State and Local Policy Database

Chula Vista

City Scorecard Rank


Chula Vista , CA

47.00Scored out of 100Updated 10/2020
Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 4 out of 15 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: September 2021

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. Based on ACEEE’s analysis of past years emissions data, ACEEE projects that the city will not meet its near-term community-wide GHG emissions reduction goal. 

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 has a sector-specific energy reduction goal to retrofit 20% of single- and multi-family homes and 20% of commercial building floor area to reduce energy use by 50% by 2035.

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.

Last updated: September 2021

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

Equity-Driven Community Engagement

We were unable to determine whether relevant decision-makers have taken a unique and expanded approach in conducting engagement for multiple clean energy initiatives with marginalized groups compared to engagement with 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.

Equity Accountability Measures

Chula Vista adopted the Climate Equity Index in 2021. The index tracks several indicators related to climate, energy, and equity, and the city is required to update the index every five years. 

Last updated: September 2021

Clean Distributed Energy ResourcesList All

The city has not adopted a formal policy, rule, or agreement that supports the creation of clean distributed energy systems.

Last updated: September 2021

Mitigation of Heat Islands List All

UHI Mitigation Goal

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

UHI Policies and Programs

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: September 2021

Buildings Policies
Score: 18.5 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. Chula Vista adopted a benchmarking ordinance that requires commercial properties to track their energy usage and make improvements if they are not energy efficient. The city 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: June 2021

Building Energy CodesList 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-readiness policies

The city adopted a solar-ready ordinance for residential buildings in 2009. California state code requires solar system installation on all new residential construction and solar-ready infrastructure on commercial construction. 

EV-charging readiness and infrastructure policies

California’s Green Building Requirements require residential and nonresidential building owners incorporate EV-charging infrastructure into the property. 

Last updated: June 2021

Building Energy Code Compliance and EnforcementList All

The city hires contract staff that his solely focused on energy code compliance. 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: June 2021

Policies Targeting Existing BuildingsList All

Retrofit requirements

The Existing Home Energy Sustainability Ordinance requires homes undergoing structural remodels or additions to incorporate a minimum number of energy-saving actions.

Commercial and multifamily benchmarking

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.

Moreover, Chula Vista adopted a benchmarking ordinance that requires commercial properties to track their energy usage and make improvements if they are not energy efficient.


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. 

Last updated: September 2021

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Workforce DevelopmentList All

Chula Vista, in partnership with its school district, created spaces within its Civic Center and South Library to encourage elementary schools students to pursue STEM education at an early age and to pave the way for students to find careers in the energy sector.

Last updated: June 2021

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. The City also adopted the Active Transportation Plan in 2020 to encourage active carbon free transportation options.

VMT/GHG Target and Stringency

A goal to reduce VMT 4% by 2020 has been set as a part of the city's CAP. The VMT goal can be found in Appendix A of the city's CAP. 

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

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

Last Updated: October 2021

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: October 2021

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 a Complete Streets Policy.

Last Updated: October 2021

Public Transit List All

Transportation Funding

We could not determine the transit funding per capita for Chula Vista.

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 5.7, scoring .5 points in the City Scorecard.

Last Updated: October 2021

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. In addition, SDG&E offers extra rebates to school district employees and first responders for EV purchases. 

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 has 106 charging ports available for public use, equivalent to 38.6 ports per 100,000 people.

Electric School Bus Goal

Akron does not have an electric school bus goal.

EV Transit Bus Goal

On Thursday, September 17, 2020 the MTS Board of Directors approved the agency’s plan to get the bus fleet to all zero-emissions vehicles by 2040. The plan will fast track the purchase of 17 vehicles over the next two years (ahead of a state mandate to start purchasing vehicles in 2023), including the agency’s first 60-ft articulated electric buses. MTS currently has six electric buses in service, with two more vehicles being added to the fleet in October-November 2020. The plan is expected to help further reduce the agency’s greenhouse gas emissions by 43% from current levels.

Last Updated: October 2021

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: October 2021

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. 

Last Updated: October 2021

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. In 2021, California regulators updated state energy efficiency policies to focus on reducing carbon emissions. The state’s new rule rules value efficiency as a grid and decarbonization resource, encourage utilities to offer more programs that primarily serve communities of color and low-income residents, and encourage workforce development programs.  To learn more about the state requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the California page of the State Database.

In late 2018, the City launched a feasibility study to establish community choice aggregation for the city. In September 2019, the City Council passed Resolution 2019-179 to approve a joint-powers authority (JPA), along with San Diego, La Mesa, Encinitas, and Imperial Beach to create the San Diego Regional Community Choice Energy Authority. The goal of the CCA is to provide clean energy to ratepayers by 2021. SDG&E will work with this JPA Community Choice Energy Authority by providing billing, customer service, and transmission of power. 

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: July 2021

Electricity and Natural Gas Efficiency SavingsList All

In 2019, according to EIA, San Diego Gas & Electric achieved 242,605 MWh of net electric savings at the meter, which represents 1.35% of its retail sales across the utility’s entire service jurisdiction, not only Chula Vista. In 2019, SDG&E spent $62,756,000 on energy efficiency programs, which represents 1.68% of its retail revenue.

In 2019 SDG&E reported 3.27 MMtherms of net natural gas savings at the meter, which represents 0.77% of its retail sales across the utility’s service territory. In 2019, SDG&E spent $7,376,000 on energy efficiency, which equates to $8.56 per residential customer. These savings figures cover the utility’s 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 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 fourth 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.  The most recent LGP included the creation of a Roadmap to ZNE for City Facilities, the new climate action plan, and a benchmarking and building performance ordinance. The City recently partnered with SDG&E for the creation of the Energy Station in the Library. Some examples of current efforts to promote energy efficiency include adopting a high efficiency outdoor commercial lighting ordinance, providing no-cost home and business energy evaluations, providing energy efficiency tools and resources and libraries and in recreation programming, providing training to development staff, and regularly participating in community events to promote energy efficiency.

Last Updated: July 2021

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 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. SDG&E partners with over 200 community partners to reach eligible customers.

The City of Chula Vista supports low-income weatherization through grants from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Through home checkups and mandatory outreach to businesses through a City ordinance, City staff promote various programs that are available for low-income participants including the ESA program.

In 2019, according to SDG&E, it achieved 1,783 MWh and 0.02 MMtherms in energy savings, while spending $10,078,869 and $9,005,556 on its electric and natural gas low-income programs, respectively. SDG&E served 16,271 customers across its low-income electric and natural gas programs in 2019.

Multifamily Programs

SDG&E offers a few multifamily programs, including the Multifamily Energy Efficiency Rebates (MFEER) and the Comprehensive Mobile Home Program (CMHP). Each of these programs target specific sub-segments within SDG&E’s Residential Multifamily sector and did so at little to no cost to the customer through direct install and co-pay delivery channels. Both MFEER & CMHP offered measures such as AC diagnostics, faucet aerators, low flow showerheads, efficiency fan controllers, refrigeration vending machine controllers, pool & spa LED lights, LEDs lights for common areas, smart programmable thermostats and 48-inch T8 LEDs for common areas at no cost. The program also included tankless water heaters, furnace upgrades and domestic hot water boilers at the co-pay level.

Within its service territory, SDG&E administers and implements a low-income energy efficiency program, known statewide, as the Energy Savings Assistance Program (ESAP). Within the parameters of ESAP, SDG&E can treat in-unit residences and common areas in multifamily properties. The services offered through ESAP include no cost lighting, air sealing, HVAC repair and replacement, domestic hot water repair and replacement, appliance replacement, and benchmarking.

In 2019, according to SDG&E, it achieved 1,870 MWh and 0.011 in energy savings, while spending $1,736,282 on its electric multifamily programs and $333,587 on its natural gas multifamily programs. Participation data was not available for 2019.

Last Updated: July 2021

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

San Diego Electric & Gas required to provide whole-building aggregated energy usage data for compliance with AB 802 to ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager or by providing the aggregated energy usage data in a Portfolio Manager template that the customer can upload. Building Owners or the Owner’s Agent can obtain whole-building aggregated energy usage data from utilities into ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager by providing just the building address.

The city works with regional planning partners to provide energy usage information every two years as a part of the city’s greenhouse gas inventories.

The City of Chula Vista 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. For the most recent GHG inventory, the City partnered with an academic institution, the University of San Diego's Energy Policy Initiative Center (EPIC) to get better access to our energy data. With the launch of the 2021 Commercial and Multifamily Benchmarking ordinance, the City will have access to energy data on all multifamily, commercial and industrial buildings in the city that are 20,000 square feet and above.

Last Updated: July 2021

Decarbonization and Climate Change Mitigation Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Utility Climate Mitigation Goal

In 2021, SDG&E announced its intention to produce power with zero carbon emissions by the year 2045. The year corresponds to California's target goal to get 100% of its electricity from carbon zero sources. To achieve this goal, SDG&E will need to reduce emissions by 3.85% annually from 2019 levels.

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid

The City's Climate Action Plan (CAP) set a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2035. To meet this goal, the City partnered with other jurisdictions—including San Diego, Encinitas, La Mesa, and Imperial Beach– to form San Diego Community Power (SDCP), a Community Choice Aggregator. As of summer 2021, SDCP will serve both commercial and residential customers. Two city councilmembers are on the board of SDCP.

Last Updated: July 2021

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Citywide 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.

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.

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 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. A 2018 update to the City Council on progress can be found here.

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. Sweetwater Authority’s Richard A. Reynolds Facility also has ground-mounted solar PV panels, which offset the cost of treating water and reduces the facility’s overall carbon emissions.

Last Updated: July 2021

Local Government Score:
4.5 out of 10 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

We did not find information regarding a current municipal energy reduction goal.

Renewable Energy Goal

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

Last updated: June 2021

Procurement and Construction Policies 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. Chula Vista installed 123 EV charging stations for fleet and employee use within the last 3 years and has recently purchased 44 electric vehicles for city fleet. The new vehicles replace aging, gasoline-powered cars and trucks that are less reliable and cost more to maintain.  For the 2nd round of EV purchases, the city participated in one of the early purchases 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% efficient vehicles, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric.  

Public Lighting

Chula Vista has adopted California’s 2020 energy efficiency requirements for outdoor lighting. The city has upgraded all streetlights to LED and any future development requires new LED streetlights to be installed. 

Onsite and offsite renewable systems 

The City has installed three phases of on-site solar PV panels and three battery storage installations for a total of 4.2 MW.  The City also partnered with SDSU for a grant through the California Energy Commission to install a solar battery storage consisting of repurposed EV batteries. This is a three year project and San Diego State University is in progress of designing the battery storage.

Inclusive procurement 

We were unable to find information indicating that the City has inclusive procurement and contracting processes.

Last updated: June 2021

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking 

Chula Vista benchmarks facilities using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager annually. 

Comprehensive Retrofit Strategy

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. The City also has a City Operations Sustainability Plan with goals to reduce energy use in facilities and is a participant in the DOE's Better Buildings Challenge. The City worked to create a Roadmap to Zero Net Energy in late 2019, which looked at the majority of city facilities for all opportunities for energy efficiency and renewable energy.  In 2020, the City retrocommissioned 2 existing buildings

Last updated: June 2021