The City's green power purchase.

Riverside’s policies, programs and technologies demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. Several of the City’s creative and cutting-edge features include:

Click on the tabs below to learn more about the City’s best practices.

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Riverside's Earth Day event.

In order to educate and engage the community, Riverside launched the weekly “Green Power Report” radio show and website in 2007. Both award-winning media outlets provide Riverside residents with updates on City efforts to improve sustainability as well as information about simple ways to “go green”, upcoming green events such as Earth Day, and Riverside’s myriad incentive programs. Riverside created the Sustainability Workbook, available on the website, which provides hundreds of tips and ideas on how to go green. The City also maintains a Twitter account, Facebook page and YouTube channel which provide updates on City events, sustainability measures and projects throughout Riverside and opportunities to get involved.

The City’s Green Leadership Summit event, held on February 1st, 2012, gathered over 60 representatives of local groups, schools, public and private entities to discuss progress toward the achievement of sustainability, as well as future steps. The Green Leadership Summit provides a venue for the sharing of experiences, expertise, strategies and ideas, and encourages collaboration for the development of a healthier city.

The City also held a Green Jobs Summit to discuss short- and long-term strategies for supporting local green business as well as attracting new green business to the area.  Many of these strategies are now being implemented. 

Riverside's waste reduction and recycling programs have allowed the City to divert 69% of its waste from landfills since 2010.
CURE Program

In 2007, Riverside exceeded the State’s target waste diversion rate, and the City is well on its way to reducing waste by 75% before 2020. The City’s Cleaning Up Riverside’s Environment (CURE) program, which provides bulky item pickup as well as hazardous and electronic waste removal, has collected over 13,000 tons of hard-to-dispose-of waste since 2003. CURE’s educational programs have also led to an increase in recycling and backyard composting, while the local dump turns organic waste into mulch, dispensed to the community at no charge.

The City has managed to curb plastic and paper grocery bag waste through the distribution of over 80,000 reusable green bags since 2007. 

The City's Riverwalk.
Walkable and Bikeable City

The City of Riverside is working to create a healthier community through an increase in walking and bike routes; Riverside recently hired a Bicycle Coordinator to assess bikeability in the City and implement the Bike Master Plan.

The construction of four new overpasses across the City, complete with pedestrian sidewalks and bicycle lanes to increase sustainable transportation options, and the synchronization of traffic signals in the downtown area, have diminished GHG emissions through a reduction in vehicle idling.  A total of 115 miles of bike lanes have been completed citywide, with a Bicycle Master Plan now being implemented to increase cycling as a means of transportation and recreation. 

Check out Riverside’s Green Map to see the City’s bike routes.

Tree Power Shade Giveaway Program

Riverside has taken many steps to increase, improve or restore urban nature to the City environment; expanding parks and open space, as well as planting trees and foliage across the City, helps to increase carbon sequestration and clean the air while restoring habitat for myriad birds, insects and other wildlife. Foliage and trees on or around City structures help to reduce stormwater runoff and increase energy efficiency as well as improve the aesthetic appeal of the facilities.

In 2001 the City launched its Tree Power Program and Campaign, aiming to increase Riverside’s urban forest by offering free shade trees to residents. This program is ongoing today, with the City offering one free shade tree per year to residents as well as $25 rebates for the purchase of up to five more. To qualify, customers must plant the trees within 10-35 feet of their home or business, improving the structure’s energy efficiency as well as local air quality. Riverside’s Tree Power program results in over $500,000 of direct economic investment into local nurseries, not to mention a potential increase in sales as City residents visit the nurseries to purchase their trees. Riverside's residents have planted over 13,000 trees in each of the past three years, with more than 110,000 trees planted in total over the past decade. 

LEED Certified Utilities Customer Service building.
Seizing Our Destiny

Riverside has also aspired to be a place where sensible economic policies and sustainable practices converge. Seizing Our Destiny, Riverside’s strategic plan for the future, consists of eleven strategic routes, which will position the City as a hub for innovation in the coming years. Strategic Route Five, entitled “Being a Green Machine”, establishes the City’s commitment to green business and development, stating that “Riverside is the international magnet and model for sustainable business, environmental innovation and green living with a synergistic partnership of industry, City leadership and residents”. 

As part of the Seizing Our Destiny initiative, Riverside offers special incentives to attract green companies and entrepreneurs. Many of these incentives are offered by Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) under the award-winning Environmental and Economic Effectiveness Effort (E4) Plan which fosters Riverside’s economic development while supporting sustainability initiatives. E4 helps to stabilize utility rates, encourages expanded use of renewable energy technologies and offers several aggressive business incentives and energy efficiency programs. Under E4, Riverside’s various rebate programs provide free audits and monetary rewards for improving energy and water efficiency as well as installing photovoltaic systems.

In 2010, City Council motioned to approve a new economic development rate structure in the City as part of E4, effectively incentivizing new green businesses to relocate to Riverside while also providing existing local business with a discount for continuing to operate in the area. Under the new rate structure, businesses would have to meet certain criteria to qualify as a high-tech, research, development, green technology or green manufacturing industry in order to be eligible for the discounted rate. The economic development rate calls for a four-year commitment that includes a 40 percent reduction in electricity costs the first year and a 20 percent reduction in the second year, with other substantial rebates offered the third and fourth years. The business retention rate calls for a 25 percent reduction in electricity costs the first year and a 15 percent reduction in the second year, with significant rebates offered in the third and fourth years of the four-year program. This benefit program helps to stimulate the local economy while also increasing the City’s sustainability; by attracting high-tech and green businesses, Riverside is better positioned to meet future needs and create jobs while also reducing resource demand.

To date, E4 has attracted or retained ten companies resulting in the creation of nearly 1500 jobs while retaining 700 more. Riverside’s business-friendly environment has brought an estimated $11.2 million to the City and reduced vacant industrial space by 1.4 million square feet.