Palo Alto’s City Council adopted the general framework of its Sustainability and Climate Action Plan (S/CAP) at its April 18th meeting, committing to a greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal of 80 percent by 2030.
As shared on the City of Palo Alto’s website: “a major focus of the S/CAP is on strategies to reduce reliance on the automobile and solo commuting, since more than half of the remaining GHG emissions needed to reach an “80 by 30” target come from transportation (about 65 percent).
“Overall, the plan identifies key tools the City has to achieve GHG reductions including optimizing transit, supporting electric vehicles, providing incentives to change travel modes, and land use policies that support these shifts. The remaining GHG emissions needed to reach “80 by 30” come from efficiency and fuel switching, with a small portion from enhanced Zero Waste initiatives.”
The City also shared an Earth Day Report on energy efficiency and sustainability progress to date: highlights from the report shared on the City’s website are also shared below.
Earth Day Report
The City Council also discussed the annual Earth Day Report at its April 18, 2016 meeting. Highlights from the Earth Day report on more than 150 of the City’s sustainability programs include:
Electric supplies have been 100 percent carbon neutral through generation from hydroelectric and renewable energy resources, and the purchase of renewable energy credits.
Usage declined close to 15 percent in 2015 thanks in part to the warm winter and water conservation efforts.
City and community water use reductions have continued to exceed state-mandated 24 percent potable water use reduction.
Palo Alto is on track to meet its 2021 goal of 90 percent diversion of material from landfills. The Council’s newly adopted Recycling and Composting Ordinance requires commercial customers to properly sort their recyclables and compost materials.
Green building standards:
Palo Alto is ahead of California standards here. Its green building programs have the goal of reducing water and energy use and GHG emissions for permitted buildings by 10 percent over 2015 figures.
Local solar program:
Intended to increase local power generation more than four-fold by 2023.
Transportation and parking programs:
Being developed to reduce single commute trips while “Mobility as a Service” concepts include responsive shuttle services, paid parking and rideshare incentive programs.
Heat pump electric water heater rebate program:
Pilot launched this year as part of the citywide electrification strategy.
Green purchase of goods and services:
A three-year plan (2015-2017) is in effect, and the City is working to implement more efficient copy/print systems.
A voluntary program launched in 2015 that offers residential and commercial customers the opportunity to offset GHG emissions associated with natural gas use. Two percent of residents have already signed on, and the participation rate is expected to double this year.