Tools and Calculators

Informational Resources and Guides
Tools and Calculators
Grants and Funding Programs


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
The EPA offers a Green Communities Toolkit to help local governments plan more sustainable communities. Additionally the Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Program offers direct technical assistance to communities from a team of national experts in one of two areas: policy analysis (such as reviewing state and local codes, transportation policies, and zoning) or public participatory processes (such as visioning, design workshops, and alternative analysis.) Other Smart Growth Resources are available from the EPA.
StopWaste.Org provides tools and information for local governments to reduce waste in their communities. The site includes policy tools and model ordinances for recycling and waste management and information on developing environmentally preferred purchasing programs.

Federal Transit Administration (FTA)

The FTA provides resources on sustainable communities and Transit Oriented Development (TOD). Resources include access to TOD Resources and Training free of charge to local government employees. The FTA’s Livable and Sustainable Communities program supports initiatives that demonstrate ways to improve the link between public transit and communities. FTA’s Livability Grant Program offers funding to communities for the opportunity to create these accessible, livable, and sustainable communities.
California Air Resources Board (ARB)
Since its formation the ARB has worked with the public, the business sector, and local governments to protect the public's health, the economy and the state's ecological resources through the most cost-effective reduction of air pollution.
  • Cool California - Provide all Californians with the tools they need to take action to protect the climate. Provides a Local Government Toolkit to help cities and counties save money and protect the climate. The toolkit includes information on Cost Saving Actions, Financial Resources, Carbon Footprint Calculators, and Success Stories.
  • Local Government Operations Protocol (LGOP) - Enable local governments to develop emissions inventories following internationally recognized GHG accounting and reporting principles defined below with attention to the unique context of local government operations.
Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI)
ICLEI is an international association of local governments as well as national and regional local government organizations who have made a commitment to sustainable development. ICLEI provides technical consulting, training, and information services to build capacity, share knowledge, and support local government in the implementation of sustainable development at the local level. While most materials and tools require membership, some resources are provided free of charge including portions of its Sustainability Planning Toolkit. In early 2010 ICLEI launched its Star Community Index program. The program is modeled after LEED to provide means by which local governments can measure and “certify” their sustainability achievements.
California Sustainability Alliance (CSA)
The California Sustainability Alliance has developed the Green General Plan Toolkit to aid local governments in planning for a sustainable future that reflects their communities’ unique mix of local resources, assets, and challenges.
California Energy Commission (CEC)
The CEC operates the New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP), which includes a Step-by-Step Guide for Local Governments on how to “Go Solar”. The guide includes model ordinances and model resolutions that local governments can use encourage community adoption of solar and energy efficiency.