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Climate Smart Challenge: Better Buildings
The Climate Smart Challenge presents an opportunity for San José residents and employees to make a difference in the fight against climate change. The Climate Smart Challenge includes two pathways: Better Communities and Better Buildings.

The Challenge is part of Climate Smart San José, the City’s climate action plan, and the American Cities Climate Challenge. San José is one of 25 of the largest cities across the country selected to join the American Cities Climate Challenge, a two-year program working to significantly deepen and accelerate efforts to tackle climate change and promote a sustainable future for residents.

Through Better Buildings, owners and tenants of commercial, educational and public sector buildings commit to reducing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These reductions will be achieved by completing actions that support energy conservation, energy efficiency, clean energy and sustainable transportation. Email today to sign up or learn more!

Better Buildings participants in San José can save money and energy, create a healthier environment, and earn special citywide recognition, among other benefits. Better Buildings may also help some buildings comply with the City’s recently implemented Energy and Water Building Performance Ordinance (BPO).  

Better Buildings aims to:

  1. Help San José reach its Climate Smart GHG reduction goals of 80 percent by 2050
  2. Expedite the savings captured by the BPO

Better Buildings Participants in San José can save money and energy, create a healthier environment, and earn special City-wide recognition, among other benefits. Better Buildings may also help some buildings to comply with the City’s recently implemented Energy and Water Building Performance Ordinance (BPO).

Please visit www.sjenvironment.org/benchmarking for more information on the BPO and its requirements.

Why is this important?
The commercial, educational and public sectors play a key role in reducing the City’s GHG emissions. Buildings represent a large piece of the pollutant puzzle, contributing to more than 37 percent of citywide GHG emissions. Making the largest buildings in San José more efficient will lower emissions and create a healthier city, while lowering operational costs and improving the financial bottom line for building owners.

What do participants commit to?
By joining Better Buildings, participants pledge to:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent over a one-year period, starting in November 2019.
  • Track energy and water consumption data using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager®
  • Empower other building owners and tenants to save energy and adopt greener transportation practices.
  • Complete at least two of the following three Climate Smart actions:

Climate Smart Challenge: Better Buildings Actions
 1
Participate in one energy/water reduction behavior change campaign and one transportation behavior change campaign throughout the year. 
 2
Perform retrocommissioning or capital improvements in accordance with Building Performance Ordinance requirements
 3
Sign up for San José Clean Energy’s 100 percent carbon-free Total Green energy option 

To accurately track savings, participants will commit to sharing utility data with the City as well as information about the tools, technologies and processes used to implement projects and reach their target.

Who is Eligible?
Better Buildings is open to owners and managers of commercial, educational and public sector buildings. If you are a resident interested in joining the Better Communities pathway, please visit the Climate Smart Challenge landing page to learn more.

Timeline
November 2019 – November 2020

How the Challenge Benefits You
There are several benefits to joining Better Buildings, including:

  1. One-on-one, personalized assistance from City staff to help guide you through the challenge and make progress on meeting BPO compliance requirements.
  2. Citywide recognition to showcase civic leadership in the form of City commendations, recognition events, social media shout-outs, newsletter features, showcase projects, and/or case studies.
  3. Potential for financial savings through reduced energy and water bills. 
  4. Access to numerous educational resources in support of energy reduction initiatives, such as: 
    • Information on financing tools for efficiency improvements
    • Trainings run by industry professionals on topics such as benchmarking and green transportation
    • Networking events
  5. Access to a Climate Smart Challenge dashboard: a fun, interactive platform for participants to log their greenhouse gas reduction actions, visualize their impact, and stay up to date on the progress of fellow participants. 

How to get involved
Interested in being a participant in Better Buildings? Are you a service provider or climate expert interested in presenting at a training or providing resources for participants? We want to hear from you! Please contact or call 408-535-8555.