State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Riverside, CA

33.00Scored out of 100Updated 10/2020
Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 3 out of 15 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: September 2021

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 was unable to project if the city will achieve its near-term community-wide GHG emissions reduction goal because insufficient GHG emissions data were available for our analysis.

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 in the use of non-greenhouse gas emitting energy resources to 50% of total use by 2020, with renewable energy sources accounting for 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.

This section applies only to community-wide energy data reporting. For information on data reporting due to building energy benchmarking and disclosure policies, click on the Buildings tab.

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

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: 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

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.

UHI Policies and Programs

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: September 2021

Buildings Policies
Score: 11 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: July 2021

Building 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 2019 codes exceed the 2018 IECC standards and ASHRAE/IESNA 90.1-2016. To learn more about California’s building energy codes, please visit the State Policy Database.


Commercial properties comply with the 2019 version of the California Building Standards Code, Title 24 part 1 and 2, the 2019 California Building Code. Based on the 2018 (IBC) International Building Code. The city’s zEPI score for their commercial energy code is 51.7.


Residential development must  comply with the 2019 version of the California Building Standards Code, Title 24 Part 2.5, the 2019 California Residential Code, or Parts 1 and 2, the 2019 California Building Code. The city’s zEPI score for their residential energy code is 59.6.

Solar-readiness policies

Riverside adheres to the solar-ready requirements already included in the 2019 California Building Standards Code.

EV-charging readiness and infrastructure policies

Riverside adheres to the EV-ready requirements already included in the 2019 version of the California Building Standards Code.

Last Update: July 2021

Building Energy Code Compliance and EnforcementList 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. Building & Safety Division staff receive annual code training which includes energy code compliance to ensure plan review and inspections validate energy code compliance as required by the adopted standards.

Last Updated: July 2021

Policies Targeting Existing BuildingsList All

Commercial and multifamily benchmarking

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. 


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.

Last Updates: July 2021

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: July 2021

Score: 7 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. The City has recently adopted environmental thresholds requiring that new development seeks to reduce citywide VMT. Additionally, the City estimates adopting an Active Transportation Master plan in June of 2020 - this plan will be used to develop a VMT Mitigation Bank for incoming development to pay towards the completion of new VMT-reducing active transportation projects.

VMT/GHG Targets and Stringency

Riverside has adopted a goal to decrease vehicle miles traveled 15% by 2015 from a 2009 baseline. 

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

Riverside does not track progress towards their VMT goal.

Last Updated: December 2021

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. The City has several mixed-use zoning designations, including: Mixed Use Urban, Mixed Use Village, and Mixed Use Neighborhood in order to encourage a diversity of mixed-use development types throughout the City.

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. The City has removed minimum parking requirements from Historic Landmarks in the City.

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: December 2021

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.  

Last Updated: December 2021

Public Transit List All

Transportation Funding

The transportation entities that serve the City of Riverside have received $61,307,077.40 on average annually between 2015 and 2019. That equates to roughly $30.37 per capita between 2015 and 2019 within the Authority's service area. 

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 Riverside Transit Connectivity Index value is 5.2, scoring 0.5 points in the City Scorecard.

Last Updated: December 2021

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

The RPU is currently developing an incentive program, but does offer EV charging rates for residents

EV Charging Locations

The City has 203 charging ports available for public use, equivalent to 61.3 ports per 100,000 people.

Electric School Bus Goal

Charleston does not have an electric school bus goal.

EV Transit Bus Goal

Charleston does not have an EV transit bus goal.

Last Updated: December 2021

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. The City has recently adopted Good Neighbor guidelines intended to reduce the impact and improve efficiency of goods movement on a local scale. Furthermore, the City has adopted weight and axle restrictions on many roadways intended to limit freight movement to industrial corridors.

Last Updated: December 2021

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

Riverside provides an Alternative Fuel Vehicle Rebate Program, RTA provides discounted bus passes to City residents.

Last Updated: December 2021

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 9.5 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 (SoCalGas), 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.  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

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: July 2021  

Electricity and Natural Gas Efficiency SavingsList All

In 2019, according to EIA, RPU achieved 14,295 MWh in electric net incremental savings, representing 0.68% of retail sales. In 2019, RPU spent $5,469,967 on electric energy efficiency programs, which represents 1.81% of its retail revenue. 

In 2019, SoCalGas reported 55.34 MMtherms of net natural gas savings at the meter, which represents 1.89% of its retail sales across the utility’s service territory. In 2019, SoCalGas spent $91,665,804 on natural gas energy efficiency, which equates to $16.35 per residential gas customer. The savings reported on natural gas represented in this section covers the entire SoCalGas service territory, not just Riverside. 

Riverside Public Utilities offers electric efficiency rebates and technical assistance to residential and commercial/industrial customers. SoCalGas similarly offers natural gas efficiency programs to residential and business customers. 

SoCalGas has had a Master Partnership with Riverside since 2014 to jointly deliver energy and water efficiency programs, and the joint programs have served customers with diverse backgrounds, including major energy/water users, food service kitchens, and income-qualified residents in Riverside. SoCalGas 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. SoCalGas operated 26 partnerships with cities or group of cities in 2015. The City has an agreement with SoCalGas to provide energy efficiency retrofits to low-income households within the City of Riverside. This program is administered with the RPU in association with all of RPU's low-income assistance programs. 

Last Updated: July 2021

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs 

Both Riverside Public Utilities and SoCalGas 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. Spending value, energy savings, and number of customers served by Riverside Public Utilities’ 2018 low-income program were not available. The ESAP program was put on hold March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and operations resumed when the state of emergency was lifted.  

In 2019, according to RPU they served 3,748 low-income customers. Data on spending and savings was not available. In 2019, according to SoCal Gas, it achieved 0.91 MMtherms energy savings, while spending $111,539,060, and served 122037 low-income customers across its service territory.  

Multifamily Programs 

RPU 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. This program was suspended due to Covid-19.  

Spending value, energy savings and number of customers served by RPU’s 2019 multifamily programs were not available. 

SoCalGas 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 2019, according to SoCalGas, it saved 0.91 MMtherms, while spending $27,907,848 on its multifamily programs and served 45,201 housing units in 1,815 multifamily properties through its multifamily programs. 

Last Updated: July 2021  

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Riverside Public Utilities provides electricity data to customers upon request. SoCalGas provides energy use to ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager through its online AB802 platform for both commercial and multifamily buildings.  

RPU provides community-wide energy usage data for community planning through its integrated resource planning documents. SoCalGas provides natural gas data to the city upon request.  

The City of Riverside, through Riverside Public Utilities, supports state programs and actively participates in program development at the California Energy Commission. 

Last Updated: July 2021  

Decarbonization and Climate Change Mitigation Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Utility Climate Mitigation Goal  

In 2018, RPU set a goal to reduce carbon emissions by 486,277 MMT CO2 by 2030 from 1990 baseline levels. To achieve this goal, RPU will need to reduce emissions by 3% annually from 2017 levels. 

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid 

In 2017, the most recent year with data available, RPU  emitted 9.75 metric tons of CO2 per capita. 

Last Updated: July 2021

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Citywide 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 had a goal to reduce its per-capita potable water usage by 20% by 2020 but has not adopted a new water conservation target. 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 during upgrades. 

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: July 2021

Local Government Score:
2.5 out of 10 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. ACEEE was unable to project if the city will achieve its near-term GHG emissions reduction goal for municipal operations because insufficient GHG emissions data were available for our analysis. The City's strategic plan sets a goal of carbon neutrality by 2040.

Energy Reduction Goal

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

Renewable Energy Goal

The city has a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2040 through its strategic plan.

Last updated: June 2021

Procurement and Construction Policies 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 of Riverside fleet is also subject to state regulations, which shape the purchasing model to include alternative fuels such as CNG, EV, and LPG. Riverside’s fleet is composed of 17% 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 2023.

Onsite and offsite renewable systems 

Riverside has installed 8 MW onsite renewable energy capacity on municipal facilities.

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 

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 square feet or larger but does not complete the full energy benchmarking at this time. 

Comprehensive Retrofit Strategy 

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.

Last updated: June 2021