State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Riverside, CA

40.50Scored out of 100Updated 8/2019
Local Government Score:
3 out of 9 points
Local Government Climate and Energy Goals List All

The City of Riverside’s Restorative Growthprint – Climate Action Plan establishes climate-mitigating actions for municipal operations.

Climate Mitigation Goal

The Climate Action Plan includes a goal to reduce municipal greenhouse gas emissions 49% below 2007 levels by 2035, with an interim reduction goal of 15% below 2007 levels by 2020. To meet this goal, Riverside must reduce per capita emissions by 1.29% annually. ACEEE does not project the city will meet its GHG emissions reduction goal for local government operations because no data was available to make a projection. 

Energy Reduction Goal

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

Renewable Energy Goal

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

Last updated: June 2019

Procurement and Construction List All

Fleet Policies and Composition 

Riverside’s Green Action Plan targets a 5% reduction in mobile source pollution by 2020 and increase the number of clean fleet vehicles to at least 60%. Riverside regularly purchases alternative fuel vehicles. The City’s fleet is composed of 12% efficient vehicles, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric vehicles. 

Public Lighting

Riverside’s City Council adopted an Outdoor Lighting Ordinance that complies with the International Dark-Sky Association’s Model Lighting Ordinance. The ordinance became effective in December 2018. The City has begun upgrading all streetlights to LEDs. Currently, 5% of lights have been upgraded and the project is expected to be completed by mid-2020.

Green Building Requirements 

Riverside’s does not have a LEED requirement municipal facilities, however, the city does strive to meet minimum LEED requirements without going through the formal LEED certification process. 

Last updated: June 2019

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

Starting in 2018, the State of California requires building owners with buildings 50,000 SF and larger to submit the energy use of their buildings to the California Energy Commission Annually.  Riverside does report energy use in all municipal buildings, 50,000 SF or larger but does not complete the full energy benchmarking at this time.  These data will be publicly disclosed by the State of California beginning in 2020. The City’s retrofit strategy is to identify buildings/equipment that are aging, in need of major repair, continually generating repair orders that are above industry normal standard, or typically energy inefficient.  After identifying these projects, staff makes the repairs and seeks energy efficient replacement components a funding becomes available.  The goal is to replace individual systems as they come up for major repairs with energy efficient and sustainable equipment and products.

Public Workforce Commuting

Riverside offers flexible schedules for City employees.

Last updated: June 2019

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 4.5 out of 16 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

The City of Riverside adopted the Riverside Restorative Growthprint – Economic Prosperity Action Plan and Climate Action Plan in 2016.

Last updated: June 2019

Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Climate Mitigation Goal

The city’s climate action plan established greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals of 26.4% below 2007 levels by 2020 and 49% by 2035. ACEEE does not project the city will meet its community-wide GHG emissions reduction goal because no data was available to make a projection. 

Energy Reduction Goal

The city has set goals in the Green Action Plan to save 1% of community-wide energy use per year based on a 2004 baseline and to reduce the city’s peak electric load 10%. 

Renewable Energy Goal

Goal 1 of Green Action Plan targets an increase the use of non-greenhouse gas emitting energy resources to 50% of total use by 2020, with renewable energy sources accounting for a 33% of the increase.

Energy Data Reporting

Riverside’s Public Utilities Division releases community-wide electricity data. Natural gas and other fuel data is not available online.

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

Riverside established a goal to plant at least 1,000 trees in city parks and right-of-ways and 3,000 trees on private property annually through Goal 12 the Green Action Plan.

The city’s zoning code requires the preservation of existing trees with a trunk of 6 inches or more and requires private property owned to plant shade trees. The zoning code also includes a subdivision conservation ordinance that developers can use for conservation purposes.

Last updated: June 2019

Buildings Policies
Score: 15.5 out of 30 points
Buildings Summary List All

The City of Riverside adheres to California’s energy policies including energy code, solar- and EV-ready mandates, and benchmarking. The city offers several incentives and financing options for energy efficiency, solar, and low-income energy projects.

Last Updated: March 2019

Building Energy Code AdoptionList All


The State of California allows its local jurisdictions to adopt building energy codes more stringent than the mandatory state codes. Title 24 outlines all California building codes. Title 24, Part 6 includes the California Energy Code and the California Building Energy Efficiency Standards (BEES). Title 24, Part 11 includes the California Green Building Code. The 2016 codes exceed the 2015 IECC standards and ASHRAE/IESNA 90.1-2013. To learn more about California’s building energy codes, please visit the State Policy Database.


Commercial properties comply with the 2016 California Building Standards Code. The city’s zEPI score for their commercial energy code is 51.7.


Residential properties comply with the 2016 California Building Standards Code. The city’s zEPI score for their residential energy code is 59.6.

Solar- and EV-ready

Riverside adheres to the solar- and EV-ready requirements already included in the California Building Standards Code.

Last Update: March 2019

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

Riverside does not have any staff solely dedicated to energy code compliance. The California Building Standards Code requires third-party verification of building commissioning and plan reviews. The city does not provide upfront support for energy code compliance.

Last Updated: March 2019

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

Commercial and multifamily

Riverside complies with the State of California’s Assembly Bill (AB) 802. Per AB 802, owners of commercial and multifamily buildings greater than 50,000 square feet must benchmark energy usage. The policy covers 46% of commercial buildings and 77% of multifamily buildings in Riverside. The city has not adopted its own independent benchmarking ordinance.


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

Last Update: March 2019

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings and Renewable EnergyList All

Riverside offers eight incentives and financing options for energy efficiency, solar, and low-income energy projects.

Through the Green Riverside program, commercial and residential building owners may access rebates for energy efficiency upgrades and/or energy-saving designs during the construction phase.

Commercial and residential property owners may also qualify for property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing for energy efficiency improvements, renewable energy installation, and water conservation measures.

Single- and two-family households may also qualify for express solar permitting if the property meets specific standards.

The city’s municipal utility operates the Energy Savings Assistance Program that provides income-eligible applicants with no-cost home energy improvements.

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 Updates: July 2019

Required Energy ActionsList All

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

Last Update: March 2019

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Workforce DevelopmentList All

City of Riverside has partnered with Grid Alternatives, a local non-profit provider, to design and administer solar programs serving their low-income families, meet their goals for reducing energy use, diversify their energy portfolios, thus lower housing costs in their affordable homeownership programs. The partnership also includes collaboration to develop a strong local workforce in solar.

Last Update: March 2019

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 10 out of 15 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

Riverside Public Utilities (RPU), a municipally-run utility, is the primary electric utility for the City of Riverside. Southern California Gas (SoCal Gas), an investor-owned utility (IOU), is the primary natural gas supplier for the city of Riverside. Riverside actively promotes its natural gas efficiency programs. The State of California requires spending and savings targets for its utilities 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, but instead set their own energy efficiency targets. To learn more about the state-requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the California page of the State Database.

Riverside Public Utilities’ water department, Blue Riverside, provides Riverside with drinking water services. The Public Works Department is the municipal utility that provides wastewater treatment and stormwater management services to Riverside.

Last Updated: March 2019

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs and SavingsList All

In 2017, RPU reported 15,443 MWh in net incremental savings, representing 0.69% of retail sales. In 2017, SoCal Gas reported 34.41 MMtherms of net natural gas savings at the meter, which represents 1.31% of its retail sales across the utility’s service territory. The savings reported on natural gas represented in this section covers the entire SoCal Gas service territory, not just Riverside. Riverside Public Utilities offers electric efficiency rebates and technical assistance to residential and commercial/industrial customers. SoCal Gas similarly offers natural gas efficiency programs to residential and business customers.

SoCal Gas continues to partner with local governments with its energy leader model providing technical assistance for energy efficiency retrofits, strategic planning and reach code support, and more. SoCal Gas operated 26 partnerships with cities or group of cities in 2015.

Last Updated: March 2019

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

Both Riverside Public Utilities and SoCal Gas offer the dual fuel Energy Savings Assistance Program to qualified low-income residential customers. The program provides direct installation of lighting efficiency upgrades, water efficiency measures, HVAC tune-ups, smart power strips, and refrigerator recycling/replacement in order to reduce energy consumption in low-income households. For over 20 years, RPU has engaged with a low-income stakeholder group of regional partners who provide low-income assistance. This group provides input into program design and delivery.

In 2017, according to RPU, the program achieved 280 MWh in energy savings, even though no customers applied for RPU’s program in the calendar year. These savings are from customers who applied in the previous year and participated in the program in 2017. However, the program has been redesigned to include several additional efficiency measures and has changed the eligibility from 150% of the federal poverty level to 200% federal poverty level. SoCal Gas achieved 1.55 MMtherms energy savings while serving 93,790 low-income customers across its service territory.

Multifamily Programs

Riverside’s municipal utility offers the Multi-Family/Mobile Home Direct Installs Program. This comprehensive program offers energy efficiency upgrades to common areas and within individual units. Program offerings include: AC tune-ups, replacing incandescent with CFL bulbs, duct sealing and testing for mobile homes, smart stripping, HVAC efficient fan control switches, LED landscape lighting and parking lot lighting, and vending machine controllers. In 2017, the program installed 1,399 measures in 2017 and saved 275 MWh.

SoCal Gas offers a portfolio of multifamily efficiency programs. The Multifamily Direct Therm Savings Program and the On-Demand Efficiency Program to provide energy audits and installation of energy efficiency measures. The Multifamily Energy Efficiency Rebate Program offers rebates for the purchase and installation of energy efficiency measures in apartment dwelling units, common areas, condominium complexes, and mobile home parks. The Multifamily Whole Building Home Upgrade Program provides a comprehensive long-term building strategy with energy efficiency retrofit measures identified through an investment grade audit. The Central Water Heater Multifamily Building Solutions Program offers property owners a comprehensive engineering assessment and incentives for upgrading the central water heater system. In 2017, SoCal Gas saved 0.48 MMtherms and served 5,342 units through its multifamily programs.

Last Updated: March 2019

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

In order to assist large building managers with accessing aggregated energy data for building benchmarking, Southern California Gas provides automatic data entry into ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager as well as 36 months of historical data. Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) and Southern California Gas are both required to provide data to customers on building natural gas consumption. RPU provides information to customers, upon request, about how to access the SoCal Gas website to request data. RPU also supports these programs and actively participates in the regulatory process with the state for this program.

Last Updated: March 2019

Renewable Energy Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Renewable Energy Incentives

In 2017, RPU provided $261,422 in incentives for the installation of 907 kW of new distributed solar systems, equating to $288/kW installed. In 2017, RPU offered an incentive of $0.25 per watt for the construction of new distributed solar and installed 508 residential and commercial rooftop PV systems. RPU discontinued this program as of July 1, 2018.  At this time, RPU does not offer an incentive for the installation of solar PV. However, the RPU continues to offer support and information to customers who may wish to opt for a rooftop solar PV system.

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid

In 2017, RPU produced 36% of its total generation from renewable sources.

Last Updated: March 2019

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

City-wide water efficiency and goals

Riverside Public Utilities serves both electricity and water to its customers, and it administers both water and energy efficiency programs. The city offers rebates for water-efficient appliances, drought tolerant landscaping and free sprinkler nozzles for both residential and commercial customers. The RPU coordinates with regional agencies, both SoCal Gas and the Metropolitan Water District as well, to offer water conservation and energy efficiency measures. SoCal Gas partners with Riverside in the delivery of the Energy Savings Assistance Program that serves income-qualified residents of Riverside. In addition, the RPU partners with Metropolitan Water District and Western Municipal Water Districts to provide water conserving measures such as toilets, washing machines, and more.

Riverside has a goal to reduce its per-capita potable water usage by 20% by 2020, compared to a 2010 baseline. In 2008, the city approved the Riverside Recycle Water Project, which will use highly treated wastewater rather than high-quality potable water to serve the agricultural and irrigation needs throughout the city. The City has targets both in the GAP as well as from the state to reduce water consumption. Goal 16 in the GAP sets a target to reduce per-capita water consumption by 20%. Additionally, Goal 17 establishes a goal to increase the use of recycled water.

Water plant efficiency and self-generation

While the City of Riverside has not established a goal for energy efficiency across municipal water service operations, RPU has worked to replace or rehabilitate inefficient pumps and motors. The wastewater division of the Riverside Public Works Department self-generates electricity by capturing methane generated from the wastewater treatment plant’s anaerobic digesters. Methane is currently burned in internal combustion engines for power generation. Each engine drives a 1.1 MW generator. Waste heat is captured in an onsite heat loop which is used for process heat for the anaerobic digesters and for an onsite chiller which cools the administration and laboratory building. Bio-methane is currently being utilized at the City’s wastewater treatment facility to fuel a 1.4 MW fuel cell and two 9.9 MMBtu per hour boilers.

Last Updated: May 2019

Score: 7.5 out of 30 points
Transportation Summary List All

The transportation authority serving the City of Riverside is the Riverside Transit Agency. RTA also provides the public transportation for the city and the broader metropolitan area, including bus service. The Southern California Association of Governments is the MPO in charge of conducting metropolitan transportation planning. Its area of jurisdiction encompasses Riverside, and surrounding cities and counties. The Transportation and Land Management Agency is the city agency charged with managing the city’s transportation network.

Last updated: January 2017

Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable Transportation Plan

Riverside’s  Green Action Plan (GAP), seeks to decrease VMT through a variety of strategies. Additional strategies to reduce VMT can be found in the Riverside Restorative Growthprint, including a series of transportation-specific measures to encourage and provide means of active transportation.

VMT/GHG Targets and Stringency

Riverside has adopted a goal to decrease vehicle miles traveled 15% by 2015 from a 2009 baseline. This is equivalent to an annual reduction of 2.5%.

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

Riverside does not track progress towards their VMT goal.

Last Updated: March 2019

Location Efficiency List All

Location Efficient Zoning Codes

In 2017 the City initiated the Northside Specific Plan, which will contain a form-based code, and is intended to create a walkable community with a variety of mixed-uses. In addition to the City’s existing Downtown Specific Plan, which allows for mixed-use development, the City’s “High Quality Transit Corridor” along Magnolia Avenue supports a broad range of land uses in close proximity to each other, including mixed-use development projects.

Residential Parking Policies

The City still requires one or more parking spaces per residential unit. However, recent changes to the law allow for accessory dwelling units to be constructed behind single-family residences without parking in approximately 90% of the City, and garage conversions on a single-family residential property in these areas do not require the replacement of the lost garage spaces.

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosure

The city provides a density bonus with reduced parking standards for compact, higher density development that provides low-income housing.

Last Updated: March 2019

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Targets

Riverside does not have a mode shift target in place for the transportation sector.

Progress Achieved Toward Mode Shift Targets

Riverside does not track progress towards their mode shift target.

Complete Streets

Riverside does not currently have a complete streets policy.  

Car Sharing

Riverside does not have a parking policy in place for car sharing vehicles.

Bike Sharing

The city has 0 docked bike share bikes per 100,000 people.

Last Updated: May 2019

Transit List All

Transportation Funding

Riverside spends an average of $8.29 per capita on transit.

Access to Transit Services

The city has an All Transit Performance score of 5.3 out of 10.

Last Updated: March 2019

Efficient VehiclesList All

Vehicle Purchase Incentives

Citizens of Riverside are eligible for a rebate toward the purchase of a new qualified alternative fuel vehicle purchased from a City of Riverside automobile dealership. This rebate is worth up to $500 for a qualified EV or $250 for a qualified electric motorcycle or a neighborhood EV.

Vehicle Infrastructure Incentives

Riverside does not currently offer incentives for the installing of EV charging infrastructure.

EV Charging Locations

Riverside has 14.95 publicly available EV charging locations per 100,000 people.

Renewable Charging Incentives

Riverside does not have any incentives for renewable EV charging infrastructure installation.

Last Updated: March 2019

Freight System EfficiencyList All

Riverside has sustainable freight objectives and policies in the Circulation and Community Mobility Element of its General Plan 2025 including facilitating goods movement as a means of economic expansion, while protecting residents and visitors from the negative effects typically associated with truck operations and rail service.

Last Updated: March 2019

Clean, Efficient Transportation for Low-Income CommunitiesList All

Affordable New TOD Housing Policy

The City of Riverside’s Housing Element of the General Plan, as well as the General Plan itself, identifies numerous policies to preserve and promote the development of both affordable and market rate high-density and/or mixed-use housing near to transit corridors. A density bonus is provided to housing developments that provide affordable housing units and may include any of a number of code requirements waivers, including FAR bonuses, parking standard reductions, and more.

Connecting Existing Affordable Housing Stock to Efficient Transportation Options

At this time, Riverside does not provide any rebates or discounts to efficient transportation for low-income residents.

Low-Income Access to High Quality Transit

0% of low-income households (those that earn less than $50k annually) are located near high-quality, all-day transit in Riverside.     

Last Updated: March 2019