Mayor Garcetti signs two measures capping another year of aggressive action on climate change
LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti today signed bold measures to improve building energy and water efficiency and to bring more clean energy vehicles to disadvantaged communities.
The Existing Building Energy and Water Efficiency ordinance, approved by a unanimous City Council vote on Dec. 13, makes good on Mayor Garcetti’s pledge early in his term to sharply reduce the carbon footprint of L.A. buildings. Los Angeles was among the original 10 members in the City Energy Project, a national initiative to create healthier and more prosperous American cities by improving the energy efficiency of buildings.
“Reducing L.A.'s carbon footprint means looking at all angles, and buildings are the single greatest source of greenhouse gases in Los Angeles — which is why I set targets in my Sustainable City pLAn to reduce energy use in existing buildings by 14% by 2025 and 30% by 2030,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Today, we have accelerated the progress toward these goals by helping property owners cut consumption and costs. I thank Councilmembers Huizar and Blumenfield for leading on the issue and showing that cities can be a powerful force against climate change.”
“With four percent of the City of Los Angeles buildings responsible for half of the total building energy use in the City, this program is crucial to our goal to reduce energy use by 15 percent by 2020,” said Councilmember José Huizar, whose Planning Committee approved the item last week before sending it to City Council. “While the City has been a leader in establishing efficiency standards for new buildings, there is a great need to reduce energy use in thousands of older, existing buildings.”
“Throughout my career energy conservation has been a top priority and I am proud to have helped bring the City Energy Project to Los Angeles,” said Councilmember Bob Blumenfield. “By working collaboratively with our City’s largest consumers of resources we are creating a force multiplier that will reduce overall energy and water use while saving businesses and taxpayer money.”
According to a forecast by the City Energy Project, the ordinance will reduce L.A.’s greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 10 percent in 2025, and energy consumption by 7 percent, compared to business as usual. Angelenos will save over $368 million on their utility bills that year because of the ordinance. The savings will compound into the future as more buildings improve their efficiency.
The ordinance, the result of two years of stakeholder meetings, will make public the annual energy and water use of all buildings in the City over 20,000 square feet, and will help owners better manage their buildings by providing comparisons to similar structures. The City has already benchmarked the energy and water usage of over 250 municipal buildings, helping prioritize needed audits and retrofits.
The ordinance also will require buildings to take efficiency actions at least once every five years, such as energy audits or retrofits to reduce energy and water use. The City’s Departments of Water and Power and of Building and Safety helped develop and will administer the ordinance.
Mayor Garcetti also signed into law a pilot program approved by City Council Dec. 13 to bring electric vehicle sharing to disadvantaged communities, where residents often drive older and heavily polluting cars and trucks.
The pilot will start next spring and target low-income areas with limited access to greener transportation alternatives, by deploying 100 fully electric vehicles and 200 charging units.
“Every community in Los Angeles deserves cleaner air, and the opportunity to make a difference in the fight against climate change. That is why we are so proud that we can now launch the nation's first pilot program for electric vehicle sharing in disadvantaged communities. That is real progress,” said Mayor Garcetti. “I am grateful for the efforts, in particular, of Councilmember Mike Bonin, as well as LADOT's leadership and the California Air Resources Board's $1.6 million grant. Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León has also shown true commitment to fighting climate change and improving disadvantaged communities, and bills that led to CARB’s grant program."
Today’s actions close a historic year for clean energy in Los Angeles, including the overwhelming passage of transportation Measure M; new records in solar panel and electric vehicle charger installations; the “Clean Up Green Up” ordinance, a novel law to protect communities at high risk from pollution; the launch of the Metro Bike Share Downtown Pilot; and the opening of the LaKretz Innovation Campus, home of L.A. Cleantech Incubator.
In an address last month to the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group in Mexico City, Mayor Garcetti committed L.A. to being among the first cities to pursue every possible strategy for doing its part to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C — the scientifically accepted threshold for a dangerous level of planetary warming — as laid out in the Paris Climate Agreement. Mayor Garcetti has also led an open letter with 47 other U.S. mayors to President-elect Trump, urging him to tackle the climate crisis.