Building Efficiency

The Building Efficiency strategy of the City's Climate Action Plan (CAP) aims to cut back on emissions by increasing the energy efficiency of residential and commercial buildings and reducing energy use in municipal facilities.  Much of the energy that powers, heats, and cools buildings in our community is generated through the burning of fossil fuels like natural gas, which releases greenhouse gases (GHG) and other harmful emissions into the atmosphere. To reduce GHG emissions, the CAP aims to set higher energy efficiency standards for residential and commercial buildings and install energy efficiency measures at municipal facilities.

Implementation of the Building Efficiency strategy is estimated to reduce the City’s GHG emissions by 940 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) by 2020 and 675 MTCO2e by 2030.  Explore the sections below to see what the City is doing to achieve these goals.


Building Energy Reduction


In accordance with the City's Climate Action Plan, a new green building ordinance is under development that will address building-related CAP Measures. The proposed ordinance will require residential remodels to install certain energy efficiency upgrades as part of their project. It will also require electrification of all new single-family homes and multi-family homes.  The requirement for energy efficiency upgrades will apply to residential additions and alterations with a permit value of $50,000 or greater. These requirements are intended to lower carbon emissions, reduce resident’s energy bills, and improve indoor air quality.

The 2030 CAP goals for residential buildings will be achieved if approximately 250 homes undergo energy efficiency retrofits, and 1,200 low-rise residential units are electrified.

Building Energy Reduction


In addition to the residential requirements, the proposed ordinance will also require higher energy efficiency standards for commercial buildings.  Existing nonresidential projects will trigger these energy efficiency requirements if they are adding at least 1,000 square feet of building space or undergoing a building alteration with a permit value of at least $200,000. For all new nonresidential construction, the ordinance will require all electric construction, with limited exceptions.  The ordinance is anticipated to be approved by City Council and take effect in 2021.

The 2030 CAP goals for existing commercial buildings will be achieved if energy consumption of commercial projects is reduced by 1.4 million kWh electricity use and 5,000 therms natural gas use. The 2030 CAP goals for new commercial buildings will be achieved if energy use is reduced in commercial spaces by 54,000 kWh and 500,000 therms.

Energy from different sources is measured in different ways - electricity is measured in kWh, natural gas in therms. To better understand and compare total energy use, we often convert these different measures into a common unit: Million British Thermal Units (MMBTU).
MMBTUMillion British Thermal Units

Municipal Facilities

The City’s CAP established a goal of reducing municipal energy consumption below 2012 baseline energy use by 7.5% by 2020 and 15% by 2030. Municipal facilities include City Hall, libraries, Community & Senior Center, fire stations, parks and more.

Since 2012, the City has seen an 22% reduction in energy use as a result of various energy efficiency upgrades, including more efficient lighting, upgrades to heating and air conditioning systems and others.

Major energy efficiency projects include the replacement of the Community & Senior Center building cooling system in 2015, which reduced energy consumption at that facility by 43%. In 2016, the Public Works facility was retrofitted with LED lights.

In 2019, the City initiated an evaluation of all major municipal facilities and identified additional cost-effective upgrades that could be implemented to further reduce energy use. The proposed options will be presented to City Council for review and approval and project completion is anticipated twelve to eighteen months thereafter.

Residential Buildings

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Status of CAP Implementation