Buildings & Energy Efficiency

Building energy use produces nearly 40% of the City's community-wide greenhouse gas emissions, and about 20% of municipal operations emissions. Residents and business owners can help reduce building-related emissions by completing energy- and water-efficiency audits and retrofits, installing high-efficiency 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 also increase occupant comfort, improve productivity, increase property value, and help the City achieve its greenhouse gas emissions goals.

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 March 2009, the City Council adopted a policy of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification or better for all public new construction and renovation projects over 5,000 square feet, as recommended by the Santa Clara County Cities Association. Since this policy was adopted, the City has built one building, Fire Station No. 5, which exceeded the policy requirements and was certified at the LEED Gold level.

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 Home Energy and Water Upgrades

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!

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.

Rebates for Multi-Family Energy Upgrades

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 the multi-family program web site, send an email to, or call 510-891-6558 to get started.

commercial LED lightingLow-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.

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 Meetings

March 24, 2009 - Council: Green Building Standard for Public Projects