Office of Energy and Sustainable Development
Office of Energy and Sustainable Development

Updates: Office of Energy and Sustainable Development

News and the latest information about energy efficiency rebates, Berkeley Climate Action Plan and other City Sustainability programs. Subscribe to this page for update notifications.

 Earth Day 2014: Go out and enjoy the planet (updated 4/17/14)

Whether you looking to lend a hand to help plant a garden, help-out at a shoreline pick-up, explore a new trail in one of our National Parks, attend a regional earth day rally, or see inspirational speakers or green films, there are plenty of activities happening around the Bay Area in honor of Earth Day. 

Here are some highlights:

More information and resources:

Community Workshops to Learn and Discuss Updates to RECO/CECO (updated 4/15/14)
Workshop #2: April 23rd 7-9pm @ South Berkeley Senior Center 

The Berkeley Energy Commission is hosting 3 community workshops to discuss modernizing the Residential and Commercial Energy Conservation Ordinances (RECO and CECO) that require energy and water efficiency in existing single-family, multi-family and commercial buildings. The goal of the update is to use information to accelerate energy improvements, make compliance more user-friendly and engage a broader segment of the community.

City policymakers want to hear from home owners, businesses, property owners, and tenants as they develop the new RECO/CECO requirements. Come to the workshop to learn what updates are being proposed and how these improvements will help Berkeley meet its Climate Action Plan goals.


April 23, 2014
7- 9pm at South Berkeley Senior Center
2939 Ellis Street
Policy options for achieving ordinance objectives

June 25, 2014
7- 9pm at North Berkeley Senior Center
1901 Hearst Avenue
Proposed ordinance and implementation plan

For specific questions, contact Billi Romain at:  

To learn more, visit our website:   

 ME2 Evaluation Released (updated 3/11/14) 

Money for Energy Efficiency (ME2) Program was a limited-time-only program that provided cash incentives for energy efficiency upgrades in Berkeley homes and businesses. The ME2 program was funded by $1,013,500 in federal stimulus money awarded to Berkeley from the U.S. Department of Energy. The City of Berkeley offered financial incentives to owners of residential, commercial and industrial properties to conduct energy audits and make energy efficiency improvements. Learn about the success of the ME2 program, check out the ME2 Outcomes Evaluation Report.

The Rockefeller Foundation Names Berkeley as an Inaugural City of the 100 Resilient Cities Network
Berkeley to be among the first group of cities selected to benefit from innovative resilience planning tools and resources (updated 12/3/13)

The Rockefeller Foundation announced that Berkeley was selected as an inaugural member of the 100 Resilient Cities Network. Berkeley was one of nearly 400 cities across six continents to apply for The Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge, and one of only 33 cities to be selected. 

The Rockefeller Foundation defines resilience as "the ability of a community to withstand shocks while still maintaining its essential functions and to recover quickly and effectively." Berkeley will be awarded at least two years of funding to cover the cost of a full-time staff person dedicated to coordinating the City's resilience efforts, including readiness for earthquakes and wildfires, and advancement of local strategies designed to prepare the community for the impacts of climate change, such as sea-level rise and extreme heat.

100 Resilient Cities enables cities around the world to develop and implement resilience plans, provides city leaders a forum to share and learn from others' experiences, and connects them with suppliers, thinkers, and stakeholders who can help them improve their city's resilience.

"We congratulate Berkeley on being named one of the 100 Resilient Cities," said Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin. "Along with 32 other cities across six continents, Berkeley will be able to better prepare for, withstand, and bounce back more effectively in the face of shocks, stresses and other vulnerabilities. Berkeley is now part of a global network of urban areas focused on building resilience, to share best practices and lead by example for cities throughout the world."

“We are honored to be selected to participate in the 100 Resilient Cities Network, and proud of Berkeley’s proactive approach to building resilience in our community,” said Berkeley City Manager, Christine Daniel. “Participation in the 100 Resilient Cities Network will help the City to accelerate our efforts to make Berkeley better able to prepare for and bounce back from disasters. We are looking forward to contributing Berkeley’s best practices to the 100 Resilient Cities Network, and to learning resilience approaches from our fellow cities.”

For more information, see: 


RECO/CECO Update (updated 11/12/13)

With nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions in Berkeley coming from buildings, it is critical that we continue to advance innovative and smart energy efficiency strategies for our homes and businesses. On September 10, 2013, City Council adopted a resolution directing staff to initiate a public process to update the City's existing Residential Energy Conservation Ordinance (RECO) and Commercial Energy Conservation Ordinance (CECO) laws.

Improving RECO and CECO In addition to increased energy savings, desired outcomes of the new updated RECO/CECO include:  

  • User-friendly compliance and compliance tracking  
  • Consistency with Title 24 California Energy Code  
  • Measurable outcomes and evaluation of energy and water savings from RECO/CECO  
  • Tools to ensure transparent disclosure of building energy information  
  • Minimized compliance costs by matching requirements with rebates  

RECO/CECO Update Outreach Process The public process will engage energy experts, key stakeholders and the Berkeley community in how best to update these ordinances. The Berkeley Energy Commission will hold public workshops to enable members of the public to provide input on the ordinance update. For more information, see:  To sign up to be notified for upcoming meetings, please email:  

Announcing the Home Energy Analyzer (updated 10/3/13)

Check out the new, free online tool, Home Energy Analyzer. It's available to all Alameda County residents with a PG&E Smart Meter. The Home Energy Analyzer uses advanced analytics to monitor your home's energy use. It then offers specific tips to help you save money on your energy bill and make your home more comfortable.

  • Visit
  • Enter your PG&E account information
  • Receive a customized report for your home with tips for saving energy and money

For more information and to find out about rebates for energy upgrades visit Bay Area Regional Energy Network / call (866) 878-6008 or attend an upcoming workshop:

Oakland - Temescal 
Date: Tuesday, October 22nd
Time: 6:30 - 8 pm
Location: Temescal Library, 5205 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland
RSVP at     

Electric Vehicle Incentives (updated 9/9/13)

If you are thinking about buying or leasing an electric vehicle or electric vehicle charging equipment for your home or business, then take advantage of cost-saving, limited-time-only federal and state tax incentives before they expire. To make the switch to going electric as easy as possible, the City of Berkeley offers low-cost, streamlined permitting for installing electric vehicle charging stations.For more information, see:  

Check out these Federal and State Tax Incentives & Laws, including: 

In Your Mailbox: Berkeley's Annual Report focusing on Sustainability (updated 9/3/13)  

The City of Berkeley Annual Report is mailed to all Berkeley residents and businesses. The 2013 report is dedicated to providing an update on the Climate Action Plan and the excellent work on environmental sustainability taking place in our community. Take a moment to review the report.

Thank you for your interest in making Berkeley even more sustainable. We welcome your ideas and participation, please call 311 or email the Office of Energy and Sustainable Development.

All Charged-Up in Berkeley: New Electrical Vehicle Charging Station in the Center Street Garage (updated 7/1/13)


The City of Berkeley is supporting plug-in electrical vehicles by adding a new charging station in the Center Street Parking Garage. The charging station, located on the 1st floor of the garage, can be used by electric vehicle (EV) drivers to extend their driving range while they work, dine, shop, or visit entertainment in Downtown Berkeley. A second EV charging station, available on the 4th floor, has also been improved to allow access for all users, including those with disabilities.  

Electric vehicle charging in the Center Street Garage, located at 2025 Center Street between Milvia and Shattuck, is free. Standard garage parking fees apply. EV drivers can charge their vehicles for up to four hours during daytime hours.  

The EV charging stations in the Center Street Garage are part of the City of Berkeley’s commitment to promoting electric vehicle infrastructure and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In Berkeley, vehicles account for over half of our community’s greenhouse gas emissions. Driving an electric car rather than a conventional car in the Bay Area can reduce the associated greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 70% and helps Berkeley reach its Climate Action Plan goals. In addition to the Center Street Garage charging stations, the City of Berkeley is encouraging the adoption of EVs by streamlining the permitting process for home charging systems, creating a pilot program to encourage existing businesses to add charging stations to their parking lots, and assessing the electrical capacity at a variety of municipal locations to pursue new public charging stations as funding allows. 

CaliforniaFIRST: Low-Cost, Long-Term Financing for Clean Energy Projects in Commercial Buildings (updated 2/21/2013)

The CaliforniaFIRST Program is a solar and clean energy financing program for non-residential properties. CaliforniaFIRST allows property owners to finance the installation of energy and water improvements on commercial, industrial or multi-family (over 5 units) buildings and pay the amount back as a line item on their property tax bill. CaliforniaFIRST uses an innovative framework called Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) to connect property owners to low-cost

Property owners often enjoy the following program benefits:

  • Lower interest rate
  • Longer payback period (up to 20 years)
  • Property qualified financing; not credit-based
  • Repayment obligation stays with property if property is sold or transferred
  • Flexible and negotiated financing transaction

CaliforniaFIRST program staff is available to answer additional questions via email or phone at (510) 692-9995. For more information, see:

Join a Climate Action Working Group  (updated 11/13/2012)

The Berkeley Climate Action Coalition works to accelerate implementation of the Berkeley Climate Action Plan. Your leadership and expertise can more fully turn this plan into action. 

Join the Coalition and a working group! The Coalition has six active working groups, each focused on carrying out at least one action from the Climate Action Plan within a year. The working groups are:

  • Land Use and Urban Gardening
  • Multifamily Building Energy, Water Use and Waste
  • Community Engagement
  • Water
  • Community Choice Energy
  • Walking, Cycling and Public Transportation

 Get involved! Join one of the working groups of the Berkeley Climate Action Coalition

Federal Stimulus Support Energy Improvements at Local Businesses  (updated 2/24/2012)
From microbreweries to fraternities, Berkeley invests in energy efficiency

The City of Berkeley awarded over a quarter of a million federal stimulus dollars in grants to local businesses and multifamily property owners to encourage major energy upgrades. The businesses and properties competed for funding based on their ability to leverage the award funding, provide local green jobs and maximize energy savings. The goal of the grant program was to stimulate the local economy and help meet Berkeley’s Climate Action goal to reduce energy usage by 33 percent by 2020.

Local microbrewery Trumer Brauerei, maker of Trumer Pils, was one of a dozen funded projects. Trumer applied their $30,000 stimulus grant towards the purchase of a $90,000 environmentally-friendly ozone sterilization system to sanitize pipes and storage tanks. Ozone technology naturally purifies water at lower temperatures (decreasing from 190 degrees down to 60 degrees) thereby saving energy used to heat the water and reducing the need for traditional chemical sanitizers. Ozone technology has long been used in water treatment facilities, food processing plants and even in wine industry but is only recently gaining momentum in the beer making sector.

“The green technology behind the ozone-generating equipment allows us to powerfully sanitize equipment on demand, with no residual environmental effects. We truly appreciate the support from the City of Berkeley and are pleased to run our operations in an environmentally-friendly method," said Lars Larson, Master Brewer at Trumer Brauerei Berkeley.

Other recipients of funding for energy upgrades include the Bancroft Hotel, the Berkeley Food and Housing Project, the Alameda County Homeless Action Center, UC Berkeley’s Cal Beta Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, two student cooperatives and several apartment buildings.

The Berkeley Food and Housing Project, a local social service agency providing programs and shelter for homeless individuals and families, received funding to replace the domestic hot water system with high efficiency boilers and a solar thermal hot water system at their women’s shelter. The solar thermal system is estimated to provide 60 percent of the energy required for all hot water use.

The Cal Beta Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity, replaced two water heaters with high-efficiency units. On top of the energy savings, the motivation for the fraternity was to enhance the comfort of the building and improve the safety of the combustion appliances.

Flip the Solar Switch On
City of Berkeley receives over 100k from the U.S. Department of Energy to encourage solar locally (updated 11/5/09)
The City of Berkeley is one of sixteen cities nationwide to be granted the Solar America Cities Special Project Award for the purpose of spurring the adoption of solar installations.  Through this award, the City of Berkeley is recognized for its innovative response to addressing the specific barriers to solar adoption and for its leadership in increasing the use of renewable energy. The economic stimulus funding from the United States Department of Energy (DOE) allows the City of Berkeley to support and enhance two existing programs--SmartSolar and the online Berkeley Solar Map-- to provide education and technical assistance directly to residents interested in implementing solar at their homes and businesses.  

  •  Smart Solar: is a program of the nonprofit Community Energy Services Corporation.
  •  Berkeley SolarMap: is a City of Berkeley online map that analyzes the solar potential of building in Berkeley.

Each of these programs builds upon Berkeley’s commitment to educating and engaging local residents in how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by focusing on efficiency measures and solar energy.  To learn more, visit the Berkeley Climate Action Plan website.

City residents and businesses interested in learning more about resources and services offered through SmartSolar should contact Community Energy Services Corporation at 510-981-7750 or

 Subscribe to this page for update notifications on Energy Efficiency Rebates, Berkeley FIRST, Berkeley's Climate Action Plan and other City Sustainability programs. 

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Office of Energy and Sustainable Development, 2120 Milvia St., Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: Phone: (510) 981-7439
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
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