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Press Contact: Matthai Chakko, (510) 981-7008

Community energy conservation efforts make big impact

Berkeley, California (Wednesday, January 10, 2018) - Berkeleyans reduced enough energy over two years that it equaled taking 2,141 cars -driving a total of 25 million miles - off the road for a year. 

Berkeley's energy reduction - among residents, businesses, the City government and schools - were driven by regulations, incentives and programs started by the City as well as steps taken by individuals such as installing rooftop solar.

The significant decline in energy use led to Berkeley being recognized as one of the top 10 cities in a nationwide competition about creating innovative solutions for reducing energy consumption. The energy reduction is all the more notable because Berkeley's temperate climate already requires less energy than other regions. 

Learn more about what City has done to reduce energy use, and see how you can take steps to reduce your energy - changes that can make your home more comfortable, reduce your utility bills and play a role in fighting climate change.

The Georgetown University Energy Prize recognized the City of Berkeley for a number of innovative actions, such as:

  • The City of Berkeley's Building Energy Saving Ordinance, which helps building owners to identify ways to save energy
  • The city's conversion of its streetlights to LED bulbs reduces energy and saves the City nearly $400,000 every year.
  • The West Berkeley Library, which was awarded the highest LEED Platinum designation for its sustainable design and operation, produces enough excess clean energy from its rooftop solar panels to power an electric vehicle charging station installed in 2017.

Future energy-reducing projects in Berkeley include designing a clean micro-grid to generate back-up power for increased community resilience.

Despite an 18% increase in population, Berkeleyans have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 12% since 2000. Most of the gains come from reducing building electricity and natural gas usage and the increase in renewable energy (solar and wind power) in our Bay Area electricity supply. The City has been working to give Berkeleyans more options for cleaner electricity, furthering reducing our greenhouse gas emissions - a goal that will become reality this year.

Despite our climate action progress, more needs to be done to meet our long-term goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 80 percent in 2050 compared to 2000. Some simple first steps include:

  • Getting out of cars to bike, walk, bus or BART
  • Continuing to reduce energy use in our homes and businesses
  • Switching to energy efficient LED light bulbs and adjusting thermostats to reduce utility bills and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • See the city's website for a list of energy efficiency rebate and financing programs that can help commercial, residential and multi-family properties undertake building improvement projects such that will save energy, increase comfort, and reduce utility bills.

For more ideas, visit the City's Take Action on Climate Change website or get involved in the Berkeley Climate Action Coalition.

Let's celebrate Berkeley's success in the Georgetown University Energy Prize competition, while we make further strides to reach our ambitious climate action goals.


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