State and Local Policy Database

San José

City Scorecard Rank


San José, CA

63.50Scored out of 100Updated 10/2020
Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 10 out of 15 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

The City of San José formally adopted the Climate Smart San José plan in 2018.

Last updated: September 2021

Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Climate Mitigation Goal

The Climate Smart San José plan established greenhouse gas emission reduction goals of 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, with interim reduction goals of 4% by 2021, 28% by 2025, 36% by 2030, and 70% by 2040. Based on ACEEE’s analysis of past years emissions data, ACEEE projects that the city will meet its near-term community-wide GHG emissions reduction goal. 

San José’s most recent greenhouse gas inventory accounts for 2017 emissions. The previous inventory includes results from 2014 and updated results from the 2008 inventory. 

Energy Reduction Goal

Climate Smart San José established an additional goal to reduce household energy consumption from 14,988 kWh in 2017 to 5,704 kWh by 2050, with interim reduction goals of 10,626 kWh by 2030 and 6,547 kWh by 2040.

Previously, the San José Green Vision plan established a goal to reduce per capita energy use 50% by 2022.

Renewable Energy Goal

San José has a goal to install 1,430 megawatts of renewable energy generation capacity by 2050, passing the 1 GW mark in 2038, as stated in the Climate Smart San José plan. The plan also includes an interim goal of having 668 MW of renewable energy generation capacity by 2030.

San José Clean Energy, a community choice aggregator that serves over 98% of San José customers, has a goal of achieving 100% carbon-neutral electricity by 2021 and 100% renewable electricity by 2050. Currently, SJCE's default service includes 80% carbon free electricity (45% renewable). 

Last updated: September 2021

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

Equity-Driven Community Engagement

While developing the Climate Smart San José plan, the city conducted 38 community meetings and events in Spanish-speaking and Vietnamese-speaking neighborhoods. Environmental Services partnered with the nonprofit organization, Mothers Out Front, to hold a Spanish-language outreach event to publicize Climate Smart to Spanish-speaking residents of San José.

While not providing an opportunity to directly engage and receive feedback with marginalized communities, the city also pursued several outreach strategies targeting such communities. Examples include trilingual surveys and advertisements, energy-efficiency and recycling trainings held in Spanish, and LED light bulb distributions in underserved communities.

Equity-Driven Decision-Making

The city's Co-Creation Consultant initiative gives two community-based organizations serving marginalized residents a formal decision-making role in the development of residential energy efficiency initiatives. 

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. The city is in the process of developing goals and metrics for future programs.

Several sections of the Climate Smart San José plan include “Access to Low Income Communities” as a focus area with several qualitative goals. However, we could not determine if these were time-limited or included specific methods for tracking progress. 

Last updated: September 2021

Clean Distributed Energy ResourcesList All

San Jose's Downtown West Mixed-Use Project will integrate renewable energy and energy storage into both district energy and microgrid systems. San Jose Clean Energy supports the creation of community solar in the city.

Last updated: September 2021

Mitigation of Heat Islands List All

UHI Mitigation Goal

The city’s Green Vision plan includes a goal to plant 100,000 new trees by 2022.

UHI Policies and Programs

San José passed two policies pertaining to low-impact development requirements. Policy 6-29 requires new and redevelopment projects that create or replace 5,000 square feet or more of impervious surfaces must incorporate low impact development techniques. Policy 8-14 requires that projects that are both greater than one acre in size and in proximity to creeks ensure post-development flow rates are equal or less than pre-development flow rates.

San José's Green Stormwater Infrastructure Plan provides guidance for implementing green stormwater infrastructure such as permeable pavements in municipal projects. 

The city has also adopted requirements for the protection of private trees.

Last updated: September 2021

Buildings Policies
Score: 19.5 out of 30 points
Buildings Summary List All

The City of San Jose adheres to California’s energy code. The city adopted a benchmarking ordinance covering buildings larger than 20,000 square feet. The city offers several incentives and financing programs for energy efficiency and solar projects. San Jose requires building owners perform to perform energy-saving actions.

Last Updated: June 2021

Building Energy CodesList All


The State of California allows its local jurisdictions to adopt building energy codes that are 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

On September 17, 2019, San José adopted a Reach Code that will apply to new multi-family, hotel, and commercial building construction starting January 1, 2020, using the EDR compliance pathway (see explanation below under Residential). Under San José’s Reach Code, all new residential construction for single-family (includes one and two-dwelling units), low-rise multifamily, and detached accessory dwelling units (ADUs) must meet all-electric efficiency requirements of the 2019 California Building Energy Code (Base Code), or mixed-fuel must meet a minimum 10 point EDR reduction from the Base Code with electrification readiness. A hardship exemption may be provided for permanent supportive housing and housing built for 30% local area median income. 

Additionally, a policy prohibiting natural gas in new low-rise residential construction was adopted by the San José City Council on October 29, 2019. The natural gas infrastructure prohibition overrides the mixed-fuel efficiency requirements for single-family, ADUs, and low-rise multi-family buildings. City staff also received direction from the Council to provide an analysis and recommendation for requiring electrification of all wood frame construction up to seven stories in early 2020. On December 1, 2020, city staff returned to Council with a recommendation to expand the natural gas infrastructure prohibition to new construction of four stories or more, regardless of the construction material that is used. The expanded ordinance was approved by Council and will go into effect on August 1, 2021. The expanded ordinance allows limited exemptions for food establishments, industrial and manufacturing facilities.. 


Commercial buildings must meet the requirements of San Jose's reach code and natural gas ban. The city’s zEPI score for their commercial energy code is 51.7.


San José approved  a Reach Code that applies to new residential building construction and went into effect on January 1, 2020.  In 2019, California energy codes (Title 24) adopted the Energy Design Rating (EDR) compliance pathway. EDR is similar to ERI in that the reference home is a score of 100 with every percentage of energy reduced representing a score reduction of one point; for more information please visit RESNET. Under San José’s Reach Code, all new residential construction for single-family (includes one and two-dwelling units), low-rise multifamily, and detached accessory dwelling units (ADUs) must meet all-electric efficiency requirements of the 2019 California Building Energy Code (Base Code), or mixed-fuel must meet a minimum 10 point EDR reduction from the Base Code with electrification readiness. A hardship exemption may be provided for permanent supportive housing and housing built for 30% local area median income.  

The city’s zEPI score for their residential energy code is 59.6.

Solar-readiness policies 

San José adheres to the 2019 California Energy Efficiency Standards for Residential Buildings, which requires solar photovoltaic systems for new homes. Additionally, San José’s Reach Code requires solar readiness for all building types, covering those building types that weren’t covered by 2019 Standards. 

EV-charging readiness and infrastructure policies

San José's Reach Code also includes EV requirements that apply to new residential, multifamily, and commercial building construction starting January 1, 2020. New single-family and ADUs must provide 1 EV Ready space per dwelling. New low-rise and high-rise multi-family residential must provide 10% Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE), 20% EV Ready, and 70% EV Capable of all parking spaces required by Code (spaces). Hotel/Motel must provide 10% EVSE, and 50% EV Capable spaces. All new non-residential construction must provide 10% EVSE and 40% EV Capable spaces.    

Low-energy use requirements

Council Policy 6-32 requires commercial projects of more than 25,000 square feet but less than 75 feet in height to be LEED Silver certified. Residential developments less than 10 units are required to complete a GreenPoint or LEED Checklist. Residential developments greater than 10 units are required to be GreenPoint Rated at 50 points or be LEED Certified. In alignment with CA Title 24 future code cycles, Climate Smart San José calls for all new residential buildings to be zero net energy by 2020, with commercial following in 2030. However, Climate Smart aims to go further, to zero net carbon. 

Last Updated: August 2021

Building Energy Code Compliance and EnforcementList All

San Jose has 19 FTE plan check engineers that enforce building code compliance as well as energy code compliance. The city enforces Title 24 code compliance through mandatory plan reviews and inspection and requires third-party verification. San Jose provides workshops on the building codes including the energy efficiency requirements. 

Last Updated: June 2021

Policies Targeting Existing BuildingsList All

Commercial and multifamily benchmarking

California Assembly Bill (AB) 802 requires the owners of buildings over 50,000 square feet to benchmark energy usage. San Jose's Energy and Water Building Performance Ordinance requires all privately owned buildings over 20,000 square feet to benchmark energy usage. 

Cross-cutting requirements

The Energy and Water Building Performance Ordinance requires owners of low-performing buildings greater than 20,000 square feet to conduct an energy audit or to perform retrofitting or retrocommissioning of the building.


Commercial and residential property owners may access property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing for energy efficiency improvements and solar installations.

In December 2020, the California Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project (CALeVIP) launched in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, known as the Peninsula-Silicon Valley Incentive Project. As a partner in this Project, the City of San José offered $14 million in incentives for multi-unit dwellings, businesses, and public properties to install Level 2 charging stations or DC Fast Chargers and the electrical infrastructure associated with the stations. The Project was met with high demand and as of March 2021, all funds have been reserved or provisionally reserved. Of the total amount of incentive funding in San Jose, 25% will be allocated to sites in disadvantaged or low-income communities. As a program requirement, all electric vehicle supply equipment incentivized as part of the program must be Energy Star certified.

San José offers over the counter (and in many cases, online) or expedited permitting for solar PV systems.

Through the Affordable Housing Investment Plan, the city offers priority financing for developers incorporating green building features into affordable housing units.

Voluntary programs

San Jose runs the Climate Smart Challenge, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10% in 25 large commercial or higher educational buildings totaling at least 5 million square feet. The program ended in 2020. 

In 2020, the City successfully implemented the Building Performance Leaders  program, a Better Buildings Challenge – like program.  The participants who joined pledged to reduce their aggregate carbon emissions by 10% from December 2019-December 2020 and committed to complete 2 of 3 actions: 1) Participate in one energy/water reduction behavior change campaign and one transportation behavior change campaign throughout the year; 2) Perform retro-commissioning or capital improvements as per Building Performance Ordinance requirements, or 3) Sign up for San José  Clean Energy’s Total Green 100% carbon-free and renewable power option. Currently, staff are working on analyzing end of program data from the participants to determine the final carbon emission reduction. 

Last Update: August 2021

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Workforce DevelopmentList All

The California Workforce Development Board High Road Construction Career initiative has established twelve effective pre-apprenticeship training partnerships under the California Clean Energy Jobs Act (Prop 39). These partnerships link local Building and Construction Trades Councils (BTCs) to workforce boards, schools, and community-based organizations (CBOs), creating structured pathways—with a standard Multi-Craft Core Curriculum (MC3) and critical supportive services—to state-approved apprenticeships in a variety of crafts. The HRCC: SB 1 program will expand HRCC into a comprehensive statewide industry sector strategy through the expansion, development and support of a single HRCC pre apprenticeship partnership in each region of California.

A work2future program, San José Works, which has been providing services since 2015 aimed at San José residents ages 16-29, offers participants opportunities for job placements with renewable energy companies, among other employers . Though the COVID pandemic has made the job placement process more difficult, this program continues to support young people, including those of low-income, women, people of color, and other marginalized residents, to join the workforce.

The City also actively promotes Rising Sun Energy Center’s Green House Calls, which provides households with no-cost energy and water assessments and installations The Green House Calls are conducted by trained students aged 15-24 from disadvantaged communities, and thereby provide youth with exposure and access to clean energy jobs.

Last Update: June 2021

Score: 17.5 out of 30 points
Transportation Summary List All

The transportation authority serving the City of San Jose is The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. VTA also provides the public transportation for the city and the broader metropolitan area, including bus and light rail service. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is the MPO in charge of conducting metropolitan transportation planning. Its area of jurisdiction encompasses San Jose, and the cities and towns in the Bay Area. The San Jose Department of Transportation is the city agency charged with managing the city’s transportation network.

Last updated: January 2017

Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable Transportation Plan

The Circulation Element of the Envision San José 2040 General Plan includes a set of balanced, long-range, multimodal transportation goals, policies, and actions that provide for a transportation network that is safe, efficient, and sustainable. Since its adoption in 2011, the General Plan has gone through annual amendments and a Four-Year Review in 2016. One of the General Plan amendments in 2018 is to reflect the update of the Transportation Analysis Policy to shift the City’s CEQA transportation standard from a congestion-based Level of Service (LOS) to VMT. This Transportation Analysis Policy is part of the multi-prong strategy to reduce VMT, to reduce energy consumption, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to create a healthier community.

VMT/GHG Targets and Stringency

In the Envision San José 2040 General Plan, San José maintains a goal to reduce the amount of VMT per service population per day in 2040 by 40% relative to the 2009 levels. This is equivalent to a 1.3% reduction in VMT annually.

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

San Jose does not track progress towards a VMT/GHG target.

Last Updated: December 2021

Location Efficiency List All

Location Efficient Zoning Codes

The Envision San José 2040 General Plan includes a Focused Growth and Form Based Planning Major Strategy that focuses new growth in a compact and mixed-use format to support the development of new urban neighborhoods that maximize the use of transit systems within the region. The General Plan also includes community design goals and policies that guide future development to address the character of the City and create a pedestrian-friendly and environmentally-and fiscally-sustainable community. Additionally, the City’s Zoning Code provides height and parking exceptions for properties near transit or planned for high-density development.

Residential Parking Policies

San José has not yet removed minimum vehicle parking requirements but is currently exploring this action in the context of the Bloomberg American Cities Challenge grant. These parking revisions are expected to take place in spring of 2020 for the downtown and fall of 2020 for the rest of the city. The current zoning code has a separate set of minimum parking rate requirements for downtown that are lower than the rest of the City. In addition, for development projects that meet certain conditions regarding such as transportation demand management (TDM), public parking sharing, and location in growth areas, the number of required parking spaces can be reduced by up to 100% in the downtown area and up to 50% in the rest of the city.

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosure

The City’s Zoning Code includes an Affordable Housing Density Bonuses and Incentives chapter to specify how the City will implement the requirements of the State Housing Density Bonuses and Incentives Law. The City’s General Plan also includes Major Strategies, goals, and policies that encourage compact, mixed-use development in specifically identified planned growth areas. San José also updated its Transportation Analysis Policy in February 2018 to shift its CEQA transportation standard from level of service to VMT. To incentivize compact and infill mixed-use development, San José developed a user-friendly VMT Evaluation Tool that developers and consultants can use to estimate the VMT levels of their projects in advance of their applications. The tool includes a total of 27 VMT-reducing strategies for developers to select to reduce the VMT levels of their projects, including project density, mix of uses, and intersection density, etc. Additionally, a set of screening criteria were developed under which development projects are not required to prepare a detailed CEQA transportation analysis, thereby facilitating the project’s environmental review. These screening criteria include requirements related to project density, location in planned growth areas, and affordable housing, etc.

Last Updated: December 2021

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Targets

The Envision San José 2040 General Plan includes the following targets: no more than 40% drive-alone, at least 10% by carpool, at least 20% by transit, at least 15% by bicycle, at least 15% on foot. 

Using the General Plan as a foundation, Climate Smart San José builds upon the vision for the next generation of urban sustainability, and establishes the following Paris-aligned mode share goals for the City: 46% of commute trips are drive-alone, 10% on public transit, and 20% by bicycling and walking by 2030; 24% of commute trips are drive-alone, 20% on public transit, and 30% by bicycling and walking by 2040; and 12% of commute trips are drive-alone, 35% on public transit, and 35% by bicycling and walking by 2050. 

Progress Achieved Toward Mode Shift Targets

The city currently tracks progress towards mode share targets using data from the American Community Survey. Currently available data on walking and biking and public transit commute trip share are published online on the Climate Smart dashboard. From 2012 to 2018, the share of commute trips by walking and biking increased from 3.5% to 4%. From 2012 to 2017, the share of commute trips by public transit increased from 3.4% to 4.5%. 

Complete Streets

San Jose does has a Complete Streets Design Standards and Guidelines document.

Last Updated: December 2021

Public Transit List All

Transportation Funding

The transportation entities that serve the City of San José have received $479,847,768.80 on average annually between 2015 and 2019. That equates to roughly $245.54 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 San José Transit Connectivity Index value is 7, scoring 1 point in the City Scorecard.

Last Updated: December 2021

Efficient VehiclesList All

Vehicle Purchase Incentives

PG&E is a participating utility in the California Clean Fuel Reward program which offers incentives for the purchase of battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. San José maintains a Clean-Air Vehicle Program that offers free parking at designated off-street parking facilities and on-street parking meters throughout the City for Zero Emission Electric, Plug in Hybrid, and other leading technology vehicles.

Vehicle Infrastructure Incentives

San José City Council approved SJCE’s participation in the California Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project in October 2019. Including SJCE’s pledge, this program will allocate $14 million to EV charger incentive projects in San José. The City will be able to use these funds to subsidize the installation of chargers in public areas, such as offices, shopping centers and shared parking spaces in multi-family developments. In addition, San José is participating in Pacific Gas & Electric’s (PG&E) Electric Vehicle Charger Network (EVCN) program, which will result in the installation of 162 electric vehicle charger “ports” at five City facilities. PG&E will cover the cost to provide power to clusters of Level 2 chargers installed at these facilities as well as a portion of the cost for the City to purchase the chargers. Construction is expected to begin in early 2020. PG&E also offers customers an $800 Clean Fuel Rebate that can be used towards installing a charger or paying charging (electricity) costs. 

EV Charging Locations

The City has 1277 charging ports available for public use, equivalent to 125 ports per 100,000 people.

Electric School Bus Goal

San José does not have an electric school bus goal.

EV Transit Bus Goal

VTA is expanding its electric bus fleet - there are currently 5 electric buses in operation, two of which were purchased through two grants tied to Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities that the City and two affordable home developers secured in 2019, in partnership with VTA. Despite production delays due to COVID, VTA has acquired 5 more electric buses that should go into service in March. The City intends to pursue additional grant opportunities with VTA to support the agency's conversion to electric buses. The California Air Resource Board adopted the Innovative Clean Transit regulation in December 2018 that requires California public transit agencies to transition to 100 percent zero-emission bus fleets by 2040. VTA's longer range plans call for transitioning to a mostly zero emission fleet ahead of the CARB mandated phase-in schedule.

Last Updated: December 2021

Freight System EfficiencyList All

San José does not have a sustainable freight transportation plan, but the Envision San José 2040 General Plan establishes six transportation policies to provide for safe and efficient movement of goods. These goals aim to Minimize potential conflicts between trucks and pedestrian, bicycle, transit, and vehicle access and circulation on streets with truck travel; maintain primary freight routes that provide for direct access for goods movement to industrial and employment areas; encourage through truck traffic to use freeways, highways, and County Expressways and encourage trucks having an origin or destination in San José to use Primary Truck Routes designated in the General Plan; plan industrial and commercial development so that truck access through residential areas is avoided. Minimize truck travel on streets designated in the Envision General Plan as Residential Streets; design freight loading and unloading for new or rehabilitated industrial and commercial developments to occur off of public streets. In Downtown and urban areas, particularly on small commercial properties, more flexibility may be needed; and support the efficient and safe movement of goods by rail where appropriate and promote the continued operation of freight rail lines that serve industrial properties. In addition, the Climate Smart Plan includes targets for electric local delivery vehicles and alternative fuel heavy goods vehicles.

Last Updated: December 2021

Clean, Efficient Transportation for Low-Income CommunitiesList All

Affordable New TOD Housing Policy

The City’s Zoning Code includes an Affordable Housing Density Bonuses and Incentives chapter to specify how the City will implement the requirements of the State Housing Density Bonuses and Incentives Law. San José updated its Transportation Analysis Policy in February 2018 to shift its CEQA transportation standard from LOS to VMT. To incentivize affordable housing in transit priority areas and areas identified for compact and infill mixed-use development, the policy includes affordable housing as a major VMT-reducing strategy that developers can select to reduce their potential VMT impacts. The policy also includes affordable housing as one of the screening criteria for a detailed CEQA transportation analysis, and as a potential overriding consideration for significant and unavoidable transportation impacts.

Connecting Existing Affordable Housing Stock to Efficient Transportation Options

San José’s bike share program, Bay Wheels, offers a low-income discount for residents ages 18 and older who qualify for Calfresh, SFMTA Lifeline Pass or PG&E CARE utility discount. This low-income discount program is called "Bike Share For All" and reduces the $149 annual membership fee to $5 for the first year and $5 per month following that. Membership allows users to ride free for the first 45 minutes of each trip. No credit or debit card is required to use the program and payments are Clipper card compatible. In addition, as a condition of their permit, electric scooter companies are expected to place 20% of their scooters in disadvantaged communities and offer discounted memberships and usage fees to low-income residents.

Last Updated: December 2021

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 14 out of 15 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

San José Clean Energy, or SJCE, is San José’s Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) electricity supplier, providing residents and businesses with clean energy. Operated by the City of San José's Community Energy Department, SJCE helps the city to meet its goals in the Climate Smart San José plan. The San José City Council unanimously voted to create SJCE in May 2017 and launched service in February 2019.

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), an investor-owned utility (IOU), is the primary gas and electric distribution and transmission utility and energy efficiency provider serving the City of San José. 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. 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.

There are three water retailers in San José: The San Jose Municipal Water System, which is municipally run, and the San José Water Company and Great Oaks Water Company, which are privately owned. The Santa Clara Valley Water District is the region’s water wholesaler. All of the retailers above provide drinking water services to San Jose. The San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility treats the region’s approximately 113 million gallons of wastewater daily. Approximately 13% of treated wastewater is recycled where it is distributed to 750 customers for use in cooling towers and landscape irrigation. The San Jose Water and Sewer Utilities manages the stormwater for the city.

Last Updated: July 2021

Electricity and Natural Gas Efficiency SavingsList All

In 2019, PG&E reported 1,253,154 MWh of net electric savings at the meter, which represents 1.60% of its retail sales across the utility’s entire service jurisdiction, not only San Jose. In 2019, PG&E spent $219,637,147 on electric energy efficiency programs, which represents 1.72% of its retail revenue.

In 2019, PG&E reported 27.64 MMtherms of net natural gas savings at the meter, which represents 1.40% of its retail sales across the utility’s service territory. In 2019, PG&E spent $69,359,099 on natural gas energy efficiency, which equates to $16.19 per residential customer. These savings and spending figures cover PG&E’s entire service jurisdiction, not just the City of San Jose.

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

San José has been a Local Government Partner (LGP) with PG&E to promote and administer the Silicon Valley Energy Watch (SVEW) since 2004, which serves a total of fourteen jurisdictions located in Santa Clara County. The purpose of the program is to deliver innovative and comprehensive energy efficiency services and outreach to hard-to-reach customers, specifically local governments, nonprofits, small- and medium-sized businesses. SVEW's overarching goal is to ensure that its targeted customers take advantage of the range of audits, rebates, and technical support that are offered through utility programs.

In mid-2018, PG&E announced that the LGPs will shift focus to solely public sector customers, defined as local, state, or federal government buildings, special districts or buildings in K-12 or higher education, starting in 2019. This move was driven by recent California Public Utilities Commission direction to outsource more of its portfolio and increase cost effectiveness over the next couple of years.

Last Updated: July 2021

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

PG&E offers the Energy Savings Assistance Program (ESA) to qualified low-income residential customers. The program provides in-home energy education, and direct installation of weatherization and hot water measures, lighting efficiency upgrades, HVAC tune-ups, smart power strips, and refrigerator recycling/replacement at no charge in order to reduce energy consumption in low-income households. The program provides health and safety measures such as the repair and replacement of water heaters and furnaces and minor home repairs. This program is implemented statewide by investor-owned utilities under the direction of the California Public Utilities Commission. It leverages the federal Weatherization Assistance Program, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and Low-Income Weatherization Program offerings.

The ESA Program’s objective is to assist income-qualified customers to reduce their energy consumption and costs while increasing their health, comfort and safety. PG&E has also administered the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program to qualifying customers since 1989. The CARE program provides a monthly discount on energy bills for qualifying single-family residential households, tenants of sub-metered residential facilities, non-profit group living facilities, agricultural employee housing facilities, and migrant farmworker housing centers throughout PG&E’s service area.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CAPUC) strongly encourages utilities to leverage funds for low-income energy efficiency and weatherization. PG&E’s ESA Program leverages water agency, Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and Low Income Weatherization Program (LIWP) funding through individually negotiated agreements with the other agencies.

In 2019, PG&E achieved energy savings of 68,951 MWh and 0.47 MMtherms, while spending $96,478,592 and $50,711,276 on its electric and natural gas low-income programs, respectively. PG&E served 17,169 electric and 7,877 natural gas customers with its low-income program in 2019.

San José Clean Energy (SJCE) and PG&E partner to promote energy efficiency programs for low-income customers. SJCE partners with GRID Alternatives to promote the No Cost Rooftop Solar and Clean Cars for All programs in disadvantaged communities. The City’s Environmental Services Department partnered with SJCE to mail notices to 5,000 low-income customers on the California Alternate Rates for Energy and Family Electric Rate Assistance programs about the Electrify San José heat pump water heater rebate program. The City also actively promotes Rising Sun Energy Center’s Green House Calls, which provides households with no-cost energy and water assessments and installations. The Green House Calls are conducted by trained students aged 15-24 from disadvantaged communities, and thereby provide youth with exposure and access to clean energy jobs.

Multifamily Programs

PG&E offers the California New Homes Multifamily Program, Multifamily Upgrade Program, and Multifamily Cooling Optimizer Program. California New Homes Multifamily Program provides support and incentives for multifamily new construction projects to encourage builders to exceed California’s Title 24 energy efficiency standards. The Multifamily Upgrade Program promotes and facilitates energy-efficient retrofits of existing multifamily buildings” through technical support and incentives. The Multifamily Cooling Optimizer Program is a direct install program focused on HVAC measures in tenant spaces. PG&E also implements the Energy Savings Assistance Program (ESA) for income-qualified multifamily customers.

In 2019, PG&E achieved energy savings of 3,587 MWh and 0.23 MMtherms, while spending $6,333,028 on its electric and natural gas multifamily programs, respectively. PG&E served 3,322 electric housing units at 26 multifamily properties. PG&E served 3,594 natural gas housing units at 27 multifamily properties.

Last Updated: July 2021

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

PG&E's provides automated benchmarking services through Portfolio Manager to multitenant commercial and multifamily properties. The City of San José has a data sharing agreement with PG&E, and the City also advocates for policy improvements directly to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on an annual basis.

The city of San José provides community wide energy usage information for planning and evaluation purposes through their Inventory of Community-wide Greenhouse Gas Emissions. San José receives annual community-wide energy consumption data from PG&E. Residential, commercial, and industrial electricity and natural gas consumption data are available in the 2017 community-wide GHG inventory

The City of San José has a data sharing agreement with PG&E, and the City also advocates for policy improvements directly to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on an annual basis. PG&E makes aggregated community usage data available to all the cities and counties in their service territory. They provide yearly data broken down by type (electric vs. gas) and sector (e.g., Residential, Commercial, etc.).

The City advocates for policy improvements directly to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on an annual basis. San José advocated for CA Assembly Bill 802. The City of San José also assists California Distributed Generation Statistics, the official public reporting site of the California Solar Initiative (CSI), with quality control and reporting of solar photovoltaic data by zip code for residential and non-residential sectors. CDGS is presented jointly by the CSI Program Administrators, GRID Alternatives, the California Investor Owned Utilities, and the California Public Utilities Commission.

Last Updated: July 2021

Decarbonization and Climate Change Mitigation Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Utility Climate Mitigation Goal

In 2018, the State of California set an ambitious goal of relying on entirely zero-emission energy sources for its electricity by 2045. To achieve this goal, PG&E will need to reduce emissions by 3.7% annually from 2018 levels.

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid

San José Clean Energy (SJCE) supplies power to the majority of San José residents and businesses, nearly 330,000 customers (less than 1.5% of customers opted to remain with PG&E). As of March 2021, SJCE serves over 345,000 customers and maintains a participation rate of about 98%. The current power mix for SJCE’s default service, GreenSource, supplies customers with about 40% renewable and 92% carbon free electricity. Customers can also upgrade to TotalGreen to power their home or business with 100% renewable and carbon-free energy. As of March 2021, about 1,100 accounts are enrolled in TotalGreen. SJCE estimates its customer demand for renewable energy will total 2,000 GWh annually by 2022. To meet customer demand, SJCE has contracted for nearly 500 MW of new renewable energy and 10 MW of battery storage since 2019, with two projects planned to come online by the end of 2021 and two by the end of 2022.

Last Updated: July 2021

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Citywide Water Efficiency and Goals

The San José Municipal Water System offers free water fixtures for its San Jose customers, including showerheads and kitchen and bathroom faucet aerators, and has also started to partner with PG&E to increase conservation efforts. Silicon Valley Energy Watch includes information on water conservation in its Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Home Energy Saving Toolkit. Residents who check out a kit may keep low-flow faucet aerators, a low-flow showerhead, and water leak detection tablets. PG&E also offers rebates for high-efficiency commercial dishwashers.

San José Municipal Water System (Muni Water) continues to implement water efficiency practices and new technologies that meet and exceed its water savings goals for multiple agencies and programs. For example, Muni Water has already met and exceeded its California SB-X7-7 2020 goal of 145 gallons per capita per day (GPCD) by reaching 126 GPCD in 2015. This is monitored and tracked through each retailer's Urban Water Management Plan (UWMP). Muni Water is also actively working towards reaching California’s recently passed AB-1668 bill calling for an indoor residential water usage of 50 GPCD in 2030. Muni Water is working towards that goal in conjunction with Climate Smart San José, which sets the residential GPCD target to 42 GPCD by 2030. Water-efficient practices continue to remain in place and new technologies are being implemented to continue the reduction of water use to meet these goals.

San José Municipal Water System continues to implement its enhanced water conservation outreach efforts. San Jose’s General Plan also outlines specific water savings targets, which include reducing citywide per capita water consumption by 25% by 2040 below 2010 levels and achieving 50 million gallons per day of water conservation savings in San Jose, by reducing water use and increasing water-use efficiency by 2040.

Water Plant Efficiency and Self-Generation

Although there is not an energy efficiency goal established for municipal water service operations, the wastewater utility has implemented a number of energy efficiency measures, including installing more efficient fine bubble diffusers in its aeration tanks, as well as practicing pulsed, or episodic aeration, both of which significantly reduce energy demands for the aeration process. The wastewater utility has also installed LED streetlights throughout its 170-acre campus, and it continues to evaluate additional energy conservation measures. In addition, the wastewater utility is undergoing a $1.4 billion, 10-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) to rehabilitate and upgrade the entire treatment process for greater energy efficiency and reliability. The CIP has plans to invest in energy efficiency projects including $36.4 million aeration tanks rehabilitation and blower improvement projects which will reduce up to 40% of kWh and $1 million annually in secondary treatment once these projects are completed. San José Municipal Water System also aims to purchase 100% carbon-free power by the end of 2021 and install solar systems by 2025.

The wastewater utility self-generates approximately 40% of its energy needs through the capture and use of digester gas. In addition, the wastewater facility captures waste heat from the engines to keep digesters warm for the optimal operation of the digestion process, adding to overall energy efficiency.

Last Updated: July 2021

Local Government Score:
2.5 out of 10 points
Local Government Climate and Energy Goals List All

The Climate Smart San Jose plan includes climate and energy goals for the City of San Jose’s municipal operations.

Climate Mitigation Goal

The city does not have a climate mitigation or greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal for municipal operations. San Jose's most recent municipal greenhouse gas inventory was published in 2020 with data for 2005, 2010, and 2018. 

Energy Reduction Goal

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

Renewable Energy Goal

The Climate Smart San Jose plan includes a goal to increase solar capacity on municipal buildings to 86 megawatts by 2050, with interim capacity goals of 11 megawatts by 2021 and 28 megawatts by 2030. The city also has a goal of achieving 100% carbon-free electricity by 2021.

Last updated: May 2021

Procurement and Construction Policies List All

Fleet Policies and Composition

San Jose’s Green Fleet Policy guides staff through vehicle procurement and requires consideration of alternative fuel options to reduce carbon emissions.  The City’s current plan is to replace internal combustion engine vehicles in the light duty fleet (except PD & Fire) with EVs as they become due for retirement, if a suitable EV solution exists. San Jose’s upcoming Electric Mobility Roadmap proposed to convert 89 of its non-police sedans that are more than 10 years old in the next two years. Doing so would make 98% of the non-police sedans plug-in electric, and 69% fully electric. San Jose’s municipal fleet is composed of 20% efficient vehicles hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric vehicles.

Public Lighting

San José’s Department of Transportation follows and references IES’ roadway guide for practice but there is no formal adoption of this or the Model Lighting Ordinance for streetlights or outdoor lighting. The Public Streetlight Design Guide, adopted in February 2011, has a goal to replace 100% of streetlights with zero-emission lighting. Voter approval of Measure T (The Disaster Preparedness, Public Safety and Infrastructure Bond) in November 2018 is allowing the Departments of Transportation (DOT) and Public Works (DPW) to implement a complete conversion of the City’s remaining outdoor lighting inventory to LEDs. In partnership with PG&E, the City’s remaining streetlight inventory of 37,000 lights will be converted by 2021 and the City’s remaining 12,000 outdoor park/facility lights will be converted by 2024. LED lighting and controls upgrades will capture additional energy savings and GHG reductions. This will result in energy savings of more than 50 percent upon completion. As of 2019, approximately 53% of the City's streetlights have been converted to LEDs.

Onsite renewable systems 

San Jose has installed on-site solar systems. The current combined capacity of these systems is 6.5 MW.

Inclusive procurement

We were unable to verify if the City has inclusive procurement and contracting processes.

Last updated: May 2021

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking

Through its new Energy and Water Building Performance Ordinance, the City is required to benchmark and disclose data on municipal buildings that are 15,000 square feet or larger. This totals 85% of municipal square footage. San José currently benchmarks 79% of its municipal buildings over 10,000 square feet.

Comprehensive Retrofit Strategy

The city contracted with an ESCO provider to help identify and implement energy efficiency efforts on municipal buildings, and the ESCO agreement scope of work was completed in 2019. The passage of the Energy and Water Building Performance Ordinance will provide an opportunity to create a retrocommissioning strategy once portfolio-wide findings are complete. Additionally, one- and five-year Capital Improvement Plans for city facilities managed by the Public Works Department are being developed and will include energy efficiency projects as appropriate. Energy efficiency principles have been incorporated into existing workflows and programs. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning projects completed at the Shirakawa Community Center and the San José Museum of Art utilized energy efficient equipment to replace inefficient and troublesome end-of-life equipment. This upgrade work will continue through the City's Deferred Maintenance Infrastructure Backlog (DMIB) program. 

Last updated: May 2021