for increased efficiency. The city also expedites permit reviews for projects that are at least 30% more efficient than current California energy efficiency standards. The city streamlined its solar permitting process for residential systems under 10 kW. The city offers commercial and residential properties access to property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing.

Please note that each incentive/program is tallied based on the building types and energy resources eligible for award. For example, a PACE financing program that offers energy efficiency and renewable energy financing to both residential and commercial property owners is counted as four incentives.

Last updated: March 2019

Required Energy ActionsList All

Chula Vista has not adopted a policy requiring building owners to conduct any additional above-code energy-saving actions.

Last updated: March 2019

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Workforce DevelopmentList All

The city does not have programs committed to developing a dedicated energy efficiency and/or renewable energy workforce.

Last updated: March 2019

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 12.5 out of 15 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), an investor-owned utility (IOU), is the primary electric and natural gas utility for the City of Chula Vista. The State of California requires spending and savings targets for its IOUs through an EERS and requires local government- utility partnerships through mandate by the California PUC. The municipally-run utilities are not required to meet the state EERS targets and report through the California Energy Commission. To learn more about the state-requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the California page of the State Database.

Both the Otay Water District and Sweetwater Authority are the private utilities that provide the City of Chula Vista with drinking water services, wastewater treatment, and stormwater management.

Last Updated: March 2019

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs and SavingsList All

In 2017, San Diego Gas & Electric reported 440,258 MWh of net electric savings at the meter, which represents 2.32% of its retail sales across the utility’s entire service jurisdiction, not only Chula Vista. In 2017, SDG&E reported 1.64 MMtherms of net natural gas savings at the meter, which represents 0.43% of its retail sales across the utility’s service territory. These savings figures cover both utilities’ entire service jurisdiction, not just Chula Vista. SDG&E offers natural gas and electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential and commercial/industrial customers.

Chula Vista and SDG&E do have a franchise agreement. In addition, the City has a long history with SDG&E in a series of Local Government Partnerships (LGP), which began in 2006. The City is currently wrapping up the third year of a five-year contract with SDG&E where they focus on energy efficiency services that reduce the amount of electricity consumed and help lower monthly utility costs. The program is designed to reduce amount of kilowatt hours consumed by the community in a range of sectors. Previous LGPs with SDG&E have had shorter-terms but similar goals and have allowed the City to have a broad reach in both its residential and business communities, as well as a focus on its municipal facilities, innovative outreach at its libraries, Recreation Department activities, and Development Services trainings and offerings, all directly related to energy efficiency.

Last Updated: March 2019

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

SDG&E offers the Energy Savings Assistance (ESA) Program, which provides renters or owners with energy-efficient lighting, water efficiency measures, health and safety measures, door and window replacement, appliance upgrades, insulation, weatherstripping, and caulking. SDG&E also offers the Middle Income Direct Install (MIDI) Program to qualified residential customers. This program provides no-cost energy efficiency measures to customers who meet income eligibility criteria (201-300% of the federal poverty line) within SDG&E’s service territory. SDG&E also partners with over 200 community partners to reach eligible customers, as well as 2-1-1 San Diego who provides enrolment services for SDG&E’s ESA program in addition to other state and local programs. SDG&E streamlines eligibility requirements for customers enrolled in other bill assistance programs. In addition, SDG&E leverages local LIHEAP agency dollars to provide health and safety repairs and services not offered through the ESA program, such as water heaters for renters.

In 2017, according to SDG&E, it achieved 3,619 MWh and 0.22 MMtherms in energy savings from its low-income programs, while serving 21,677 customers.

Multifamily Programs

SDG&E offers the Multifamily Properties Energy-Efficiency Rebates Program. This comprehensive program provides rebates for the installation of energy efficient products in apartment buildings, mobile home parks and condominium complexes. Rebates are available for products installed in both common areas and units. In 2017, the program included AC diagnostics, duct testing and sealing, low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators, tier-2 smart power strips, occupancy sensors, furnace and tankless water heater upgrades, and LED lighting in units and common areas. The City formally partners with SDG&E to target the multifamily sector.

Last Updated: March 2019

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

SDG&E does not provide building managers with automated benchmarking data through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager for multitenant commercial or multifamily buildings. The City of Chula Vista advocates for better access to utility data for ratepayers and the establishment of data-sharing agreements between the city and its utilities. The City has participated on the California Public Utilities Commission Energy Data Access Committee in an effort to receive better information about community energy use. The City has also signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with SDG&E to receive more complete community energy usage data.

Last Updated: March 2019

Renewable Energy Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Renewable Energy Incentives

In 2017, SDG&E provided $655,500 in incentives for the installation of 218.5 kW of new distributed solar systems, equating to $3,000/kW installed. These incentives were paid for the Single-family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) program. The SASH program provides one up-front capacity-based incentive of $3 per watt to qualified low-income homeowners for the installation of solar systems. SDG&E plans to launch the Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) program is set to in early 2019, which will offer between $0.60 to $3.20 per watt. SOMAH is a statewide program that aims to install 30 MW of generating capacity by 2030, making solar accessible to low-income ratepayers in the state.

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid

The city of Chula Vista’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) sets a goal of 50% renewable energy production by SDG&E for the city by 2030. According to the Plan, SDG&E had a renewable energy rate of 43% in late 2016 and has contracts to extend renewable generation to 49% by 2021. The city’s CAP Implementation Plan includes strategies to encourage more renewable generation from SDG&E.

Last Updated: March 2019

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

City-wide water efficiency and goals

Chula Vista is served mainly by two water agencies, Otay Water District and Sweetwater Authority. Otay Water District works with SDG&E regularly to evaluate the most cost-effective rate plans and leverages incentive plans when possible. Some of the incentive plans include the use of green energy and equipment modifications. Sweetwater Authority has and continues to partner with our local energy partner to promote water and energy efficiency measures. These events include community fairs, community tailgates, and lighting exchange events. Sweetwater Authority provides device-based rebates to consumers for water and energy and ensures these devices meet or exceed current Watersense and EPA benchmarks for efficiency. This measure is a network of multiple agencies that include Sweetwater Authority, San Diego County Water Authority, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, & San Diego Gas & Electric.

In 2016, the City of Chula Vista created a Water Stewardship Plan with stakeholder input that was approved by City Council in the fall of 2016. This originally started as a water reuse framework and came out of our climate action planning efforts. Stakeholders included Sweetwater Authority and Otay Water District. In addition, the 2017 Climate Action Plan includes actions making City water use more visible and water meter data is now being posted in all City facilities on a monthly basis, alongside energy use data.

Currently, water conservation is voluntary. Two bills, SB 606 and AB 1668, that establish permanent water use restrictions throughout the state were signed into law in 2018. Otay Water District and other water providers will work with the State Water Resources Control Board over the next several years to define how the new laws will be implemented. Efficient use of water is a long-term strategy for Sweetwater Authority as implied in its mission statement. This strategy includes a general emphasis on efficient use and conservation of water, as well as specific targets and conservation measures.

Water plant efficiency and self-generation

Otay Water District has a multi-year performance objective in its Strategic Plan to look for and leverage savings in energy costs. Sweetwater Authority’s Sustainability Action Plan and Strategic Plan contains specific energy efficiency targets and comprehensive energy efficiency strategies. San Diego Metro, where the City’s wastewater goes, does have a cogeneration facility to capture and utilize methane gas for energy use.

Last Updated: March 2019

Score: 7.5 out of 30 points
Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable Transportation Plan

The City recently adopted an updated 2017 Climate Action Plan that includes several strategies to reduce transportation energy use and emissions. We could not confirm if the City has a specific goal to reduce VMTs.

VMT/GHG Target and Stringency

At this time, the City does not have a codified vehicle miles traveled (VMT) or greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target.

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

We could not determine if the City tracks VMT or GHG numbers.

Last Updated: March 2019

Location Efficiency List All

Location Efficient Zoning Codes

The City’s 2017 Climate Action Plan details several ways in which the City has worked toward transit-oriented and mixed use development.

Residential Parking Policies

Parking requirements still exist in the City.

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosure

The City offers expedited permitting to increase location efficiency.

Last Updated: March 2019

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Targets

At this time, the City does not have a codified mode share target for trips within the city.

Progress Achieved Toward Mode Shift Targets

No progress has been achieved, as there are no targets in place.

Complete Streets

Chula Vista has not yet written or codified a Complete Streets Policy.

Car Sharing

The City does not yet have a formal policy in place to provide dedicated on-street and off-street parking for carshare vehicles.

Bike Sharing

Dockless bikes and scooters are present in the City, but the program has not officially kicked off. It is expected to officially kick off in early 2019.

Last Updated: May 2019

Transit List All

Transportation Funding

The CVT transit system that serves Chula Vista has received $749,084.00 in average annual funding from 2013-2017. This funding level is $0.23 per resident in the service territory of the agency, putting it in the lowest category ($0-19) available in the City Scorecard.

Access to Transit Services

The Transit Connectivity Index measures transit service levels. It is based on the number of bus routes and train stations within walking distance for households scaled by frequency of service. The City of Chula Vista’s Transit Connectivity Index value is 6, putting it in the fourth highest category (5-6.99) available in the City Scorecard.

Last Updated: March 2019

Efficient VehiclesList All

Vehicle Purchase Incentives

The City does not offer any incentives for purchasing high efficiency vehicles. However, San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) has offered various incentives and credits. They currently have an EV Climate Credit available. In the past, they have offered a shareholder funded electric vehicle rebate program geared toward teachers and first responders that included $1,000 in a point-of-sale rebate to qualified applicants toward the purchase of almost any EV or plug-in hybrid. They have also previously worked with local Nissan and BMW retailers to offer up to $10,000 on specific EV models for SDGE customers.

Vehicle Infrastructure Incentives

The City of Chula Vista has been participating in San Diego Gas and Electric’s Power Your Drive program for the last few years. The City has installed 123 EV chargers at three City facilities for both fleet and employee vehicles and just got approval from City Council to include 10 additional chargers for fleet and employees at one more facility. 44 of these chargers were at no cost (including the cost of equipment, installation and 10 years of maintenance) to the City because they were in a Disadvantaged Community. The remaining chargers required a one-time participation fee payment. Employees pay for their energy use for EV charging on their electric bills at home, and City Fleet vehicle charging gets billed to the City.

EV Charging Locations

The City owns 17 charging stations available for public use.

Renewable Charging Incentives

At this time, the City of Chula Vista has no incentives or requirements available for the installation of private or public EV charging infrastructure powered by renewable energy (solar, wind, etc.).

Last Updated: March 2019

Freight System EfficiencyList All

Chula Vista does not have a sustainable freight transportation plan in place, although it is looking into providing freight priority similar to transit signal priority to provide a more efficient experience for freight as they travel through the City.

Last Updated: March 2019

Clean, Efficient Transportation for Low-Income CommunitiesList All

Affordable New TOD Housing Policy

Chula Vista does not have any requirements or incentives in place to develop or preserve affordable housing in transit-served areas.

Connecting Existing Affordable Housing Stock to Efficient Transportation Options

The City offers links and information to programs that offer discounts to public transit through regional agencies. The City’s new bikeshare policy will encourage bike share providers to offer incentives to residents in low-income parts of the city.

Low-Income Access to High Quality Transit

In the City of Chula Vista, almost 67% of low-income households have access to high-quality transit.

Last Updated: April 2019