Buildings & Energy Efficiency

Residents and business owners alike can help reduce building-related emissions by ensuring they 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. By taking simple steps to make your property more efficient, you can save money on utilities, increase comfort, improve productivity, increase property value, and help achieve the City’s GHG emission reduction 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%. View the most recent community and municipal greenhouse gas inventories.

For more information on commercial, residential, and multifamily rebates and financing for energy efficiency and conservation measures, visit the rebates and resources page.

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.

These codes require building electrification measures, as well as the installation of electric vehicle chargers and solar PV in new construction. For more information, view the 2019 MVGBC and Reach Codes

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 upgrading or replacing major building systems. Additionally, it requires 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. Engaging more than 2,000 households, EUMV was one of the most successful programs 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%, saving about 1,400 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the 44 months of the program.

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.

Related Links

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