Chula Vista hosts community lighting exchanges for residents interested in recei
Chula Vista hosts community lighting exchanges for residents interested in receiving free energy-saving CFLs and LED lights.

Several features demonstrate the City's leadership and commitment to sustainability. These include:

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All municipal buildings are designed to exceed state energy efficiency standards
All municipal buildings are designed and constructed to exceed state energy efficiency standards and integrate on-site renewable energy systems.
National Energy Center for Sustainable Communities

The City of Chula Vista, in association with San Diego State University and the U.S. Department of Energy, created the National Energy Center for Sustainable Communities (NECSC).  The purpose of the NECSC is to research and showcase energy efficient and sustainable developments which are both technically and financially feasible. 

An essential element of the NECSC mission is the demonstration of technologies, plans, public policies and market-feasible business models for energy- and resource-efficient community development.  As one of the fastest growing cities in the nation and San Diego County’s second largest municipality, Chula Vista was selected as NECSC’s national demonstration site. 

Making Chula Vista a national demonstration site entails creating 20-30 showcase technology, land use and management practice demonstration sites across the City of Chula Vista. They will be embedded in residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and mixed-used projects located on Greenfield, Brownfield and Greyfield development sites across the City. Demonstrations will be established on both public and private properties, and in every type of structure representative of structures and infrastructure common to communities in the U.S.

In addition to new development and redevelopment sites, the NECSC will work closely with City of Chula Vista officials to establish advanced technology and management practice demonstrations at the City's solid waste and water quality (waste and potable water) management facilities and in individual municipal buildings.

 Together, these initiatives will establish the greatest concentration of permanent demonstration sites for energy- and resource-efficient development in the nation. Once in place, NECSC personnel will join City officials in providing guided tours through these sites for visitors from across the U.S. and around the world.

Demonstrated Technologies, Design Models & Practices

The NECSC demonstration sites will feature technologies, infrastructure and mobility systems, model community plans and site designs, all integrated to achieve maximum energy and resource efficiency and emissions reduction. These will include demonstrations of most of the following:

  • EE & RE Technologies & Systems
  • Building Technologies & Systems
  • Community Infrastructure & Mobility Systems
  • Energy-Efficient Urban Design
The Los Vecinos Affordable Housing Project was awarded LEED Platinum certification.
Green Affordable Housing at Los Vecinos

The Los Vecinos affordable housing project supports Chula Vista’s goals related to smart growth and sustainable community design, while serving broader community needs.  The complex, consisting of 12 one-bedrooms, 16 two-bedrooms, and 14 three-bedrooms, is open to individuals and families earning 60% or less than the area median income. 

At the time of construction, Los Vecinos received the highest score in the history of the LEED for Homes program.  Los Vecinos was a retrofit project – it was converted from an abandoned hotel, into apartments that can claim both economic and health benefits from residents.   The 42-unit apartment complex includes xeriscaping, permeable concrete, recycled materials, tankless water heaters, a cool roof, and a 93 kW photovoltaic system which provides 90% of the building's electricity needs.

The development is operated by Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation, which also offers a comprehensive set of resident services to individuals living at their properties. The programs are designed to meet the needs of the different populations living in their communities.  Youth populations, which can be especially vulnerable in low-income communities, are offered programs that are hands on and explore Science, Technology, the Arts, physical activities, and character development. Programs for Adults and seniors provide residents with opportunities to enhance and explore practical skills in computer literacy that are intended to increase their financial potential.  Programs are also offered relating to health and wellness, financial education, recreation and social activities. 

Funding for Los Vecinos came from various sources, including low-income housing and solar tax credits, and loans from California Community Reinvestment Corporation and the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Chula Vista. Construction began in March of 2008, and was completed in April, 2009. 

Chula Vista has begun requiring its City-contracted fleets, such as public transit and trash haulers, to convert to alternative fuel sources .
Alternative Fuel Vehicles for City-Owned and Contracted Fleets

The City of Chula Vista has committed to transitioning its fleet of over 500 vehicles to cleaner models.  This means replacing them with either high efficiency hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles (AFV), which generally run on compressed natural gas (CNG) or biodiesel.

As of October 2010, approximately 25% of the fleet had been converted to an alternative fuel source.  Recently, the city has installed a new 12,000 gallon biodiesel tank at its corp yard.  The new tank has allowed approximately 125 heavy-duty vehicles, such as fire engines, dump trucks, and excavators, to transition to the biofuel which is mainly derived from locally-collected recycled cooking oil, thus reducing associated greenhouse gas emissions by 20% compared to conventional diesel fuel. The new tank was fully funded through the city’s federal Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grants (EECBG).

In addition to the City’s own vehicles, it has also committed working with the city’s major contracted fleets to convert their vehicles as well.  This includes city busses, street sweeping vehicles, trash haulers and tow trucks. As of September, 2010, Chula Vista Transit and Allied Republic Waste Services had converted 100% of their vehicles operating in the city to alternative fuels.

For both city owned and contracted fleets, working with different vehicle types requires considering what type is most appropriate for the vehicle’s task, the fueling infrastructure, petroleum displacement, and the overall cost and environmental benefit.  Chula Vista has dedicated the staff resources and time to think through these decisions and reduce their fleet’s environmental footprint.