Buildings & Energy Efficiency

Residents and business owners alike can help reduce building-related emissions by making sure you are enrolled in SVCE's "GreenStart" or "GreenPrime" program, completing energy- and water-efficiency audits and retrofits, installing high-efficiency appliances, switching from natural gas to all-electric appliances, and conserving energy and water through building system technologies and occupant behavior change. By taking simple steps to make your property more efficient, you can not only save money on your utility bills, but can also increase occupant comfort, improve productivity, increase property value, and help the City achieve its greenhouse gas emissions goals.

With the transition of nearly all of the community’s electricity accounts to Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE), natural gas comprises the majority of energy sector emissions at 71%. Commercial energy use accounts for 64% of community energy emissions in Mountain View, and residential energy use accounts for 36%. You can find the most recent community and municipal greenhouse gas inventories here.

For information on rebates and financing, click on the links below:

Green Building Policies

The City of Mountain View has adopted green building standards for both public and private buildings. These standards help reduce energy use by ensuring that buildings meet a minimum efficiency standard.

Private Buildings

Effective August 1, 2011, the Mountain View Green Building Code (MVGBC) amended the State-mandated California Green Building Code (CalGreen) to include local green building standards and requirements per building type and threshold to new construction, residential additions, and commercial/industrial tenant improvements.

The MVGBC is regularly updated to meet adopted CalGreen requirements as part of the tri-annual California Building Code updates.

Public Buildings

In June 2020, the City Council approved a new green building policy for City facilities. This policy requires a minimum of LEED© Gold certification for new facilities, as well as a consideration of the incremental cost and benefits for achieving LEED© Platinum certification during the design phase. For existing facilities, the policy requires City staff to analyze opportunities for electrification when major building systems are upgraded or equipment is replaced. Additionally, it require new City facilities to incorporate on-site renewable energy systems to the extent feasible, with consideration of energy storage opportunities. 

Building Baseline Study

Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE), the City’s electricity provider, recently completed a Building Baseline Study for Mountain View. This study, originally recommended by the community-based Environmental Sustainability Task Force 2, provides a detailed analysis of energy use by building type. It serves as the foundation for a regional Building Decarbonization Action Plan, which SVCE expects to complete by Fall 2020. The study also provides the analysis to support development of several programs in Sustainability Action Plan 4 (SAP-4), including a second residential energy efficiency and conservation program (B2.4), a program that provides residential rebates for switching appliances from natural gas to electricity (B2.5), and a program that will require large commercial and multi-family building owners to periodically assess and report on the energy efficiency of their facilities (B2.6). These programs, as well others that may be identified in SVCE’s Building Decarbonization Action Plan, are intended to lower greenhouse gas emissions by reducing or phasing out natural gas use in existing buildings.

Home Energy Efficiency

From April 2011 to December 2014, the City engaged residents in reducing home energy use through its Energy Upgrade Mountain View (EUMV) program. EUMV increased community awareness of household energy use and promoted simple home efficiency measures. Through a customized web site, residents could easily see how much and what type of energy they were using, and track their progress as they fixed their "energy leaks." The program provided free home energy audits and energy-saving devices, informational materials, reminder emails, and hands-on workshops. And, through engaging more than 2,000 households, EUMV was one of the most successful program of its kind in the country.

By taking small steps like adjusting water heater and refrigerator settings, or installing high-efficiency light bulbs, residents are saving nearly 500 megawatt-hours of electricity and 100,000 therms of natural gas per year. Participants on average reduced their electricity use by 6%, their natural gas use by 16%, and their energy costs by 4%, equivalent to saving about 1,400 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the 44 months of the program.

Rebates for Single-Family Home Energy and Water Upgrades

Resources & Rebates for Residents

Energy Upgrade California

Energy Upgrade California (EUC) is a State program for property owners to find everything they need to make home improvements that save energy and water, such as installing insulation or new windows, or replacing a furnace or air conditioning system. The program connects homeowners with participating contractors who can plan and complete the upgrade project, and offers rebates and incentives to help pay for it, up to $6,500! Check out their home energy efficiency resources and rebates here.

Benefits of participating: 

  • Increase energy and water efficiency
  • Create a more comfortable home
  • Lower your energy bills
  • Improve indoor air quality
  • Reduce impact on the environment
  • Potentially increase the value of your home
  • Support your local economy

Energy Upgrade California participating contractors can help you complete your project and get rebates and incentives. Participating contractors have been specifically trained for EUC and have met required qualifications to be part of the program. A rigorous quality assurance system ensures that EUC projects meet program standards. 

Check out Energy Upgrade California's home energy efficiency resources and rebates here.

Bayren

BayREN, through their Home+ program, offers rebates for home energy improvements such as induction cooktops, heat pump dryers, heating and cooling equipment, water heaters, insulation, air sealing, and duct replacement or sealing. They also offer home energy evaluations, financing options, and estimates for how much money and energy you can save with recommended improvements. Learn more here.

Rebates for Multi-family Energy Upgrades

Resources & Rebates for Businesses

BayREN

Energy Upgrade California's Bay Area Multi-Family Building Enhancements program offers cash rebates and free energy consulting for multi-family properties that undertake energy upgrades. The program assists in planning energy saving improvements designed to save about 10% of a building's energy usage and provides $750 per unit in rebates to help pay for the upgrade.

The program is open to multi-family buildings with five or more attached dwelling units in the nine county Bay Area (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma).

For more information, visit BayREN's multi-family program website, contact them here, or call 855-213-2838 to get started.

Check out Energy Upgrade California's home energy efficiency resources and rebates here.

commercial LED lighting

Rebates for commercial programs

Resources & Rebates for Businesses

Energy Upgrade California

Energy Upgrade California has tips and resources for making your small business more energy efficient. Learn more here.

Bayren

BayREN has programs to help businesses of all sizes achieve energy savings. They offer various business support resources, a Pay-for-Performance program to help business owners design energy improvements that will pay for themselves over time, microloans for energy efficiency projects, and commercial PACE financing. Learn more here.

Low-Cost Financing for Residential and Commercial "Green" Upgrades

Through the City's participation in CaliforniaFIRST, Mountain View residents and businesses may be eligible to take advantage of low-cost financing to make "green" improvements to their properties.

CaliforniaFIRST offers low-cost, long-term, 100 percent up-front financing for residential and commercial energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation upgrades that are permanently affixed to the property. Eligible buildings include single-family homes, multi-family buildings (5 or more units), and commercial/industrial properties. Eligible upgrades include energy-efficient lighting, windows and doors, insulation, heating and cooling (HVAC) equipment, solar photovoltaic (PV) and hot water systems, cool roofs, electric vehicle charging stations, low-flow toilets, urinals, and showerheads, and grey water systems.

Financing can be for up to 20 years, and affordable fixed rates allow property owners to match repayments with dollar savings. No credit check is required, and repayments are conveniently made through the property tax bill.

BayREN also offers information about different financing options for both residential and commercial energy upgrades here.

Library Provides Meters to Measure Home Electricity Use

Are you curious how much energy your various home appliances use? Are you aware that many electronics, such as TVs, DVRs, set-top boxes, and game consoles continually use energy, even when they are turned off? Want to investigate which are the worst offenders so you stop these energy leaks and reduce your energy bill?

The Mountain View Public Library has Kill-A-Watt power meters for check-out. Simply unplug an appliance in your home, plug the Kill-a-Watt meter into the outlet, and then plug the appliance into the Kill-a-Watt meter. A digital display will show you how many watts the appliance is using. Be sure to turn the appliance "on" and "off"; so you can see the difference in energy use.

For more information, search the Library Catalog for “kill-a-watt.” 

Related Links

 

If you have any comments or questions about this page, please contact the Sustainability Program by emailing sustainability@mountainview.gov, or by leaving a comment on Collaborate Mountain View.

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