State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Riverside, CA

43.00Scored out of 100Updated 5/2017
Local Government Score:
3 out of 10 points
Local Government Summary List All

The 2016 Riverside Restorative Growthprint – Economic Prosperity Action Plan/Climate Action Plan (RRG-EPAP/CAP) – establishes municipal operations’ greenhouse gas reduction goals and city-wide energy efficiency goals. The government operations initiatives in the plan focus on reducing fuel usage and emissions from the city’s vehicle fleet.

Last updated: February 2017

Local Government Energy Efficiency Goals List All

In 2016, the Riverside Restorative Growthprint – Economic Prosperity Action Plan/Climate Action Plan (RRG-EPAP/CAP) was adopted by City Council (Resolution No. 22942). This plan includes local government operations greenhouse gas reduction goals of 15% by 2020 and 49% by 2035, from 2007 levels. Riverside has a community-wide energy efficiency-related goal which includes government buildings, but Riverside does not have a specific goal for its local government operations.


To meet this goal, Riverside would need to reduce emissions by 1.2% per year.


We did not find quantitative data indicating Riverside was on track to achieve its nearest-term local government greenhouse gas goal.


The City of Riverside reports annually to the California Energy Commission on its energy conservation goals through the California Municipal Utilities Association 1037 report, however, we were unable to find municipal energy data in this report. In addition, every five years Riverside reports greenhouse gas emissions to the Western Riverside Council of Governments, however, we were unable to find municipal GHG data in this report.

Last updated: April 2017

Procurement and Construction List All

Vehicle Fleets and Infrastructure

Riverside does not have formal fuel efficiency requirements for their vehicles or energy-efficient vehicle procurement policies in place. The city has a motorpool policy that requires employees to consider alternatives to driving before reserving a car vehicle. Riverside does not employ web-based, GPS technology for fleet management.

Note: For local fleet initiatives, policies listed must make a specific, mandatory requirement for increasing fleet efficiency. Local alternative-fuel vehicle procurement requirements that give a voluntary option to count efficient vehicles are thus not included.

Public Lighting

Riverside has not yet adopted a policy requiring efficient outdoor lighting, such as the International Dark-Sky Association’s Model Lighting Ordinance. The city has no efficiency focused lighting replacement program in place. Riverside has begun replacing the street signage from lighted signage to high reflectivity option, negating the need to use electricity at all. Lights are on timers to only run during the times in which they are needed.

New Buildings and Equipment

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. Energy efficiency isincluded in the city’s environmentally preferable purchasing policy.

Last updated: April 2017

Asset Management List All

Riverside does not benchmark public building energy use through ENERGY STAR or a similar tool. Although Riverside has no comprehensive retrofit strategy for its municipal buildings in place, the City’s General Services Department is currently working on a city-wide asset management plan for all facilities to identify and address building deficiencies and establish a comprehensive retrofit/replacement strategy.  

Public Employees

The city’s flex schedule policy recommends modified or flexible work schedules in order to increase organizational efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 8 out of 12 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

Riverside’s community initiatives related to energy efficiency occurs primarily through the Green Riverside program.

Last updated: April 2017

Community-Wide Energy Efficiency GoalsList All

The City of Riverside Public Utilities Department has adopted energy efficiency goals for residential, commercial, and industrial properties. In the 2012 Green Action Plan, Riverside Public Utilities formally adopted a goal to save 1% of community load annually based on a 2004 baseline and reduce the city’s peak electrical load demand by 10% overall. Riverside engaged with the Green Accountability Performance Committee to develop these goals.

The City adopted the Riverside Restorative Growthprint – Economic Prosperity Action Plan/Climate Action Plan (RRG-EPAP/CAP) by City Council Resolution 22942 on January 5, 2016. The RRG established citywide goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 26.4% for 2020 and 49% by 2035.

Riverside Public Utilities reports energy savings annually to the California Energy Commission (CEC) through its SB 1037 report. Riverside is on track to achieve its energy savings goal.

Last updated: April 2017

Efficient Distributed Energy Systems - District Energy and Combined Heat and PowerList All

We did not find information on any programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems.

Last updated: April 2017

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

Riverside has adopted an urban heat island mitigation goal in the city’s Green Action Plan to increase the city's urban forest by annually planting at least 1,000 trees in city parks and right-of-way’s and 3,000 trees on private property.

Riverside's municipal utility provides rebates for cool roof coatings on residential and commercial buildings. The city has not adopted a private tree protection ordinance or policies that require or incentivize conservation of private land.

Last updated: April 2017

Buildings Policies
Score: 11 out of 28 points
Buildings Summary List All

Riverside has some building sector initiatives to improve efficiency including incentives for efficient building. The Division of Code Enforcement within the Community & Economic Development Department manages the building energy code compliance and enforcement for the City of Riverside.

Last Updated: January 2017

Stringency of Energy CodesList 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 California Energy Code, BEES and California Green Building Codes have been updated in 2016 and are effective January 1, 2017. 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.


Although local authority is permitted, no stretch code has been adopted. Riverside adheres to the 2016 California codes.


Although local authority is permitted, no stretch code has been adopted. Riverside adheres to the 2016 California codes.

Last Updated: March 2017

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

Riverside does not have internal staff dedicated solely to energy code compliance. The city does not require building code officials to complete energy code training. Riverside has not made third-party plan review or performance testing mandatory for code compliance, nor has it established either as a voluntary code compliance option. Riverside does not provide upfront support to developers or owners for energy code compliance.

Last Updated: January 2017

Requirements and Incentives for Efficient Buildings List All

Green Building Requirements

Private commercial and residential buildings are not subject to green building requirements.

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

Riverside does not yet require commercial or residential buildings to take energy efficiency actions such as energy audits or retro-commissioning.  

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Building

Riverside provides rebates through its Green Riverside program. Rebates are available to residential and commercial building owners for energy efficient upgrades. PACE financing is available to both residential and commercial construction.

Last Updated: January 2017

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All


The State of California adopted Assembly Bill (AB) 802 in October of 2015. It will require commercial and multifamily buildings greater than 50,000 square feet and larger to benchmark energy usage annually. This will most likely begin in 2018. 

California requires commercial buildings to obtain and disclose ENERGY STAR ratings to transactional counter parties and the California Energy Commission at the time of a sale, lease or financing for the entire building through AB 1130.


SoCal MLS, the multiple listing service that serves the Riverside region, includes energy efficiency fields for features of homes listed on the market.

Last Updated: January 2017

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 11.5 out of 20 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

Riverside Public Utilities, 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 which provides wastewater treatment and stormwater management services to Riverside.

Last Updated: January 2017

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs, Spending & SavingsList All

In 2015, according to EIA, Riverside Public Utilities achieved 15,791 MWh in net incremental savings, representing 0.72% of retail sales. To achieve these savings, Riverside Public Utilities spent $3,277,000 on electric efficiency programs in 2015, which equates to 1.08% of annual revenue. In 2015, SoCal Gas reported savings of 18.75 MMtherms from natural gas efficiency programs, representing 0.69% of its retail sales. To achieve these savings, SoCal Gas spent $69,542,878 on natural gas efficiency programs, which is normalized to $12.55 per residential customer. Spending on electricity represented in this section cover all of Riverside. The spending 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: January 2017

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. This program is implemented statewide by investor-owned utilities under the direction of the California Public Utilities Commission, in partnership with the Community Action Partnership of Riverside County.

In 2015, according to Riverside Public Utilities, it achieved 93 MWh in energy savings from its low-income program, while spending $57,000 on its low-income efficiency portfolio. These programs served 160 low-income customers, with each household receiving an average of $356 and saving an average of 584 kWh. In 2015, according to SoCal Gas, it achieved 1.60 MMtherms in energy savings from its low-income programs, while spending $74.8 million on its low-income efficiency portfolio. These programs served 80,316 low-income customers, with each household receiving an average of $931 and saving an average of 20 therms.

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.

SoCal Gas offer the Energy Savings Assistance Program to eligible low-income residents in multi-family buildings. This comprehensive program provides no cost energy saving products such as attic insulation, door and window repairs, caulking, door weatherstripping, water heater blankets, as well as water and gas-saving showerheads and faucet aerators, to low-income residents of multi-family buildings. Additionally, SoCal Gas offers the Multifamily Direct Therm Savings Program, and the Multifamily Home Tune-Up Program. The Multifamily Direct Therm Savings Program provides energy efficient products and installation at no cost to hard-to-reach customers, and the Multifamily Home Tune Up installs low-flow showerheads, kitchen aerators and bathroom aerators at no cost to units heated with gas.

Last Updated: June 2017

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) has not yet committed to providing the Green Button data sharing platform to its customers. However, RPU offers customers an Energy Profile, which provides a comprehensive analysis of their home's energy use and identifies cost saving opportunities. In order to assist large building managers with accessing aggregated energy data for building benchmarking, Southern California Gas provides automatic data entry into Portfolio Manager as well as 36 months of historical data. Riverside Public Utilities has aggregate community energy usage data available for public planning and evaluation. To our knowledge, the City of Riverside does not advocate to the state for improvements in data provision by natural gas utilities.

Last Updated: January 2017

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Water Efficiency

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. 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.

Energy Efficiency and Self-Generation

At this time, the City of Riverside has not established a goal for energy efficiency across municipal water service operations. 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. 

Green Stormwater Infrastructure

To improve water quality, the city implements many measures, including stormwater pollution management and urban runoff management. The city’s efforts are guided, in part, by federal and state regulations including the Clean Water Act and the National Pollution Elimination System (NPDES) program. One way the city is working to improve water quality is by reducing the pollution and water flowing from the city’s storm drain system towards the Santa Ana River. 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 2010 Santa Ana River MS4 Permit (Permit) requires that a Water Quality Management Plan (WQMP) be prepared for all projects within the City which meet certain categories/thresholds and for which a final map or permit for discretionary approval is sought from the City. These requirements are also codified in the City’s Municipal Code.

The WQCP and Permit mandate a Low Impact Development (LID) approach to stormwater treatment and management of runoff from Priority Development Projects. LID comprises a set of technologically feasible and cost-effective approaches to stormwater management and land development. A LID approach is consistent with green infrastructure in that it includes, among others, technologies such as onsite infiltration, harvest and reuse, and permeable pavement.

Funding is available for various green/stormwater infrastructure projects. These funds are exclusively available for city projects necessary to comply with Municipal Separate Storm Sewer (MS4) Permit and the State Pathogen Total Maximum Daily Load adopted for the Middle Santa Ana River.

Last Updated: January 2017

Score: 9.5 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

Location Efficiency List All

Riverside's Downtown Specific Plan Raincross District allows for mixed-use development. In early 2014, Riverside prepared a smart code specific plan that will encompass 80% of the commercial, industrial, and office zoned area. The city allows one or more parking spaces per residential unit. However, the zoning administrator may grant a mixed use parking credit for up to 15% of the spaces. As an incentive to promote location-efficient real estate development, the city’s Infill Incentive Program provides fee adjustments, density bonuses, and cost avoidance incentives for developers using the designated infill sites.

Last updated: January 2017

Mode Shift List All

Modal Share Targets

Riverside has not yet developed targets to promote a modal shift in transportation.

Car and Bicycle Sharing

There is not yet a carsharing service available to the citizens of Riverside. A bikesharing service may be in the planning stages. 

Complete Streets

Riverside has not yet written or codified a Complete Streets Policy.

Last updated: January 2017

Transit List All

The Riverside Special Transportation, Riverside Transit Agency, and Riverside County Transportation Commission transit systems received $71,323,347 in average annual funding from 2011-2015. This funding level is $15.89 per resident in the service territory of the agency, putting the city in the lowest category ($0-24) available in transit funding. 

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. Riverside’s Transit Connectivity Index value is 8, putting it in the fourth highest category (5-14) available in transit connectivity. 

Last updated: January 2017

Efficient VehiclesList All

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. There are no incentives available for the construction of EV charging infrastructure. The city has 35 EV charging stations available for public use

Last updated: January 2017

Freight List All

Sustainable freight plan

Riverside has sustainable freight objectives and policies in the Circulation and Community Mobility Element of its General Plan 2025 including Objective CCM-12: Facilitate 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.

Smart freight

Riverside does not employ an internet-based application or service to coordinate freight transport.

Last updated: January 2017

Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable transportation is a part of Riverside’s Green Action Plan. The plan contains specific targets to decrease VMT by 15% by 2015 based on a 2009 baseline. Strategies include encouraging the use of bicycles by increasing the number of bike trails, promoting alternative modes of transportation and expanding public transit.

Last updated: January 2017

Low-Income in Transit-Oriented Development Areas List All

Riverside does not have any requirements or incentives in place to encourage the development or preservation of affordable housing in transit-served areas.

Last updated: January 2017