The California Sustainability Alliance has developed several toolkits and other resources that aid local governments in planning and implementing sustainable initiatives. These tools help local governments advance sustainability within their jurisdictions, which provides them with the opportunity to lead by example, positively influence their communities, and leverage local authority. These toolkits include:
Local Government Toolkits
The California Sustainability Alliance’s Green Tenant Guide was created to help organizations learn how to work with their staff to set clear and feasible sustainability goals, establish buy-in and excitement, define metrics, and measure and communicate results. The Alliance recognizes that every organization’s situation is different and helps guide organizations through the process of greening their operations and staff behaviors. The Green Tenant Guide is intended to be an ongoing reference for organizations as they work through planning and implementing their sustainability program.
The California Sustainability Alliance’s Local Government Retrocommissioning (RCx) Toolkit was created to help local government staff develop and implement a municipal facility retrocommissioning program. The RCx Toolkit is designed to be flexible enough to be a complementary resource for an energy manager in a large local government or to be the sole RCx Program management tool for facility and public works staff in smaller jurisdictions. The RCx Toolkit complements existing portfolio management tools and utility management systems, helping the user take the “next step” once a decision has been made to incorporate retrocommissioning into municipal facility standard operating procedures.
The California Local Energy Efficiency Program (CALeep) is designed to help California’s local governments plan and implement highly effective energy efficiency initiatives in their communities. The beneficial economic and environmental impacts of energy efficiency initiatives naturally support many other public purpose goals, such as greenhouse gas reduction, job creation, water conservation and green buildings.
California law requires local governments to have a general plan consisting of least seven plan elements: land use, circulation (transportation), housing, conservation, open space, noise, and safety. The general plan sets goals and standards, but does not regulate municipal activities.
While numerous guidelines and resources are available for the development of general plans, there is a great deal of flexibility as to what may be included in a general plan beyond the seven required plan elements.
A greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory is designed to measure and track emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other high global warming potential (GWP) gases such as methane (CH4) and nitrogen dioxide (N2O), which are emitted from a local government’s buildings, vehicles and operations. A GHG inventory can be a useful resource for a local government for a number of reasons including:
- Risk management
- Addressing inefficiencies
- Readiness for a carbon constrained future
- Recognition as an environmental leader
- Stakeholder education
Local governments in California are increasingly expected to adopt sustainability best practices, yet often lack the resources to research, fund, and implement these practices. There are numerous state and federal resources and programs aimed at helping local governments and communities to achieve their sustainability goals.
The Local Government Resources Toolkit provides quick access to multiple state and federal resources that support initiatives in five categories: Sustainable Communities, Cleaner Transportation, Greenhouse Gas Accounting, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, and Water Efficiency and Sustainability.
To help local governments improve their sustainability and reduce their environmental impacts, the California Sustainability Alliance has developed a guidebook for local governments thinking of adopting an environmentally-friendly procurement and purchasing plan. By weighing not only the purchase price of a product but also its full lifetime cost, green procurement policies can help local governments save money, create local green jobs and improve their environmental sustainability.