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Three Bay Area Cities ranked as some of the most energy efficient in the Country, according to recent ACEEE report

San Francisco (#1), San José (#9), and Oakland (#10) ranked in the top 10 energy efficient cities list according to the recently released ACEEE City Clean Energy Scorecards for 2021. The scorecards rank the 100 largest US cities for their efforts in building and transportation efficiency and scalability across 5 policy areas: local government operations, community-wide initiatives, buildings, energy and water utilities, and transportation. While ACEEE began reporting scorecards six years ago, the 2021 scorecards placed a new emphasis on adopting policies designed with racial and social equity in mind. The buildings and transportation sectors are the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the country, making them significant targets in the fight against climate change.   

San Francisco gained the top-ranking because of its enhanced transportation policies, and its building efficiency efforts. Significantly, the city adopted a Green Building Code for residential and commercial buildings requiring new construction to include solar- and EV-readiness, and mandates that residential and commercial buildings satisfy low-energy use requirements. San Francisco also launched a program to provide free home-energy saving kits to residents that are disproportionately burdened by multiple sources of pollution.  

San José was awarded building policy points for adopting a new Reach Code which – similar to San Francisco’s code – requires new construction to adhere to additional solar- and EV-readiness requirements as well as all electric-readiness requirements. In addition, solar-readiness is mandated for all building types, including those that aren’t covered by State standards.  

Notably, Oakland promotes energy reductions in existing buildings by enforcing California’s benchmarking requirements for commercial and multifamily buildings. It also offers programs such as Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, and loans and grants to spur clean energy investment in buildings. 

As energy efficiency efforts continue to grow, BayREN is excited to continue supporting the Bay Area’s nine counties by promoting resource efficiency at the regional level. Recently, one of five awardees nationwide, BayREN – in collaboration with a group of local governments and community-based organizations including StopWaste, the City of Berkeley, and others— received an award providing no-cost technical assistance through the ACEEE Energy Equity for Renters Initiative. The initiative will help BayREN and its partners develop policies and programs that will improve rental home energy performance while preserving housing affordability in the Bay Area. Learn more about BayREN’s efforts here.