Berkeley has long been a city with green vision. This California city continues to work at attaining its goals by reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in both city operations and the greater Berkeley community.
The Office of Energy and Sustainable Development leads the City's sustainability efforts through the Climate Action Plan by helping Berkeley residents, businesses, and city government create a healthy urban environment.
One example of this is the ME2 Program. On July 6, 2010, the City of Berkeley began offering cash incentives through the Money for Energy Efficiency (ME2) Program to individuals who are interested in increasing the energy efficiency of their home or business. The ME2 program is funded by federal stimulus money awarded to Berkeley from the U.S. Department of Energy. Already over 600 Berkeley residents have applied to receive some of the $516,000 in rebates available for energy efficiency upgrades from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.
Other examples are the implementation of the SmartSolar and Green Building Programs. The SmartSolar program offers free information and technical assistance to encourage Berkeley property owners to install renewable energy to power their homes and businesses. SmartSolar provides individualized independent technical assistance and an online mapping tool to assess solar potential for any roof in the City.
The goal of the City's Green Building Program is to remove barriers to green construction and to promote policies and practices that encourage building green. A green building is sited, designed, constructed and operated to enhance the well being of its occupants, and to minimize the negative impacts on the community and the natural environment. Green buildings provide healthy, comfortable building interiors, maximize savings through the efficient use of energy and water and limit construction impacts on the natural environment.