The city of San Luis Obispo has reduced its electricity use by 8 percent since 2010 as it works to improve energy efficiency and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Now, it’s being recognized for its efforts.
San Luis Obispo received its first Spotlight Award from The Institute for Local Government this week as a result of increased energy-efficiency measures and lowered electricity use.
“This award is nice recognition that the work we’ve done has led to reduced greenhouse gas emissions and reduced costs. It is also a reminder of how much work we have left to achieve our greenhouse gas emission reduction targets,” sustainability manager Chris Read wrote in an email to The Tribune.
The Institute for Local Government awards communities that are making a “holistic approach to addressing climate change,” the website says.
Although this is the city’s first Spotlight Award, it has received other awards from The Institute for Local Government regarding sustainability in the past.
Prior to 2010, the city installed solar panels at Ludwick Center at 846 Santa Rosa St. and the Utilities Office at 879 Morro St. And in 2013, the city replaced streetlights with high-efficiency LED bulbs.
Read said to his knowledge they have not installed any other solar panels, but they are currently working on potential solar projects at other facilities.
Read was not able to provide the dollar amount that the city has saved.
Currently, the city’s goal is to reduce community and municipal operations greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels — 264,240 metric tons of carbon monoxide equivalent — by 15 percent by 2020.
More than half of all municipal operations emissions comes from energy use, and the 8 percent reduction in operational electricity moves the city closer to its targets, Read said.
However, the city still has much further to go, especially because it is in the “exploration stage” of updating the Climate Action Plan to adhere to more up-to-date statewide goals.
Moving forward, the city is assessing potential ways to further energy efficiency and renewable energy generation at the water treatment plant and other facilities, Read said.
The city also holds new buildings to high energy-efficiency standards and will continue investing in promoting energy-efficient vehicles. One way it’s doing so is by planning to provide electric vehicle chargers in the city.