State and Local Policy Database

San Diego

City Scorecard Rank


San Diego, CA

107.00Scored out of 250Updated 05/2024
Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 14.5 out of 45 points
Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Climate Mitigation Goal

The City of San Diego's 2022 Climate Action Plan establishes the goal of net-zero GHG emissions by 2035, with an interim goal of 61% reduction from 2019 per capita emissions by 2030. Based on ACEEE’s analysis of past years emissions data, ACEEE projects that the city will achieve its 2030 community-wide GHG emissions reduction goal. 

Greenhouse gas inventories are included in the annual reports.

Energy Efficiency Goal

The 2022 Climate Action Plan has a goal to reduce 90% of natural gas usage from all existing commercial & residential buildings by 2035, with the interim goal of 45% reduction by 2030 using a 2019 baseline.

Renewable Energy Goal

The 2022 Climate Action Plan has a goal to generate 100% of its community-wide energy from renewable sources by 2030.

Last updated: August 2023

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

San Diego developed the Climate Equity Index to track the level of resident access to opportunities and the potential impact of climate change in census tracts. 

Last updated: August 2023

Clean Distributed Energy ResourcesList All

San Diego agreed to host eight solar-plus-storage microgrids on city facilities. 

Last updated: August 2023

Adaptive Mitigation List All

Heat Island Mitigation Policies and Programs

We were unable to determine if the city has adopted specific policies or programs that incorporate requirements or incentives to mitigate the urban heat island effect. 

Resilience Hubs

We were unable to determine if the city has supported the creation of resilience hubs that incorporate clean energy resources and are sited in disadvantaged communities.

Last updated: August 2023

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Workforce DevelopmentList All

Workforce development for disadvantaged workers

We could not determine if city has partnered with a local education institution, labor union, or community-based organization to create, support, and/or incentivize the development of clean energy workforce development initiatives that target training and support services for potential or existing workers from disadvantaged communities to obtain and keep in-demand jobs.

Workforce development for the broader community

We could not determine if city has partnered with a local education institution, labor union, or community-based organization to create, support, and/or incentivize the development of clean energy workforce development initiatives that target training and support services for potential or existing workers from the broader community to obtain and keep in-demand jobs.

Outcomes tracking

We could not determine if the city has instituted a mechanism to measure the performance and/or success of equitable workforce development initiatives focused on the clean energy sector.

Last updated: August 2023

Buildings Policies
Score: 23 out of 70 points
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 2022 codes exceed the 2021 IECC standards and ASHRAE/IESNA 90.1-2018. To learn more about California’s building energy codes, please visit the State Policy Database.


Commercial properties comply with the 2022 California Building Standards Code. The city’s zEPI score for their commercial energy code is 41.


Residential properties comply with the 2022 California Building Standards Code. The city’s zEPI score for their residential energy code is 26.

Solar-readiness policies 

San Diego adheres to the solar-ready requirements already included in the California Building Standards Code. The city is currently developing a reach code that will potentially include requirements that go beyond the state's solar-ready requirements. 

EV-charging readiness policies

San Diego adheres to the EV-ready requirements already included in the California Building Standards Code. The city is currently developing a reach code that will potentially include requirements that go beyond the state's EV-ready requirements. 

Low-energy use requirements

San Diego requires new municipal buildings and all new buildings and major renovations over 5,000 square feet to achieve LEED Silver certification and be constructed to 15% more energy efficient than the State of California's building code.

Electrification policies

California's 2022 Building Standards Code includes electric-ready requirements for residential buildings. Moreover, the city is currently developing an energy each code that would require all new residential and commercial development to be all-electric, prohibiting the use of natural gas in new buildings. 

Last Updated: September 2023

Building Energy Code Compliance and EnforcementList All

We were unable to determine the amount of staff effort dedicated to energy code enforcement. State code CalGreen 5.410.1 requires commissioning of all new nonresidential buildings greater than 10,000 square feet, and the third-party commissioning includes functional performance testing, plan review, field inspection. City staff are responsible for plan review. The city provides upfront support in the form of the preliminary review service.

Last Updated: September 2023

Policies Targeting Existing BuildingsList All

Commercial and multifamily benchmarking

San Diego's Building Energy Benchmarking Ordinance requires commercial and multifamily buildings greater than 50,000 square feet and greater to benchmark energy usage annually. 

Incentives and financing programs

Through Resolution R-298001, the city offers expedited permitting to residential and commercial projects that meet green building standards outlined in Policy Number 900-14.

Commercial and residential property owners may access property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing for both energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy installations.

Last Updated: September 2023

Score: 29.5 out of 70 points
Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable Transportation Plan

San Diego's Climate Action Plan was adopted in 2022 and includes sustainable transportation strategies. It also includes strategies specifically benefitting disadvantaged communities. 

VMT/GHG Targets and Stringency

The 2015 version of the city's Climate Action Plan contains a goal to reduce GHG emissions from transportation by 264,120 metrics tons from a 2010 baseline by 2030. The city’s target requires a 0.16% average per-capita annual decrease from its target baseline. Therefore, San Diego did not earn points for the stringency of its target.

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

Based on the data provided, San Diego is projected to reduce its per capita transportation GHG emissions by 2.44% per year. Therefore, the city is on track to meet its target of a reduction in transportation GHG emissions by 264,120 metric tons by 2030.

Last Updated: September 2023

Location Efficiency List All

Location Efficient Zoning Codes

California's SB 9 became law in 2021 and went into effect in 2022. This allows lots in single-family zones throughout the state to be split into two lots, and allows up to two units to be built on each lot, effectively increasing the number of units permitted per lot from one to four in single-family zones. SB 9 applies to residential zones in all California cities, including San Francisco. 

Parking Requirement

San Diego has eliminated residential parking minimums in Sustainable Development Areas.

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosure

San Diego offers expedited permitting for mixed-use developments.

Affordable Housing around Transit

The city incentivizes affordable housing near transit by offering unlimited density and an additional 33 feet in maximum height to 100% affordable developments in Transit Priority Areas.

Last Updated: September 2023

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Targets

According to the 2022 update to the city's Climate Action Plan, the City has a goal of 25% of all trips being made by walking, 10% by bike, and 15% by transit by 2035.

Progress Achieved Toward Mode Shift Targets

The City of San Diego did not provide data collected on mode share since the adoption of its new mode shift goal; therefore, we cannot assess progress toward the goal.

Subsidized Access to Efficient Transportation Options

Several shared micromobility operators in the City of San Diego, including Lime and Bird, offer discounted rates or plans for qualifying individuals. Those participating in assistance programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, or the local transit agency's reduced fare program are eligible for Lime Access. Low-income individuals, veterans, students, teachers, and senior citizens can receive discounts through Bird's Community Pricing program.

Last Updated: September 2023

Public Transit List All

Transit Funding

The transit entities that serve the City of San Diego have received $164,086,520.60 on average annually between 2017 and 2021 from local sources. That equates to roughly $66.63 per capita between 2017 and 2021 within the service area. 

Access to Transit Services

The AllTransit Performance Score measures a given community's transit access and performance. The score considers connections to other routes, access to jobs, service frequency, and the percent of commuters who ride transit to work. The City of San Diego's AllTransit Performance Score is 6, scoring 1 point in the City Scorecard.

Last Updated: September 2023

Efficient VehiclesList All

Efficient Vehicle Purchase Incentives

Neither the City of San Diego nor the local utility provide incentives for purchasing efficient vehicles.

Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Incentives

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDGE) offers rebates on electric vehicle chargers for a variety of property types, including workplaces, commercial fleets, apartments, condos, schools, beaches, and parks. Additionally, SDGE will install, pay for, and maintain electric vehicle chargers at properties in underserved communities.

Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Requirements

The California Green Building Code requires multifamily properties with 20 or more units and hotels with 20 or more guest rooms to install level 2 EV chargers in five percent of the total parking spaces.

EV Charging Ports

The City of San Diego has 106.3 vehicle charging ports per 100,000 people available for public use.

Electric School Bus Goal

Neither the City of San Diego nor the local school district have set an electric school bus goal.

Electric Transit Bus Goal

San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) set a goal of transitioning 100% of its bus fleet to zero emissions by 2040. MTS plans to prioritize routes serving communities with high air pollution burden and other vulnerable population characteristics, as identified by the CalEnviroScreen tool, it transitions to zero-emission buses.

Last Updated: September 2023

Freight System EfficiencyList All

Sustainable Freight Plans

The City of San Diego does not have a sustainable freight plan or freight mobility plan in place, nor is it pursuing any freight efficiency strategies.

Open Data Portals

The City of San Diego does not have an open data portal with real-time freight data.

Last Updated: September 2023

Community Energy Infrastructure
Score: 31 out of 40 points
Community Energy Infrastructure Summary List All


San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), an investor-owned utility (IOU), is the primary gas and electric utility for the City of San Diego. To learn more about the state requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the California page of the State Database.

In November 2018, the City conducted a community choice aggregation (CCA) feasibility study. In September 2019, the City Council approved a joint-powers authority (JPA), along with Chula Vista, La Mesa, Encinitas, and Imperial Beach to create the San Diego Regional Community Choice Energy Authority.  In 2021, commercial customers in the City were enrolled. In 2022, City residential customers were enrolled.

The water branch of the Department of Utilities provides drinking water services to the City of San Diego, and the wastewater branch treats the wastewater. The Storm Water Division of the Transportation and Stormwater Department manages the city’s stormwater.

Last Updated: August 2023

Electricity and Natural Gas Efficiency SavingsList All

In 2021, San Diego Gas & Electric reported 596,387 MWh of net electric savings at the meter.

In 2021, SDG&E reported 6.04 MMtherms of net natural gas savings at the meter.

SDG&E offers natural gas and electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential and commercial/industrial customers.

The Local Government Partnership is a formal partnership formed between the City and SDG&E to jointly strategize, plan, and administer energy efficiency and other demand side management initiatives in the City. Energy efficiency projects target electricity, natural gas, and water savings. The City of San Diego partners with SDG&E in promoting many electric and gas efficiency programs available to all sectors of residences and businesses in the city.

Last Updated: August 2023

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.

In 2021, according to SDG&E, it achieved 1,673 MWh and 0.04 MMtherms in energy savings, while spending $15,836,309 and $8,075,142 on its electric and natural gas low-income programs, respectively. SDG&E served 13,658 customers across its low-income electric and natural gas programs in 2021.

Multifamily Programs

SDG&E offers a few multifamily programs: Multifamily Energy Efficiency Rebates (MFEER), the Comprehensive Mobile Home Program (CMHP), and the Residential Zero Net Energy Transformation (RZNET). 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.

The Residential Zero Net Energy Transformation (RZNET) program is a new innovative way of serving

multifamily and manufactured homes. RZNET program design is a turnkey cost-effective zero net energy end-to-end solution that transforms multifamily and manufactured home community owners, operators, and residents into knowledgeable stewards of water, electricity, and natural gas. RZNET program participants are put on the path to zero net energy, beginning with direct install measures, a complimentary ASHRAE Level 1 audits, sales consultations acting as catalysts for advanced energy efficiency, solar PV installations, and battery storage opportunities for multifamily and manufactured housing properties. The program liaison coordinates with SDG&E’s Multi-Family Single Point of Contact (MFSPOC) for those properties that are looking for opportunities beyond the program’s scope.


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.

Beginning July 1, 2023, SDG&E will launch the Southern Multifamily Whole Building Program (MFWB). The program will offer comprehensive whole building services to both deed and non-deed restricted multifamily properties. Program offerings include air sealing of the building envelop, energy efficient lighting, hot water energy efficient measures, and HVAC equipment and systems, appliances.

In 2021, according to SDG&E, it achieved 829 MWh and 25 MMtherms in multifamily program energy savings, while spending $5,029,275on its electric multifamily programs and $558,808 on its natural gas multifamily programs. SDG&E’s multifamily programs served 8890 multifamily units in 239 properties..

Last Updated: August 2023

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Provision of Energy Data by Utilities

SDG&E provides automated benchmarking services. The utility uses the Green Button data sharing platform where customers can access 17 historical months of data upon registration. SDG&E sends 36 months of historical usage data to Portfolio Manager and monthly updates on an ongoing automated basis. SDG&E also provides community energy usage data on a per-request basis. SDG&E has completed their benchmarking request web portal for building-owners to comply with AB802.

The city of San Diego provides community wide energy usage information for planning and evaluation purposes through their Climate Action Plan monitoring process. The 2020 Climate Action Plan annual update indicates the comprehensive energy consumption data per sector.

The City has advocated for increased transparency and better access to utility data within the Energy Cooperation Agreement with SDG&E. SDG&E is required to share data to support the City’s wildfire safety efforts, EV expansion, and decarbonization. The City has also advocated for interconnection data to support operational enhancements related to rapid affordable housing development.

Last Updated: August 2023

Decarbonization and Climate Change Mitigation Efforts of Cities and 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 of San Diego initiated the establishment of San Diego Community Power (SDCP), a Community Choice Aggregator that will serve the City of San Diego customers, as well as customers in the cities of Chula Vista, Encinitas, Imperial Beach, and La Mesa. As of summer 2021, SDCP will serve both commercial and residential customers. Additionally, the City is currently negotiating the 50-year electric and gas franchise agreement with SDG&E and intends to leverage the negotiation to increase deployment of renewable and distributed energy generation by the utility.

The city of San Diego is engaged in various regulatory proceedings at the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) and advocates on behalf of the City and/or the community to encourage more renewable generation adoption. The City provided comments in response to the CPUC proceeding addressing microgrids and microgrid tariffs, and the City advocated in the Net Energy Metering proceeding for grandfathering of older net metering rates that the City used to calculate its cost-benefit analysis. The City also participated the regulatory process involving exit fees, which are fees charged to customers who buy electricity from government-run community choice programs rather than traditional utilities.

The City of San Diego is also working with SDG&E for renewable energy interconnection. SDG&E has agreed to put excess generation on the grid and receive credit through RES-BCT tariff. To meet the City’s 2015 Climate Action Plan’s goal of 100% renewable by 2035, City has implemented several privatized solar installations interconnected with utility grid where the City buys solar energy at a fixed bundled price which includes the Renewable Energy Certificates.

Clean Distributed Energy Resources 

San Diego agreed to host eight solar-plus-storage microgrids on city facilities. 

Municipal Renewable Energy Procurement 

San Diego has installed 6 MW of solar capacity on city facilities. 

City Renewable Energy Incentive and Financing Programs 

Through Resolution R-298001, the city offers expedited permitting to residential and commercial projects that meet green building standards outlined in Policy Number 900-14

Commercial and residential property owners may access property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing for both energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy installations. 

Last Updated: September 2023

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Citywide Water Efficiency and Goals

The City of San Diego’s Department of Water Utilities offers water use calculators for household and landscape use. There are also rebate programs available for micro irrigation, turf removal, and rain barrels. The City of San Diego is also a member of the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA), which has been partnering with SDG&E for more than twenty years on administering water efficiency programs, such as low-flow showerheads, small business water efficiency equipment, leak loss detection, and education and outreach.

The City of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan has several water savings targets and long-term strategies to reach those targets. One target is to reduce daily per capita water consumption by 4 gallons by 2020 and 9 gallons by 2035 below 2010 levels. The core strategy is to implement an Outdoor Landscaping Ordinance that requires use of weather-based irrigation controllers. Supporting strategies to meet these targets are to record the annual volume percentage of recycled water used and planned to be introduced through 2035 and pursue additional financial resources and incentives for implementing energy and water efficiency measures identified by the conservation and ordinances, and to promote the expansion of greywater systems.

The City is also launching Pure Water San Diego, a phased, multi-year program that will provide one-third of San Diego's water supply locally by 2035. The Pure Water Program will use proven water purification technology to clean recycled water to produce safe, high-quality drinking water. The program offers a cost-effective investment for San Diego's water needs and will provide a reliable, sustainable water supply.

Water Plant Efficiency and Self-Generation

The City of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan encompasses both local water and wastewater utilities’ operations and include targets to reduce energy consumption at municipal facilities by 15% by 2020 and an additional 25% by 2035 below 2010 levels. Strategies to reach these targets include implementing a Smart Energy Management & Monitoring System for facilities to monitor and track energy consumption and using those results to identify opportunities for great efficiency and demand response along with pursuing LEED for Existing Buildings: Operation and Maintenance Certification for municipal facilities.

Since 2000, the Public Utilities Department has maintained a California Energy Commission-trained Energy Audit Team. Nearly all of the Department's major facilities have energy audit reports. The Department has invested an average of $400,000 per year in energy efficiency projects which have upgraded almost all of its emergency generators, department-owned administration buildings, as well as many of its largest pump stations and wastewater treatment plants. Projects have included lighting re-lamping and control, air conditioning system improvements, and process improvements.

The City of San Diego Public Utilities Department’s Wastewater Branch has multiple self-generating facilities and projects. The City also aims to capture 98% of wastewater treatment gases by 2035. At the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant (PLWWTP), methane gas is captured to fuel two generators for a total capacity of 4.57 MW. The system also produces heat which is used to heat the plant’s digesters. The excess captured digester gas is sold to a private company that cleans the gas to utility standards, injects it into the utility company’s natural gas pipeline, and is used for resale by the privatizer. Methane capture is also utilized at the Metro Biosolids Center (MBC) and at MBC's privatized total cogeneration capacity of 9.6 MW. At the Metro Operation Complex, Department has two solar systems for a total capacity of 0.430MW. The Department’s Water Branch has multiple solar generation facilities. The Alvarado Water Treatment Plant has a 0.95MW privatized solar system. The Otay Water Treatment Plant has a 0.80MW privatized solar system, and the Bayview Reservoir has a City-owned 0.160MW solar system. A 1MW Solar System was recently installed on Clearwell #2 at the Miramar Water Treatment Plant.

Last Updated: August 2023

Local Government Score:
9 out of 25 points
Local Government Climate and Energy Goals List All

Climate Change Mitigation Goal

The city of San Diego set a goal to reduce local government GHG emissions 40% by 2030, using a 2010 baseline. 

Energy Reduction Goal

The city of San Diego set a goal to reduce local government building energy use 25% by 2035, using a 2010 baseline. 

Renewable Energy Goal

The city of San Diego set a goal to use 100% renewable energy to power city operations by 2035. 

Last updated: November 2023

Procurement and Construction Policies List All

Fleet Policies and Composition

Current policy (Administrative Regulation 90.73) calls for all new vehicles to be 50% better than CAFE standards by 2020 and for a 5% reduction in vehicle miles traveled compared to the previous year. The policy also calls for operating all vehicles in a manner that ensures maximum fuel conservation including keeping tires inflated to the recommended pressure, using air conditioning selectively, and minimizing public vehicle idling. Additionally, this policy commits the city to investigate the benefit, availability and use of lower carbon fuels, low emission & zero emission vehicles, including but not limited to Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicles, Partial Zero Emission Vehicles, and Zero Emission Vehicles such as electric vehicles. The City will implement a Fleet Electrification Plan to establish requirements for the purchase of Zero-Emissions Vehicles. San Diego’s Climate Action Plan includes goals to convert 100% of light-duty vehicles and 75% of mid-duty vehicles and heavy-duty vehicles to zero-emission vehicles by 2035. San Diego’s municipal fleet is composed of 12% efficient vehicles, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric vehicles.  

Public Lighting

San Diego’s Ordinance 20186 requires efficient outdoor lighting. Approximately 38,000 inefficient fixtures were retrofitted to LEDs in 2012-2013. Phase 1 of the Outdoor Lighting Upgrade and Smart Sensor Installation Project took place from Fall 2018 to Summer 2019 and included 4,792 light fixture retrofits to LED. As such, 63% of the City’s outdoor lighting has been upgraded to LEDs. Phase 2 of the Outdoor Lighting Upgrade and Smart Sensor Installation Project is planned to include another 3,800 outdoor fixture upgrades, bringing the total to 69%.

Inclusive procurement 

We were unable to find information regarding inclusive procurement and contracting processes in San Diego. San Diego published a disparity study from 2020.  

Last updated: October 2023

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking 

In the City of San Diego, energy use is monitored and benchmarked using a Smart Energy Management and Monitoring System, the City is in the process of compiling municipal assets into Portfolio Manager. Currently, 747 properties have been entered into Portfolio Manager and are actively being updated. The DOE’s Better Buildings Challenge requires the City to benchmark and report 80% of its building portfolio’s total square footage on an annual basis. In addition, the City is working on the Smart City Open Urban Platform (SCOUP). SCOUP will automatically track, benchmark, and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy use across the City's Municipal facilities.

Comprehensive Retrofit Strategy

The Climate Action Plan directed the City to create a Municipal Energy Strategy, which they completed in 2020. The strategy included a comprehensive retrofit strategy for public buildings along with opportunities to integrate renewable energy installations and other clean technologies. The City is drafting the Municipal Energy Strategy Implementation Plan in 2021.

Last updated: May 2021