State and Local Policy Database

San José

City Scorecard Rank


San José, CA

137.50Scored out of 250Updated 05/2024
Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 31.5 out of 45 points
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 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: August 2023

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

Move San Jose identifies more than 40 key performance indicators that track the City’s progress towards 9 transportation objectives – “Access for All”, “Enjoyable Transportation”, “Plan for the Future”, “Clean the Air”, “Less Driving”, “Connected Neighborhoods”, “Transportation Safety”, “Move the Economy”, and “20-Minute Neighborhoods”. Examples of the 40 KPIs that track program impacts on local disadvantaged communities include electric vehicle market penetration rate by neighborhood and public electric vehicle charger deployment by neighborhood. The City aims to use these KPIs and public input to prioritize investment strategies, especially in low-income and historically underserved communities, and track the City’s progress of advancing the KPIs for those communities. 

Last updated: August 2023

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: August 2023

Adaptive Mitigation List All

Heat Island Mitigation 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.

Resilience Hubs

The City's Biblioteca Latinoamericana Library was selected to participate in BayREN's Resilient Library Network program, through which the library will receive technical assistance to plan how to retrofit the library for both energy efficiency and to serve as a community resilience center

Last updated: August 2023

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Workforce DevelopmentList All

Workforce development for disadvantaged workers

The City joined the regional High Road Training Partnership, funded by the California Workforce Development Board, and led by Rising Sun). In bi-monthly regional meetings the City is learning and discussing both supply (contractor training and education) and demand (job creation/growth, labor standards) opportunities to enhance and influence workforce development programs by learning from peer cities and organizations, including San Francisco, Berkeley, San Rafael, StopWaste, BayREN, Center for Sustainable Neighborhoods, trade union representatives, and the Building Electrification Institute.   

San José Works, a work2future program, 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. This supports young people, including those of low-income, women, people of color, and other disadvantaged residents, to join the workforce.

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

Work2future tracks multiple metrics, such as participation rates and the number of participants who gain employment.

Last updated: August 2023

Buildings Policies
Score: 33 out of 70 points
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 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

San José's Reach Code was updated in October 2022 to align with the most recent state building code cycle and uses the the EDR compliance pathway (see explanation below under Residential). Under San José’s Reach Code, all new residential construction for single-family, low-rise multifamily, and detached accessory dwelling units (ADUs) must meet all-electric efficiency requirements of the 2022 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. 


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 41.


Residential buildings must meet the requirements of San José's reach code and natural gas ban. The city’s zEPI score for their residential energy code is 26.

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

Solar-readiness policies 

San José adheres to the 2022 California Energy Efficiency Standards for Residential Buildings, which requires solar photovoltaic systems for single-family, multifamily, and nonresidential buildings. Additionally, San José’s Reach Code requires solar readiness for all building types, covering any that may not be covered by the 2022 Standards. 

EV-charging readiness 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.

Electrification policies

The city prohibits natural gas in commercial and residential construction. The natural gas infrastructure prohibition overrides the mixed-fuel efficiency requirements for single-family, ADUs, and low-rise multi-family buildings. The ordinance allows limited exemptions for hospitals, attached ADUs, distributed energy resources (this exemption is set to sunset on December 31, 2024 but will be reconsidered by Council before the end of 2023), and hardship.

Last Update: August 2023

Building Energy Code Compliance and EnforcementList All

San José enforces Title 24 code compliance through mandatory plan reviews and inspection and requires third-party verification. We were unable to determine the amount of staff effort dedicated to energy code enforcement. San José provides workshops and compliance trainings on the building codes including the energy efficiency requirements, as well as on-demand energy consulting. 

Last Updated: August 2023

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 José'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.


San José Clean Energy, the city's municipal electric utility, offers several incentive programs. The Home Appliance Savings Program offers 50-70% discounts on energy efficient refrigerators, clothes washers, and dryers and free smart thermostats to moderate-income single-family households as well as single-family households located in disadvantaged communities. The Energy Efficient Business Program provides 80-90% incentives on energy-efficient upgrades to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), refrigeration, and hot water distribution systems for small and medium commercial buildings, including schools. 

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

Program outcomes

The city collects data on its programs to understand participation rates and allocation of program benefits among disadvantaged communities. Data (p. 39) collected as part of work on the Electrify San José: Framework for Existing Building Electrification showed that PV solar systems are less frequent in disadvantaged communities in San José.

Voluntary programs

San José 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; 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. Staff have calculated a 24% reduction in emissions for 4 of 6 participating organizations – a reduction of over 2,100 MT of CO2e.

Last Update: August 2023

Score: 31.5 out of 70 points
Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable Transportation Plan

Move San Jose was adopted in 2022 and includes sustainable transportation strategies. It also includes strategies specifically benefitting disadvantaged communities. 

VMT/GHG Targets and Stringency

The Climate Smart San José Plan, adopted in 2018, contains a goal to reduce VMT per capita 21% by 2030, 43% by 2040, and 57% by 2050 from 2017 levels. Based on these goals, San José is aiming to achieve a daily VMT per capita of 11.12 by 2030 from a baseline of 14.06 in 2017. However, the city had already achieved this goal when it was created in 2018, with data showing a daily VMT per capita of 10.5. Therefore, San José did not receive points for the stringency of this goal.

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

San José had already achieved its goal of a 21% reduction in daily VMT per capita from a 2017 baseline when the goal was established in 2018. Therefore, San José did not receive points for progress towards its goal. 

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 José.

Parking Requirement

San José has eliminated parking minimums citywide.

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosure

The City of San José does not have location-efficient development incentives or disclosure policies.

Affordable Housing around Transit

The City of San José does not require, preserve, or incentivize the development of affordable housing near transit.

Last Updated: September 2023

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Targets

According to the Climate Smart San José Plan, the City has a goal of 46% of all commute trips being made by driving alone, 10% by public transit, and 20% by biking and walking by 2030. By 2040, the City aims to have 24% of commute trips being made by driving alone, 20% by public transit, and 30% by biking and walking. Finally, by 2050, San José aims to have 12% of commute trips being made by driving alone, 35% by public transit, and 35% by biking and walking.

Progress Achieved Toward Mode Shift Targets

According to data from the city's Climate Smart Data Dashboard, although transit mode share declined and biking and walking mode share remained unchanged between 2018 and 2021, the drive alone mode share decreased from 76% in 2018 to 69.2% in 2021. Therefore, San José earned points for this metric.

Subsidized Access to Efficient Transportation Options

BayWheels, the bike share operator in San José, offers a discounted membership to residents who qualify for CalFresh, SFMTA Lifeline Pass, or the PG&E CARE utility discount through its Bike Share for All program. Additionally, residents with a household income of 200% of the federal poverty level or less can receive a Clipper START card and purchase transit fare at a discounted rate.

Last Updated: September 2023

Public Transit List All

Transit Funding

The transit entities that serve the City of San José have received $459,146,419.80 on average annually between 2017 and 2021 from local sources. That equates to roughly $237.39 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 José's AllTransit Performance Score is 7, scoring 2 points in the City Scorecard.

Last Updated: September 2023

Efficient VehiclesList All

Efficient Vehicle Purchase Incentives

Pacific Gas & Electric offers $1,000 rebates on the purchase or lease of a pre-owned electric vehicle, and a $4,000 rebate for income-qualified individuals.

Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Incentives

Through the Empower EV Program, Pacific Gas & Electric offers a free Level 2 EV charger, valued at $500, to households in single-family homes making within 400% of the federal poverty level. The program will also cover the cost of panel upgrades, up to $2,000. 

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 José has 137 vehicle charging ports per 100,000 people available for public use.

Electric School Bus Goal

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

Electric Transit Bus Goal

In 2018, the California Air Resources Board established a policy requiring all public transit agencies in the state to transition to zero-emission bus fleets by 2040. This includes VTA, a public transit agency serving the City of San José. VTA plans to prioritize routes serving disadvantaged communities (as determined by the CalEnviroScreen tool) as it transitions to zero-emission buses.

Last Updated: September 2023

Freight System EfficiencyList All

Sustainable Freight Plans

San José does not have a sustainable freight plan or freight mobility plan. However, the city is pursuing multiple sustainable freight strategies, including encouraging goods movement by rail, exploring cargo bike deliveries and pickup lockers, and implementing a zero-emissions freight pilot in the Santee neighborhood.

Open Data Portals

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

Last Updated: September 2023

Community Energy Infrastructure
Score: 33.5 out of 40 points
Community Energy Infrastructure 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. 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: August 2023

Electricity and Natural Gas Efficiency SavingsList All

In 2021, PG&E reported 1,845,567 MWh of net electric savings at the meter.

In 2021, PG&E reported 42.8 MMtherms of net natural gas savings at the meter.

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

The City of San Jose is a founding member of San Jose Clean Energy (SJCE), a local government CCA with strong targets for local renewable energy systems. In addition to coordinating with PG&E, SJCE chose and was approved to elect-to-administer EE programs in 2021 using public purpose program funds, with savings attributed towards PG&E’s goals.

Last Updated: August 2023

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 2021, PG&E achieved energy savings of 63,235 MWh and 0.05 MMtherms, while spending $81,556,000 and $80,963,860 on its electric and natural gas low-income programs, respectively. PG&E served 103,169 total customers with its low-income programs in 2021.

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 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.

For 2021, PG&E began ramp up on new statewide new construction programs: California Energy-Smart Homes New Construction Program and California Energy Design Assistance New Construction program, both of which can serve the multifamily sector. PG&E also offered the Multifamily Energy Savings Program (MESP) which provides property owners EE upgrade services for multifamily buildings of five units or greater throughout PG&E’s service territory. The program provides end-to-end program implementation services, including marketing, outreach, engineering, operations, customer service, data management, and reporting.

In 2021, PG&E achieved energy savings of 7,992 MWh and 0.13 MMtherms, while spending $20,336,729 on its electric and natural gas multifamily programs. PG&E served 29,727 housing units in 3,085 properties with its multifamily program in 2021.

Last Updated: August 2023

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 2021 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: August 2023

Decarbonization and Climate Change Mitigation Efforts of Cities and 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.

Clean Distributed Energy Resources 

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. 

Municipal Renewable Energy Procurement 

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

City Renewable Energy Incentive and Financing Programs 

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

San José Clean Energy provides outreach support to GRID Alternatives' Disadvantaged Communities – Single-Family Solar Homes (DAC-SASH) Program, which provides no-cost rooftop solar installations to income qualified homeowners. 

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

Last Updated: September 2023

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. 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.

In 2022, the San Jose-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility (RWF) generated about 78% of its power needs in-house through the capture and use of digester gas and the combustion of natural 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: August 2023

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

Climate Change Mitigation Goal

We could not find any information regarding a municipal climate change mitigation or greenhouse gas reduction goal for San José. 

Energy Reduction Goal

We could not find any information regarding a local energy reduction goal for San José. 

Renewable Energy Goal

The city of San José set a goal to install 28MW of solar energy infrastructure to power city operations by 2030. 

Last updated: November 2023

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. The Electric Mobility Roadmap proposes that the City replace all 89 of its non-police sedans that are more than 10 years old with EVs in the next two years. Doing so would make 98% of the non-police sedans plug-in electric, and 69% fully electric. In support of this strategy, the City Council directed the Fleet Division to perform a life-cycle cost analysis of replacing all non-electric fleet vehicles with electric vehicles within the next five years where technologically feasible. San Jose’s municipal fleet is composed of 25% 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 streetlight and outdoor park/facility lights will be converted to LEDs. LED lighting and controls upgrades will capture additional energy savings and GHG reductions. As of 2023, approximately 95% of the City's streetlights have been converted to LEDs.

Inclusive procurement

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

Last updated: September 2023

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking

Through its 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 88% 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. In 2020 the city council passed an ordinance to limit natural gas infrastructure in new buildings. 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.

Municipal Employee Transportation Benefits

San Jose provides a VTA SmartPass to all benefitted employees that allows free travel on all local VTA buses and light rail trains. Express buses have half of the fare covered. Of the 4,484 eligible employees there were 513 unique users from January 1, 2022 to March 5, 2023. Additionally, there is a discount available to City employees for bike share through Lyft, as well as a credit for secure bike lockers for personal bikes through BikeLink. The City also offers a pre-tax commuter benefit for public transit outside of VTA. The City carried out an employee commute survey in 2015 and has used that survey along with other information to estimate emissions from employee commutes. Department of Transportation staff are currently exploring options to conduct an updated survey on employee commutes.

Last update: February 2024